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Marvel’s What If review: Ambitious MCU series triumphs with unexpected twists and pangs of nostalgia

Marvel’s What If…? explores various corners of the multiverse (Picture: Marvel Studios/Disney Plus)

Marvel’s new What If…? series on Disney Plus is a visually arresting addition to the MCU’s catalogue, packing unexpected twists and turns that will astound diehard fans and newcomers alike.

This year, the launch of Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe marked an exciting turning point for Marvel Studios, with WandaVision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Loki and Black Widow delighting superhero fans across the globe.

However, one of the best aspects of What If…? is its moving throwbacks to classic past moments in the MCU, which will no doubt leave viewers yearning to go back to the very beginning as they reunite with beloved characters including Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter and Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa.

What If…?, which is based on the comic book series of the same name, asks a very simple question – what if certain Marvel moments had happened differently across the multiverse?

A question as huge as that can lead to all sorts of possibilities, so one can only imagine how difficult it must have been for the creators of the animated show to narrow it down to a nine-episode arc.

Nonetheless, from what we’ve seen from episodes one to three, the Marvel fandom is going to be in a flurry of excitement when the first few instalments of the series air, inevitably resulting in weird and wonderful theories springing up in every crevice of the internet.

Superhero landing inbound (Picture: Marvel Studios/Disney Plus)

One of the starring characters of What If…? is Peggy Carter, voiced by Hayley as she reprises her role from Captain America and subsequent MCU releases.

Considering Hayley’s Agent Carter spin-off was cancelled in 2016, despite the two seasons of the show earning rave reviews, it feels like a powerful move for the series to explore how things would have played out had Peggy been injected with the super-soldier serum to become Captain Carter, rather than Steve Rogers.

While the voice-acting and explosive action may not always coalesce as smoothly as one might hope, the animated sequences more than make up for it, as Captain Carter blasts onto the scene and propels through the air in a fashion that many fans have been waiting for since Peggy made her MCU debut 10 years ago.

T’Challa becomes a space explorer in the animated series (Picture: Marvel Studios/Disney Plus)

It was always going to be emotional watching Chadwick once more as T’Challa, with the late actor’s voice work on the series marking the last time he portrayed the cherished Black Panther character.

Chadwick injects an incredible amount of joy into his animated depiction of T’Challa, which begins by imagining how his life would have played out if he had been abducted by the Ravagers as a child, rather than Peter Quill, as seen in Guardians of the Galaxy.

T’Challa’s episode boasts some of the most heartwarming twists of the What If…? universe so far, featuring several character combinations that are just as unlikely as they are entertaining.

All hail Loki (Picture: Marvel Studios/Disney Plus)

While the first three episodes of What If…? feel like standalone origin stories in their own right, we have a sense the show is going to interweave to a much greater degree as it progresses on a weekly basis.

With the MCU promising to deliver more animated tales in the near future, we’re on the edge of our seats desperate to discover how What If…? may directly impact other films and TV shows going forward.

Verdict on Marvel’s What If…?

If anyone had any doubts over whether an animated Marvel series could achieve the same levels of action and excitement as live-action, hopefully watching What If…? will quash their concerns right away.

The show masterfully showcases animation as a powerful storytelling tool, as it transitions from being fun and light-hearted in one moment to chilling and dark the next.

What If…?, which is launching shortly after the time-bending antics of Loki, proves that even after over a decade, Marvel Studios isn’t afraid to experiment and push the boundaries of the superhero genre.

While some episodes might not be everybody’s cup of tea, with the series packing everything from a zombie Captain America to Howard the Duck (yes, he’s back), the series is oozing with ambition, creativity and unpredictability – the MCU just as we like it.

What If…? premieres on Wednesday August 11 on Disney Plus.

Credit: Original article published here.

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