REVIEW: ‘What If…?’ Episode 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

what if episode 1 - But Why Tho

The Marvel cinematic universe is a largely celebrated and colossal franchise. Spanning 13 years, with 24 films and 3 shows streaming on Disney+ to date. Each of them has its own story to tell but remains interconnected to the larger universal plot. After the events of Loki though, the future of the MCU is about to be shaken to its core, and where better to start than a reimagining of the original films in an animated anthology series. Welcome to Marvel’s What If…? Episode 1, which ponders the question, what if Peggy Carter had taken the Super Soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers?

The series is directed by Bryan Andrews, with A. C. Bradley as head writer. Hayley Atwell returns to voice agent Carter in the debut episode of this series, with Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark, Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes, and Stanley Tucci as Dr. Erskine as Captain America: The First Avenger gets the What If treatment.

Throughout the series, Uatu, also known as The Watcher, voiced by veteran actor Jeffrey Wright, provides a cosmically large celestial presence that oftentimes looms over the animation watching and noting but never interfering. Wright’s sultry and enlightened voice really sets the tone from the word go, adding an ethereal narrative that makes you feel we’re watching through his eyes.

The overall story feels familiar, and yet fresh, with Atwell smashing her performance. Atwell has oftentimes provided a take no shit, confident, and strong persona, but now the inside matches her outside as she becomes the Super Soldier of the war. Fans have been crying out for more Peggy Carter for some time, and this episode will highlight exactly why Carter is such a formidable and treasured character.

What If…? episode 1 has all the feels of the over-the-top patriotic Captain America vibe, while Captain Carter leads the war revival against Hydra, while fighting the misogyny within her own camp. It has all the musical trappings of the original film and gives some enjoyable nods to events during that movie as well. I really loved was that the episode was able to maintain was Captain Carter’s sense of justice and her connection with Steve Rogers. The heart of who they are

The animation is absolutely astounding. It’s vibrant and bright, so unbelievably smooth. It feels very different, while also capturing the essence of the MCU at its core. The action was fantastic, and so robust highlight the strength of Captain Carter, but choreographed so well. The movement of the characters is so smooth and exuberant, it’s hard to believe it’s animated at all. There are moments in the scenes that are also a very comic book, and that just pleased my little nerd heart. The dialogue was a little campy at times, almost giving a wink and a nod to the screen at the time with some jokes and nods that may not satisfy everyone.

Overall, this was absolutely the ideal episode to open the What If series with. Captain Carter provides a herculean look at a character that absolutely deserved far more time in the MCU than she got. The animation is robust, and smooth, while the action is killer. It has all the same tones of the original film while feeling fresh and vibrant at the same time. What If…? episode 1 is a breathtaking opening for Marvel, and I am beyond excited for all of the episodes to come!

What If…? episode 1 is available to stream Wednesday July 11 exclusively on Disney+.


What If...? Episode 1
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

Overall, this was absolutely the ideal episode to open the What If series with. Captain Carter provides a herculean look at a character that absolutely deserved far more time in the MCU than she got. The animation is robust, and smooth, while the action is killer. It has all the same tones of the original film, while feeling fresh and vibrant at the same time.