I loved the old What If…? series of comics back in the day.
“What if Uncle Ben had not died?”
“What if the symbiote never left Spider-Man?”
Bunch of others too. So I was really kinda stoked to see an animated version of what they could do with the MCU. They’ve laid out quite the foundation similar to what Marvel comics did at the time and the idea was ripe with possibilities.
Imagine my disappointment.
The idea is sound, what if Peggy Carter got the super-soldier serum instead of Steve? The execution is total crap.
First, the What If…? animation is terrible. Maybe it’s a taste thing but this style of animation makes everyone look like porcelain dolls to me. I just find it all pretty ugly.
Second, is the voice acting. They got nearly everyone back from Captain America: The First Avenger, Sebastian Stan, Haley Atwell, Dominic Cooper, and Stanley Tucci, (Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Evans, and Hugo Weaving had the good sense to sit this one out) but voice-acting in a booth is a different talent than acting in general, and boy they don’t have it. Bradley Whitford replaces the general and is a complete asshat.
The reason that the change happens is Peggy decide to stay below instead of in the upper gallery during Steve’s transformation into Captain America. Why that made the Hydra agent decide to blow things up early instead of waiting to see if the serum actually worked or not is anyone’s guess.
Then the logic gets worse from there. For some reason, they know all about the tesseract and are able to get it well ahead of time before Red Skull is able to begin making his weapons.
Then, I kid you not, Howard Stark just makes an Iron Man suit using the tesseract as the power source and Steve gets to pilot it. Because you know, genius. If they tossed Steve to the USO after he got the super-soldier formula, why in the hell would they bother to keep him around if he never got it in the first place?
Seriously, this is a spectacular example of “wouldn’t it be cool if…” syndrome. “Wouldn’t it be cool if Steve Rogers was the first Iron Man?”
Peggy at one point bitches that she never is able to get ahead cause she’s a woman, even though in the first movie, it was clear she was respected and capable. They shoe horn in moments of the first movie but in a different way and it all feels so random or forced.
If you’re going to make a story that branches off from the main point, you have to make the logic to get from point A to point B feel natural. This isn’t it. It finally culminates into Hydra getting the tesseract from the Iron Man suit by capturing Steve after he falls from the train. He doesn’t die but they just leave him next to the suit. No guards, no chains, just there waiting for Peggy to wake him up so he can get back in the suit that’s been helpfully hooked up to some sort of generator just waiting for him. Because Nazi-Hydra agents are helpful that way.
Finally, Red Skull decides to use the tesseract to retrieve a giant octopus Kraken from Dimension X or something. Even though never in the entire movie at that time was he ever remotely aware that this was the space stone.
I really have no idea why everyone enjoys this so much. It’s not completely cringey thankfully enough but that doesn’t mean it’s good. At least not this episode. Bad voice acting, bad animation, and bad plot logic all the way around.
Well, maybe we are getting the worst What If…? out of the way. But it’s not a great start for me.