Now Streaming: WHAT IF ...? S2, You Already Know

Marvel's series features lovely animation, and alternate takes on superheroes.

Managing Editor; Dallas, Texas, US (@peteramartin)
Now Streaming: WHAT IF ...? S2, You Already Know

How invested are you in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

What If...?
Season 2 premieres today on Disney Plus. I've seen the first three of nine episodes.

Scheduling the second season of an animated show by Marvel about superheroes to debut on the opening date of a sequel by D.C. about superheroes could be seen as clever counter-programming by Disney Plus.

I have not seen Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, though our own Kyle Logan has seen it and did not emerge impressed. For those who are staying home this weekend and/or are devoted Marvel fans who would never dream of seeing a D.C. movie, may I suggest reading a book instead?

If this year has taught me anything, it's that superhero movies are not really my bag. After enduring Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 3, I've adapted a much healthier 'live and let live' attitude. If you saw and enjoyed The Flash, Blue Beetle and The Marvels, good for you!

Eventually, I'll catch up with them, as long as I still have a subscription to the Disney Plus and Max streaming services. The last hope for me comes with animated movies: I very much enjoyed Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.

Even though I didn't get much out of What If...? back in 2021, I hoped that Season 2 would be, at minimum, a change of pace from what I've been watching this week (mostly 'For Your Consideration' screeners, most worthy of some sort of year-end awards). Some zip, some fun, some sass.

Season 2 best virtue is its animation, which is all top-flight 'mainstream' animation, i.e., not like Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. By comparison, the three episodes I watched before tapping out are much calmer or 'traditional,' but no less beautiful. I love the rich variety that I've seen in animated movies and shows -- including, of course, Miyazaki's richly rewarding and distinctly gorgeous The Boy and the Heron -- and so my diet definitely has room for traditional modern animation.

In this style especially, since the animation by itself serves mainly as a backdrop, I hope for the stories to be extremely well-told and for the characters to be compelling in their behaviors and motives. That's not the case with What If...? Season 2.

Some fun can be derived by the concept itself, which made its debut in Marvel Comics in 1977. Whenever I saw these comics during my 'physical comics buying days,' which lasted from 2008 to when I ran out of money a few years later, I steered away from them because I did not have sufficient background with the characters to appreciate the 'what if' conceit.

The same holds true with the series, even though I have seen most of Marvel's many superhero movies and shows. I can't keep all those characters and the long and checkered personal histories in my head, and they're not sufficiently distinctive for me to appreciate the 'what if' concept brought to life.

Devoted fans of animated fare may well appreciate and enjoy the series. Or maybe big fans of everything Marvel does will rejoice. Everyone else will find more productive ways to pass the time.

What If...?

  • Jeffrey Wright
  • Terri Douglas
  • Matthew Wood
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AnimationDisney PlusMarvelJeffrey WrightTerri DouglasMatthew WoodActionAdventure

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