It Makes Me Sad To Say This, But Marvel’s New “What If” Series Just Isn’t For Me

by Shaye Wyllie
what if marvel series review

When Marvel announced their new “What If” series (which premieres on Disney Plus this Wed, Aug 11) I was super excited, so it pains me to write this review.

I mean … the concept is kind of dope! Now that we’re all (well some of us) are familiar with the MCU characters, I thought it would be cool to see what would happen if things went differently.

And since the previous Marvel Series, WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki, were all great. (Some a tad better than others. *cough* WandaVision *cough*)

Naturally I was excited to indulge in the newest Marvel series.

However, there’s one big thing that I overlooked that has seriously dampened my interest in watching more of these reimagining stories.

What did I overlook? Here’s my full review of Marvel’s new “What If” series below!

If you’re looking to watch the newest Marvel series on Disney Plus, here’s a few things you need to know!

This series isn’t like the others.

“What If…?” flips the script on the MCU, reimagining famous events from the films in unexpected ways.

This is also Marvel Studios’ first animated series that focuses on different heroes from the MCU, featuring a voice cast that includes a few stars who reprise their roles.

And if you haven’t figured it out yet.

You’ll need to be a hardcore Marvel fan, with tons of background knowledge to understand what’s going on.

And that’s honestly why I think I didn’t enjoy this series.

I watched the first 3 episodes this weekend, and 2 out of the 3 confused the hell outta me! I’m not a hardcore Marvel fan, and I haven’t watched all of the movies!

So I wasn’t familiar with the characters, or the storylines, and I had no clue what was happening! Which wasn’t the case with the other series. Even though I hadn’t watched their movies, I had no trouble following the story.

I’ll go into each episode more in details soon. (I’ll link my recap posts here so you’ll be able to find my thoughts for Episode 1, Episode 2, and Episode 3 here.)

However, without knowing what really happened, I wasn’t invested in the stories.

And the new voices for characters that were supposed to be familiar, threw me off more.

Nothing sounds the same! Even familiar voices were weird for me.

I don’t know if it was because I was already thrown off by not knowing what was going on, or what! I just know it felt off and sounded weird to me.

It also took me awhile to adjust to the animation style.

Not that I have an issue with the animation style! I guess I just got used to seeing the faces we’ve grown to love as these characters, and hearing their voices.

I think that’s part of the magic for me. Watching these people KILL their roles as these heroes or villains.

So the animation didn’t help with so many things already being difficult to adapt too.

There’s also a dedication to Chadwick Boseman at the end of episode 2.

So make sure you grab a few tissues in advance if you watch that one.

Oh and he does voice his character. So again. This one could be more emotional that comical for you. I was fine throughout the entire episode until the end where I read the one sentence dedication.

Chadwick is one of the very few celebrities (I’ve never met in person) that I actually cried when he passed. So even seeing his name now, or a photo of him makes me a tad emotional.

But I didn’t completely hate the series, there were a few things that I liked.

I think? Okay, yeah, a few things.

First of all …

Jeffrey Wright voices The Watcher.

“The Watcher introduces us each week to these alternate storylines — each a kind of cautionary tale in the spirit of ‘The Twilight Zone.” And you know what, I LOVE that Jeffrey was included in this.

Now, do I like that there’s a narrator? No.

But … I do love that the narrator just happens to be Jeffrey Wright, because I love him as an actor.

So I guess there’s that?

Okay, so I think I lied. I can only find more complaints in my notes. *cringe*

So let’s just get this thang over with, because this is making me sad.

For the Marvel fans that do wanna watch What If, I will say this.

I didn’t HATE the episodes! They’re about 30 mins a piece, and I got through all of them.

However, I didn’t care for the new stories. (Especially episode 2 – the one about Wakanda?! I’ll tell you more when I recap the episode.)

But I did mildly enjoy them. I think if I knew the backstories, episode 1 – about Peggy Carter and Captain America, and episode 3 – about the Avengers, I may have enjoyed them more. I think!

But I have no emotional connection to these new stories, so they fell flat for me. I will watch the others in hopes that I’ll be able to find one that I truly love. So we’ll see what happens!

All I can say is, if you’re not a hardcore Marvel fan, and you haven’t seen ALL of the movies, you’ve been warned!

Good luck friends!

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Francis September 18, 2021 - 5:16 am

I think from the beginning ‘What if…?’ Has been fairly clear about its objective to retell existing MCU stories with some ‘twists’ thrown in. So I think there is Obviously some assumed knowledge viewers are expected to have in order for the episodes to be able to retell feature length stories within a 30 minute space. I don’t think the marketing has been misleading about this either, so to say you didn’t enjoy them because you weren’t familiar with the story seems more like you didn’t prepare yourself properly to review the series.

Having said that I also am becoming less of a fan of the series… I think there are some really interesting moments and observations in almost every episode, but they almost always end on a low note. From an enjoyment point of view it’s becoming less fun to watch. I’m keen to see random variations on familiar stories (I agree, episode 2 in particular was great), but more often the episodes end on a depressing note.

Shaye Wyllie September 24, 2021 - 4:11 pm

So you’re correct, it’s a retelling, a “what if” this happened instead of what actually happened. But I’m not a Marvel stan. Everyone that knows me knows this. I watch movies and tv shows for fun, and I write my thoughts on that. I’m not a comic book fan, I’m not a die hard superhero fan. With all that said, I haven’t seen all the Marvel movies. So “not enjoying them because I wasn’t familiar with the stories” has nothing to do with it being a retelling, or preparing to review the series. I wrote this review for people like me … folks who aren’t die hard Marvel fans who haven’t seen everything made.

So yeah, I’m not familiar with what happened BEFOREHAND in some of these movies, so I don’t have a strong connection with some characters the way others do. (Ex: Captain America / Peggy Carter)

But like you said … it’s a retelling. So technically not knowing what happened before doesn’t even matter. I didn’t know Wanda or Vision before WandaVision and I enjoyed the heck out of that. I just don’t like this series at all! And that could just be because I’m not tied to these characters the way others are, or because I just like the stories the way they are and none of the “retellings” brought anything new for me.

The episodes are actually getting “better” imo, as far as entertainment, but they all still don’t feel very much like Marvel short stories. There’s a level of excitement that’s missing for me.

I hope you finish watching them though. Just to see the differences. I think the Zombie episode was the most exciting so far, and I hate zombies.


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