Review: What If…? Delivers Disney Animated Magic To The MCU

Written By Mikey Sutton • Editor-in-Chief • Owner

Review: What If...? Delivers Disney Animated Magic to the MCU

Marvel Studios’ What If…? conjures Disney’s animation magic for the MCU.

What If…? debuts on Disney Plus on August 11; moreover, there are nine installments in Season One.

Marvel Studios sent me the first three episodes in advance to review.

This is a relatively spoiler-free analysis of what I saw.

The initial installment buzzed social media with its startling image: Agent Carter as Captain America.

More specifically, she is Captain Carter.

This story is an engaging riff on 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger.

What If…? retells Captain America’s origin in that film but with major twists.

This time, Carter is given the super-soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers.

What If…? captures the World War II spirit of The First Avenger in terms of its quick movie-serial pacing, warm humor, and good vs. evil innocence.

In other words, there is no gray morality here.

Hydra are the same Nazi bastards you want to punch.

It’s classic MCU.

Carter wastes no time in taking them out.

Review: What If…? Delivers Disney Animated Magic To The MCU

Review: What If...? Delivers Disney Animated Magic to the MCU

Image: Disney+

She also has to defend herself from the rampant sexism of the era; however, there’s no preaching here.

She simply has to prove herself, and that she does.

The action is vibrant and exhilarating.

Furthermore, it’s lushly animated.

In fact, the visuals recall the rotoscoping of Ralph Bakshi’s 1981 classic, American Pop.

But it’s more smooth and realistic.

The same can be said of the other episodes.

Having Hayley Atwell, who played her in live action, voice Carter brings gravitas to this cartoon version.

Since Rogers doesn’t become Cap, he is the Hydra Stomper, a ’40s take on Iron Man.

The What If…? comic books regularly concluded with unhappy endings.

I won’t reveal what happened at the end here.

I’ll say it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where this is going; in other words, be every excited.

The Chadwick Boseman tale is the best of the three.

Yes, hearing the late Boseman’s voice again will haunt and move you.

Review: What If…? Delivers Disney Animated Magic To The MCU

Review: What If...? Delivers Disney Animated Magic to the MCU

Image: Disney+

As Boseman’s last work as T’Challa, the Black Panther, this is a fittingly beautiful tribute.

However, Boseman doesn’t become Black Panther.

Rather, he is Star-Lord instead after the Ravagers kidnap the wrong boy. (The reasons why are hysterical.)

I love the spin on Thanos but this is Boseman’s show.

Boseman combines the smooth swagger of Black Panther with the cockiness of Star-Lord.

You’ll be reminded his loss left a gaping hole in the MCU and in cinema in general.

The last story is the weakest but they’re all terrific.

In this story, Nick Fury’s recruits for the Avengers are murdered one by one.

It’s a compelling mystery with a highly satisfying payoff and real surprises.

In the comics, Uatu, otherwise known as the Watcher, narrated each tale plucked from the multiverse.

Jeffrey Wright’s ethereal, baritone voice echoes his detached, otherworldly persona so well.

The scenes of the Watcher hidden behind the clouds in certain scenes is the stuff of childhood nostalgia.

What If…? is wonderful, without question.


Related: What If…? Season 2 And Captain Carter Revealed

What If Season 2 And Captain Carter Revealed by Executive Producer

What If Season 2 And Captain Carter Revealed by Executive Producer