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Marvel's "What If?" series


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I was a bit confused about this latest episode...

 

Spoiler

... what was the purpose of it? It retold a story, albeit with obvious changes related to mortality, that didn't give audiences anything new. I was half expecting the episode to revolve around Loki, but instead it was the little guy. My reaction after watching this episode was... "Huh... okay then"

 

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2 hours ago, Glacier Peak said:

I was a bit confused about this latest episode...

 

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... what was the purpose of it? It retold a story, albeit with obvious changes related to mortality, that didn't give audiences anything new. I was half expecting the episode to revolve around Loki, but instead it was the little guy. My reaction after watching this episode was... "Huh... okay then"

 

Spoiler

I think the point was "hey we have Michael Douglas, what can we do with him that isn't just more boring retired Hank Pym stuff? Crazy Yellow Jacket?" At least his daughter being killed is more plausible than his craziness in the comics.

 

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On 8/25/2021 at 2:51 PM, Glacier Peak said:

I was a bit confused about this latest episode...

 

  Hide contents

... what was the purpose of it? It retold a story, albeit with obvious changes related to mortality, that didn't give audiences anything new. I was half expecting the episode to revolve around Loki, but instead it was the little guy. My reaction after watching this episode was... "Huh... okay then"

 

 

In answer:

Spoiler

I'm not sure I understand why you think "What If...?" should be giving anything "new".  It's an anthology series, showing one-off stories in the multiverse.  I'm not sure anything is meant to contribute to the main Earth-199999 (MCU) storyline.  But perhaps its just that I don't understand your definition of "new" in context.  May I ask for clarification?

 

Ultimately, it was a murder mystery and a study of the darker nature of Hank Pym.  The MCU likes to mimic genres.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier for example is a spy movie, and Ant-Man is a heist movie.  WandaVision is an ode to sitcoms, so What If...? is getting into the spirit with a murder mystery.  This also shows us the darker side of Hank Pym, something sadly true of him in the comics, but missing so far in the MCU (save for a nasty grumpy attitude).

 

Observations:

Spoiler

I liked the murder mystery & and I liked that they showed how terrifying an unhinged Hank Pym/Yellow Jacket could be.  No wonder the Yellow Jacket assassination program was so valuable in Ant-Man.  I felt the animation was far more inconsistent in this one than the previous ones.  Some characters, like Gen. Ross were drawn spot on, while others like Banner and Coulson felt like they were handed off to the weakest members of the animation studio.   I felt some of the substitute voice acting was not as effective as in previous episodes as well.  Black Widow in particular came across as far more serious than even in Iron Man 2.

 

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27 minutes ago, Techwright said:

In answer:

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I'm not sure I understand why you think "What If...?" should be giving anything "new".  It's an anthology series, showing one-off stories in the multiverse.  I'm not sure anything is meant to contribute to the main Earth-199999 (MCU) storyline.  But perhaps its just that I don't understand your definition of "new" in context.  May I ask for clarification?

 

Ultimately, it was a murder mystery and a study of the darker nature of Hank Pym.  The MCU likes to mimic genres.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier for example is a spy movie, and Ant-Man is a heist movie.  WandaVision is an ode to sitcoms, so What If...? is getting into the spirit with a murder mystery.  This also shows us the darker side of Hank Pym, something sadly true of him in the comics, but missing so far in the MCU (save for a nasty grumpy attitude).

 

Observations:

  Reveal hidden contents

I liked the murder mystery & and I liked that they showed how terrifying an unhinged Hank Pym/Yellow Jacket could be.  No wonder the Yellow Jacket assassination program was so valuable in Ant-Man.  I felt the animation was far more inconsistent in this one than the previous ones.  Some characters, like Gen. Ross were drawn spot on, while others like Banner and Coulson felt like they were handed off to the weakest members of the animation studio.   I felt some of the substitute voice acting was not as effective as in previous episodes as well.  Black Widow in particular came across as far more serious than even in Iron Man 2.

 

Ah fair question, so I ventured to watch this "new" series because I assumed it would tie in to the multiverse theme developing for Phase 4. I may have set my expectations too high, but the first two episodes were enough to make me think it was introducing content that hadn't yet been touched. For example....

Spoiler

... I'd never seen a Steve Rogers Ironman, or a T'Challa Starlord. The Hank Pym twist was certainly a surprise, but it was too much of a copy and paste the first few intro Marvel origin movies for me to call it new in the sense previously mentioned. So I dig the murder mystery vibe, the different directions for each episode thus far, but the third one didn't do it for me.

 

Lastly, I was a little off-put by the Black Widow voice as well. I heard Renner's voice for Hawkeye, Jackson for Fury, and Hiddleston for Loki, but then there was a switcheroo on Black Widow that felt out of place. Of course, these voices were probably recorded years ago before the current bruha between Disney and Scarlett Johansson. 

 

Edited by Glacier Peak
changed 'to' to 'too'
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@Techwright

Spoiler

 

On 8/13/2021 at 8:06 PM, Techwright said:

12.  Notice the scene where Captain Carter moves in to interrogate Dr. Zola?  It's subtle, but it has to be a deliberate contrast to Zola's interrogation in The First Avenger.  There, Col. Phillips has a persuasive, gentle interrogation of Zola.  Phillips points out that Zola was responsible for the "death" of Cap's best friend, and he wouldn't like his chances with anyone else in the room (implying Rogers handling the interrogation).

 

Spoiler

No, back that up.  Phillips told Zola "the last guy you cost us was Captain Rogers' closest friend, so I wouldn't count on the very best of protection".  In the context of that scene, he had just showed Zola a communique he claimed to have sent to HQ, implying that Zola would be cooperating with the SSR, and posited that, if Hydra had broken the Allied codes, Red Skull might decide to kill Zola.  It wasn't a threat in the sense that Cap's interrogation technique would be less enjoyable, it was threat of refusing to shelter Zola if he refused to give them the information they wanted.  Cap interrogating Zola wasn't on the table in that scene, not even implied.

 

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Get busy living... or get busy dying.  That's goddamn right.

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20 hours ago, Luminara said:

@Techwright

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No, back that up.  Phillips told Zola "the last guy you cost us was Captain Rogers' closest friend, so I wouldn't count on the very best of protection".  In the context of that scene, he had just showed Zola a communique he claimed to have sent to HQ, implying that Zola would be cooperating with the SSR, and posited that, if Hydra had broken the Allied codes, Red Skull might decide to kill Zola.  It wasn't a threat in the sense that Cap's interrogation technique would be less enjoyable, it was threat of refusing to shelter Zola if he refused to give them the information they wanted.  Cap interrogating Zola wasn't on the table in that scene, not even implied.

 

Thank you for that clarification and correction.

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On 8/26/2021 at 9:52 PM, Glacier Peak said:

Ah fair question, so I ventured to watch this "new" series because I assumed it would tie in to the multiverse theme developing for Phase 4. I may have set my expectations too high, but the first two episodes were enough to make me think it was introducing content that hadn't yet been touched. For example....

  Reveal hidden contents

... I'd never seen a Steve Rogers Ironman, or a T'Challa Starlord. The Hank Pym twist was certainly a surprise, but it was too much of a copy and paste the first few intro Marvel origin movies for me to call it new in the sense previously mentioned. So I dig the murder mystery vibe, the different directions for each episode thus far, but the third one didn't do it for me.

 

Lastly, I was a little off-put by the Black Widow voice as well. I heard Renner's voice for Hawkeye, Jackson for Fury, and Hiddleston for Loki, but then there was a switcheroo on Black Widow that felt out of place. Of course, these voices were probably recorded years ago before the current bruha between Disney and Scarlett Johansson. 

 

Ah, I see where you were coming from now.  I've not heard anything official except that the What If...?  series is considered canon to the MCU.  I have heard a lot of fan speculation that characters, possibly even scenarios and timelines will show up in Doctor Strange: the Multiverse of Madness, but we've yet to hear anything official on those speculations (and probably won't, at least until a trailer drops).  For now, it just appears that the What If...? series is in place to show us several of the variant unpruned branchings forming their own timelines.

Edited by Techwright
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On 8/16/2021 at 8:04 PM, Techwright said:

Marvel released a series of "Marvel One Shots".  They're up to 15 minutes each (some much less) and fill in some details.  I think all of these can be found online, just not on YouTube.  Just look for the longest number of minutes to find the full videos as folks like to clip brief scenes from them.

 

...

 

"All Hail The King" is the only reason I can tolerate Iron Man 3.    Goofball actor Trevor in prison continues to play off his 15 minutes of fame unaware that someone terrifying has taken notice.  It can be considered a precursor to the upcoming Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings movie.

 

 

FYI...Disney+ has added the "All Hail The King" Marvel One Shot to it's roster.  I'm assuming this is due to the upcoming Shang Chi movie, to which it is related.

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On 9/1/2021 at 1:34 PM, Glacier Peak said:

Whooo what a good fourth episoide!

 

Cross between a Twilight Zone (or perhaps more accurately an Outer Limits) episode and some Dr. Who thematics.  Definitely a very different tone from the other three we've seen so far. 

 

Also...

Spoiler

Second appearance of what folks believe is Shuma-Gorath.  One time is an homage to comics.  Two times, well, I can't help but feel this is a prelude for an appearance in Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.

 

Oh, and the gnome.  I get the impression it is intended as a reference to something, possibly just your standard lawn gnomes, but I'm wondering if it is something else.

 

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My thoughts.  In general it is very uneven.  This seems like the scrap heap of ideas, most of these feel more like an episode of HISHE on youtube than a marvel production.

 

By episode

Spoiler

Captain Carter - the only episode I just flat out enjoyed.  The only episode where I would have wanted to see more.  This felt like a Marvel show that was just different from the regular timeline.

 

T'Challa - this episode highlights why Black Panther sucks in Avengers and everything besides his own series.  When he is the only black hero he is the black savior, perfect in every way - and incredibly boring.  This was a love letter to T'Challa, not a show.  It was like watching a Mary Sue story.  A story kind of broke out at the end, but really this was just a clip show of how great T'Challa is.

 

Avengers - this episode was interesting until it turned out that once again the superheroes were fighting another superhero and not a villain.  The trope I hate most in the MCU.  80% of this was interesting.  The reveal was lame and the ending was lame. 

 

Doctor Strange - this was just dreck.  I was bored through 90% of it.  It was basically a horror episode - Strange is crazy and this will end badly and we just have to sit and watch it go through  the motions over and over again.  This was even worse than the T'Challa episode for me.  At least that was fun and funny.  This was just dull and tedious.

 

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5 hours ago, DougGraves said:

My thoughts.  In general it is very uneven.  This seems like the scrap heap of ideas, most of these feel more like an episode of HISHE on youtube than a marvel production.

 

By episode

  Hide contents

Avengers - this episode was interesting until it turned out that once again the superheroes were fighting another superhero and not a villain.  The trope I hate most in the MCU.  80% of this was interesting.  The reveal was lame and the ending was lame. 

 

 

Responding:

Spoiler

I'll begin by agreeing with you regarding Captain Carter.  I loved the episode and would like to see more of Captain Carter and her sidekick Hydra Stomper.

 

Regarding the Pym episode:  Yes Hank is a hero in the MCU, but everything I've seen on the character elsewhere says he's easily angered, and possibly the most unstable of all the Avengers, and with Hulk in the room, that's saying something.    It actually didn't stretch my belief to see him go all the way over the edge.  Had the villain been Wasp, though, that would have stretched belief.  The only thing regarding the ending that seemed out of whack was that Loki was walking around like he was the King of Asgard.  Odin surely would have seen what was going on via the ravens and reigned him in.

 

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I'm not saying that the Avengers episode was unbelievable.  I just want to see superheroes fight supervillains.  We finally have superheroes with powers and costumes but they still hate to include supervillains in the movies.

 

Spidermans 1-3 and Iron Man 2 remain my favorite superhero movies because they are superheroes facing supervillains, which is shockingly rare in the superhero movies.

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3 hours ago, Glacier Peak said:

Ah! Another great one!!!

 

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Gotta admit, each survivor and zombie surprised me! This was a really satisfying episode, even if the zombie theme has been done to.... death 😅 

 

Glad you liked it. 

 

For me...

Spoiler

for me it was "meh", but that's because I have zero interest in zombie and vampire materials, feeling it has been done to...o many times. (I'll still likely watch the upcoming Morbius movie, though.) 

 

I can accept the rapid change to zombie, which others elsewhere weren't happy with.  After all, it's a quantum product, and per the MCU rules, "quantum" = practically magic science.  But having one do a slow transformation broke the rules, I felt. 

 

Another weirdness:  Zombie Thanos already had the Time Stone, but that's why Ebony Maw was dispatched to Bleeker Street.  I'm at a loss to explain that.  Had the remaining Avengers had the Time Stone, they could have sent a warning into the past, even at the cost of generating a new timeline.

 

I also don't care for the way Bruce Banner has been drawn in What If...?  Other actors visages are much closer to their actual portrait.  I wonder why they opted to not do that, especially considering that Mark Ruffalo is actually providing the voice.

 

I did like that they used several secondary characters in prominent spots.

 

Final thought:  If Hawkeye was the one to get Hogan, does that mean he got a Happy Meal?

 

Edited by Techwright
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Forgot to add, there's a great easter egg in this one that reactors I have viewed so far haven't picked up on. 

 

There's a visual gag reference to the logo of Mutant Enemy Productions, Joss Whedon's film production company.  Joss, of course, directed the first two Avengers movies, and Mutant Enemy produced the "Agents of SHIELD" TV show.

Edited by Techwright
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This latest episode is all superheroes fighting each other.  So I fast forwarded through most of it to see if there was any more to it.  There didn't seem to be.

 

Worst episode so far for me.  I basically only watched the first 8 minutes of it.

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31 minutes ago, Techwright said:

What makes it so?  Not critiquing your position, just trying to understand.

 

It had, to me, the most gripping existential crisis. Every episode has had some sort of "oh no, the thing we thought was good turned out to be bad" kind of twist, and Strange's had the most compelling. Also, the visual effects at the end of the episode were amazing, and

Spoiler

his communication with the Watcher was a first.

 

Edited by Wavicle
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