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December 22, 2023 / Disney+

Starring: Jeffrey Wright


Disney+ I December 22, 2023

Starring: Jeffrey Wright

Directed By: Bryan Andrews, Stephan Franck

Season two of “What If…?” continues the journey as The Watcher guides viewers through the vast multiverse, introducing brand new and familiar faces throughout the MCU. The series questions, revisits and twists classic Marvel Cinematic moments with an incredible voice cast that includes a host of stars who reprise their iconic roles. Featuring fan-favourite characters this season like Nebula, Hela and Happy Hogan, episodes are directed by executive producer Bryan Andrews with executive producer AC Bradley as head writer.

Written By Darren

Rating 4 out of 5

What If…?’s second season continues the flawless animation style introduced by the series that combined with marvelous stories that truly embrace the possibilities of the multiverse premise, results in an exceptional season of storytelling that will take Marvel fans on an exciting adventure with each episode.

Of all the Marvel Cinematic Universe projects, What If…? is the most unique as it simultaneously is connected to the stories we have seen in the live action films and television series while standing on its own as a separate multiverse story. Based on a run of comics, the series poses questions to viewers and explores alternate versions of stories and characters in the MCU. The first season was the MCU’s first foray into animation, and while the stories were not as mind-bending as some viewers would have hoped for given the freedom of the multiverse, the stunning animation made it an entertaining watch. The second season continues the brilliant animation, but is truly adventurous in its storytelling, both having fun with the stories that can unfold in a multiverse project and pushing the MCU into new territory that makes for one captivating watch.

For the most part, the stories told in the first season of What If…? were tied to films from the first three phases of the MCU, changing one detail and exploring how events would unfold given this change. However, this season that formula is done away with for the most part, exploring stories that stand on their own from the live action projects, drawing inspiration most from original ideas and select comic runs, embarking into new territory. The season premiere is a neo-noir Blade Runner inspired episode centered around Nebula investigating a death, which is a truly unique episode; while the third episode is Marvel’s version of Die Hard as Happy Hogan protects Avengers Tower from Justin Hammer on Christmas Eve (which is my personal favourite of the season). The episodes focused on Captain Carter and Hela draw inspirations from the MCU films, bringing in elements of the stories told in Phase Four and bringing back newer characters that have not yet made a second appearance in the MCU. And finally, pulling inspiration from the 1602 comic run by Neil Gaiman, the eighth episode is set during Elizabethan England and uses Shakespearean language, giving audiences something that they would never see a live action film version of. It’s these innovative episodes that make the second season of What If…? not only a true delight to enjoy, but a refreshing and unique experience which will help win over those Marvel fans who are starting to feel superhero fatigue.

Marking a true first for the MCU is the season’s sixth episode which introduces an original MCU hero not from the comic books, an aboriginal woman named Kahhori. It’s a fresh and marvelous episode that continues to grow the representation in the MCU, especially with the majority of the episode being spoken in the Mohawk language minus the European settlers, while introducing audiences to an incredible new hero that we hopefully won’t have to wait too long to see appear in a live action MCU project. Bringing Kahhori to life is Devery Jacobs with a spirited and invigorating voice performance that instills the episode with a heart and sense of honour. She captures what it is to be a hero within minutes of the episode and delivers a standout character of the season. And it’s not Jacob’s only MCU role, as she is set to appear in next year’s Echo, which begs the question: could we be seeing Kahhori in live action as early as next month?

The animation in the series’ first season was magnificent, utilizing three dimensional animation that is crafted to look like two dimensional comic book drawings have come to life. And somehow, the second season improves on the groundbreaking animation of the first season. Every frame of the series looks incredible, as if I could be a frame in a comic book, while having a fluidity to the movement to make it feel like you are not watching animation at times. Notably, the magic of the Mohawk people affected by the magic of the Tesseract in the sixth episode looks sensational, truly popping off the screen and creating awe inspiring visuals throughout the episode. Given the advancements for this season, I cannot wait to see what improvements the show’s third season will incorporate into the animation when it is eventually released.

Much like the first season, the second season sees the majority of the actors and actresses reprising their roles from the films. Fan favourites such as Hayley Atwell, Karen Gillan, Elizabeth Olsen, Kat Dennings, Sebastian Stan, Jon Favreau and many more return with great voice performances, while even original Avengers Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner make an appearance as Thor, Bruce Banner and Clint Barton respectively. In addition, the likes of Cate Blanchett, Sam Rockwell, Glenn Close and other notable actors return to the MCU after appearing in only one film, and all these returning talents ensures that not only is there no shortage of wonderful voice performances, but that it feels like an extension of the iteration of the characters you originally met in the live action projects. Though not every actor from the live action projects return, like Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson, but the voice actors cast in their place do a wonderful job of creating a voice performance that is similar enough to the live action performances that brought to life these iconic superheroes to make the characters feel familiar, while bringing their own flavour to the characters to make them their own, notably Mark Wheaton as Steve Rogers.

Not only does it improve on the amazing animation that was the selling point of the series’ first season, What If…?’s sophomore outing doubles down on ambitious storytelling that pays off in spades as it explores new and exciting corners of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the voice performances from the entire cast are excellent, it is the stunning animation and imaginative storytelling that ranges from introducing new heroes to the Marvel pantheon, revamping holiday classics and exploring Elizabethan England that steal the show, making What If…?’s second season peak creativity for Marvel that creates an all engrossing experience that fans are going to love.

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