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What If…? Review – A Good Spin-Off Series Specially Made For MCU Fans

By Binged Binged Bureau - October 9, 2021 @ 10:45 pm
Binged Rating6.5/10

What If…? Review BOTTOM LINE: A Good Spin-Off Series Specially Made For MCU Fans

Rating: 6.5 /10

Skin N Swear: Not much of either

Platform: Disney Plus Hotstar Genre: Action, Animation, Fantasy

What Is the Story About?

Set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (AKA The MCU), every choice made, from the beginning till the end, is what led to the creation of the current canon MCU timeline. A change in choice brings about a change in the current reality, which branches off from the original timeline – creating multiple universes of endless possibilities. Each episode in this web series features a world where a different choice is made from the original MCU universe – and what changes occurred due to that choice. We are joined by a higher dimensional being known as The Watcher, who observes these infinite realities and records these stories. He only has one oath – He will not interfere. Will that oath remain unbroken?

Performances?

Since ‘What If…?’ is an animated series, the only performance we “see” is the voice acting. Jeffrey Wright is the only actor who makes an “appearance” in every episode, since he plays the role of the Watcher. But he doesn’t get much to do until the final two episodes – which is when he becomes integral to the main story. Still, his soothing voice works brilliantly over important voice overs and narrations, while his interactions with the other MCU characters shows us how quickly he has adapted to his new role. Hopefully, he will get a live-action role in an MCU project soon. Hayley Atwell and Chris Hemsworth deserve a special mention for their brilliant performances in this web series. In the absence of Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell’s Captain Carter brings the onscreen charisma (through her voice), while Chris Hemsworth is surprisingly amazing as the comedic relief. He brings levity to a show that feels a  bit repetitive by the end.

Analysis

Like most MCU projects that have been releasing since ‘Avengers: Endgame’, ‘What If…?’ is mainly made for MCU fans. While the concept of an animated anthology series may look like a good way to introduce fresh stories in this cinematic universe, the web series still requires their audience members to have some basic knowledge of the current canon Marvel Universe.

That being said, the show is still not bad for first time viewers. The series cuts through important plot points with quick montages that will likely go over a newcomer’s head, but the creative stories, good animation and well written dialogue can keep pretty much anyone engaged. And to top it off, all of the main characters from the eight different stories return, in the ninth episode, for an ultimate team-up, against probably the toughest villain shown in MCU till date, which is quite exciting to see.

And that’s one of the series’ biggest selling points – the villain, Ultron/Vision. See, in each universe we see a big change that causes a change in the Original MCU timeline. In the first episode, Peggy takes the super serum and goes on to become Captain Carter. In the second episode, Yondu decides to pick up T’Challa instead of Peter Quill – and T’Challa goes on to become StarLord. In another episode, Stephen Strange becomes so powerful that he ends up destroying his entire universe, with him trapped in a mirror reality for eternity. This Doctor Strange is even able to converse with The Watcher, which gave the show another dimension (pun intended). In the penultimate episode, however, Ultron/Vision ends up killing every living being in his universe (except for Natasha Romanoff). He discovers the existence of the Watcher and with him comes the rest of the multiverse. The presentation of the threat of Ultron/Vision is just as good as seeing an extremely funny Thor in the seventh episode of this series.

Funny Thor – another big selling point for ‘What If…?’. Thor has always had his funny moments on screen, but he has always been portrayed in the silver screen as one of the biggest hitters amongst the Avengers. After his first stint on Earth, the Asgardian matured and learned to respect his role as the crown prince of Asgard. However, in ‘What If…?’, Loki never gets adopted by Odin, which means he never got tricked to go to Jotunheim to start a war. He remains boisterous and a young man who is afraid of his mother’s repercussions. Chris Hemsworth’s voice performance is spot on and he manages to make us truly believe that the heir to Asgard’s throne is a fun-loving, carefree idiot.

Music, animation and direction of ‘What If…?’ – all deserve separate mentions as well. The show is at its best when it is binged in one go. Each episode comes with its hidden MCU, pop culture and Marvel comics’ references with a few fun little Easter Eggs for the die-hard fans. The show, however, doesn’t feel as exciting as its predecessors, like ‘WandaVision’ and ‘Loki’.

Overall, ‘What If…?’ is a good animated anthology series that manages to provide something new and exciting to watch for MCU fans. The “anthology series” ties together its first eight episodes with its final one – making the show that much more exciting. While newcomers will not appreciate the web series as much as the MCU fans, they will certainly be entertained by the voices of Hayley Atwell, Chris Hemsworth, Jeffrey Wright and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Other Artists?

Benedict Cumberbatch , Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan and a few others return to voice the animated versions of their characters for a few episodes but ‘What If…?’ also has a few other actors who do a decent job in voicing other major MCU characters. Lake Bell, Ross Marquand and a few others work well as supporting cast to give us a great series.

Music and Other Departments?

While the music and direction is quite good, the animation and script deserves the main mention. While the screenplay feels slightly repetitive, ‘What If…?’ manages to keep us interested till the very last episode – and that is thanks to some brilliant work by the animation studio as well as the writers.

Highlights?

Brilliant Spin-off Idea Concept

Final two episodes

Good Animation

Chris Hemsworth’s Surprising Comedic Brilliance

Drawbacks?

The first two to three episodes are almost skippable

No big change to the “main formula”

Did I Enjoy It?

Yes Will You Recommend It?

To the MCU and Marvel fans, definitely. For newcomers, you might want to try some of their older films first.

What If…? Web Series Review by Binged Bureau 

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