Connect with us

Animation

What If? Episodes 1-3 Review

Published

on

After the earth-shattering conclusion of Avengers: Endgame in 2019 followed by a whole year of nothing in 2020, Marvel Studios have made their triumphant return in 2021. WandaVision proved they could take on a sitcom, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier saw Marvel tackle race issues, Loki opened up so many doors and timelines for the MCU to head down going forward and Black Widow saw the OG Avenger finally receive her own film. But what seems like their most ambitious leap yet is about to launch on Disney+. ‘What If…?’ is the studio’s very first foray into animation.

The series explores alternate timelines in the MCU, begging fans to ponder the question what if? What if things had happened slightly differently? For instance, the very first episode asks, what if it was Peggy Carter not Steve Rogers that took the super soldier serum? Each episode in the series runs for about half an hour and asks a different question leading to alternate scenarios in the MCU.

The show sees the return of many fans’ favourite characters with lots of the original cast members returning to voice their superhero counterparts. Among the top billed cast returning are Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Hemsworth, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston as well as the final performance of Chadwick Boseman who will voice T’Challa in four episodes. But beyond the big names the show also sees the return of many of the smaller characters that fans never thought they’d see again. Clark Gregg returns as Agent Phil Coulson, Toby Jones is back as Dr Zola and Seth Green even reappears as classic Marvel character Howard the Duck.

The show is pulled together by The Watcher, voiced by Jeffrey Wright who narrates the series and guides us through the countless possibilities across the multiverse like Rod Sterling leading us through The Twilight Zone. What If proves that Marvel are willing to have a complete change of pace. The show is nothing ground-breaking and from the first three episodes it doesn’t appear to have much connection to the wider MCU but it’s a break from explosive big budget live-action films and TV shows with incredibly high production values.

Each episode offers up some familiarity, not just with the characters but with some of the situations too, however it injects these familiar circumstances with the unexpected. Each episode is filled with action, emotion, comedy and so much more in a way that matches the films, but the animation makes it feel incredibly unique. Although the first episode which sees Agent Carter injected with the super soldier serum and becoming Captain Carter instead of Steve Rogers as Captain America does feel a bit too derivative and too similar to Captain America: The First Avenger. There are lots of call backs that MCU superfans will recognise and enjoy with many shots being recreated only this time they’re animated, and it is nice to hear characters that we never thought we’d see or hear again like Stanley Tucci’s Dr Erskine.

Of the first three episodes, number one is the weakest. It’s a strong episode but two and three have a lot more to play with and make use of the altered scenarios much more. Episode two sees the return of a big bad we never expected to see again so soon and the third includes an insight into what fans know as ‘Fury’s Big Week’ when Nick Fury was assembling the Avengers- only not everything goes to plan this time around.

What If flips the MCU on its head and has countless possibilities for the future. A second series with nine more animated adventures is already in production. Writer A.C. Bradley has an enormous wealth of material to choose from with any moment since 2008’s Iron Man being fair game.

There’s enough familiarity in the characters, the actors voicing them and some of the situations to make it retain the MCU feel we all love but there’s also enough small changes to characters to make the show really interesting and fun to watch. We get to see characters we never expected to make us laugh cracking jokes and we get to see things that could never happen in live action as Marvel really embrace the animated format.

It is a bit disappointing to hear certain characters not being voiced by the same actors and it does feel a bit off. You can immediately tell when it’s not the original actor voicing the role and it does take away from the level of inter-connectedness the rest of the MCU has had. Hearing characters like Black Widow and Tony Stark being not being voiced by their usual actors that have played their parts so well after the past decade is quite disheartening but nonetheless there are still an impressive array of world class actors returning to their roles.

What If has beautiful animation and is a nice shift away from the usual Marvel formula. It’s much smaller, more contained stories than we’re used to from them but it’s entertaining and nothing too serious. It’s a good, fun time for those looking for something a bit different from Marvel.

The first episode of What If…? will premiere on Disney+ on Wednesday, August 11.

FILM RATING
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Animation

Marvel’s What If…?- Season 1 Episode 8 Review

Published

on

What If…?  is the latest Marvel Studios project to arrive on our small screens on Disney +.

The animated anthology series, created by Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia writer A.C. Bradley and Marvel vet Bryan Andrews flips the script on the MCU as following the creation of the multiverse in Loki’s first season finale, What If…? reimagines famous events from the films in unexpected ways.

After last weeks party with Thor, What If…? is back with the penultimate episode which truly showcased some of the best animated sequences that the series has offered this far. Yes we’ve seen some great animation such as the Zombie episode but in episode 8 they really had a chance to go full on with incredible mind boggling visuals. 

This weeks episode continues from that epic cliffhanger aka the entrance of Ultron, and in this Universe we get to find out what would happen if Ultron ultimately uploaded himself into the vibranium body he had made for him in Avengers: Age of Ultron. This moment erases the creation of Vision. 

“The entire Multiverse at your fingertips, and you spent all your time up there? Wow. Isn’t this more fun than just watching? And to be honest, a lot less creepy on your part. The boundaries of the multiverse are irrelevant to beings like you and me. I didn’t evolve by staying inside the lines. Run, watch, it doesn’t matter. From here, I can see everything. No one can stop me now.”

Ultron to the watcher

What If… Ultron Won?

Synopsis

Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton seek to destroy the killer-robot Ultron following a cataclysmic event.

Review

In Moscow, which is now an apocalyptic wasteland Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton are the only survivors of the nuclear catastrophe. They spend the remainder of their days outrunning Ultron sentries as they infiltrate KGB archives and attempt to find intel regarding an AI that can take on Ultron.

We are then shown the moments leading up to the catastrophe as Ultron successfully uploads himself into Visions body. Loaded with the mind stone, the AI manages to kill Thor, Bruce Banner, Steve Rogers and once again Tony Stark. Ultron now powerful unleashes Earth’s entire arsenal of nuclear weapons in order to eradicate the planet. 

When Thanos arrives on Earth with the other five Infinity Stones, Ultron effortlessly kills him and takes the stones for himself and eventually becomes aware of the other worlds in the universe. But even that’s not enough for this maniacal android as he senses the Watcher’s presence, for the first time he starts to attack our not so silent observer. The pair battle their way through the Multiverse crashing through multiple realities, including one where Steve Rogers aka Captain America becomes the President of the United States. 

Marvel’s What If [Disney +]

Finally we also get to see Jeffrey Wright’s Uatu The Watcher hesitate to intervene as he helps in the sidelines inside the Nexus of All Realities. He certainly puts up a brave fight, and at the right moment escapes after his giant bald head is almost crushed. Realising that he’s out of options, the Watcher asks episode four’s Dark Strange Supreme for help. Lets hope he can stop the Multiverses impending doom. 

The show is certainly positioning itself for the grandest finale as the eighth episode sets up for what seems to be an explosive one indeed . This episode truly introduces us to a great threat in the form of this new version of Ultron and I for one can’t wait to see the Guardians of the Multiverse next week. 

 

 

FILM RATING
Continue Reading

Animation

My Little Pony: A New Generation

Published

on

Like many cinematic universes so called phases, My Little Pony has come in stages. My Little Pony: A New Generation is the latest adventure based on Hasbro’s toy range created over 35 years ago. Its become one of the company’s biggest brands on toy shelves around the world, so with this latest interpretation of the franchise now in its fifth generation takes off as a fully CGI standalone film on Netflix. 



Set in the same world and years after the events of the Friendship is Magic series, A New Generation shows that Earth ponies, Unicorns, and Pegasi all live in fear of each other. But one earth pony Sunny voiced by Vanessa Hudgens has been raised differently and believes that the different species can be trusted, and she wants to build bridges so that they can all be friends again. However when a young unicorn, Izzy (Kimiko Glenn) , turns up in Maretime Bay, Sunny helps her escape. Going against her community, including childhood-friends-turned- local-law-enforcement Hitch (James Marsden) and Sprout (Ken Jeong), Sunny sets out with Izzy to contact the Pegasus community. There, they befriend Princess Zipp (Liza Koshy) and Pipp (Sofia Carson) and start to unravel the story behind the separation of the various pony communities. 

© 2021 Hasbro, Inc.

The new generation of Ponies set out on an adventure to prove that friendship is for every pony. this is my introduction to the franchise which seems to be a new renaissance for My Little Pony, but all jokes aside it truly was a lot of fun. It’s full of colour and positivity with themes of overcoming your fears and overall the powerful magic of friendship. You could also easily see the political messages in this film, however the target audience aka the young viewers will skip past that and enjoy the sweet characters and sparkly tone and songs featured in the film. 

Speaking of music, many of the songs find parallels with real life as the New Generation characters sing about welcoming others rather than building walls as a marching mob of ponies brainlessly out of fear follow their leader. Another aspect shows how a sheriff’s badge creates an unhealthy power dynamic. The film never gets too heavy as we are in Equestria, with its visually rich magical settings, heart and humour and great music. 

The star-studded voice cast truly bring these ponies alive. Vanessa Hudgens, Kimiko Glenn, James Marsden, Sofia Carson, Liza Koshy, Elizabeth Perkins, Jane Krakowski, Phil LaMarr, Michael McKean and Ken Jeong make up an impressive cast that performs a variety of songs ranging from edgy rock tunes to full on Broadway showstoppers. 

© 2021 Hasbro, Inc.

The animation is magical as the filmmakers have brought these Ponies into the CG world for the first time. They have built a colourful and modern take as each pony is given the same amount of care, making them look unique from one another, they’re very expressive thanks to the animators.



There’s tons of details that make the film aesthetically pleasing, such as the gold marbled city where the pegasus’ live to the old lighthouse that’s home to Sunny overlooking Maretime Bay. It’s also filled to the brim with product placements but with a pony twist. For example the film advertises Judgment Neigh, complete with an Arnold Schwarzenegger Terminator inspired unicorn.

© 2021 Hasbro, Inc.

My Little Pony: A New Generation is surprisingly pleasing to the eyes and young children no doubt will especially enjoy it.

FILM RATING
Continue Reading

Animation

Marvel’s What If…?- Season 1 Episode 7 Review

Published

on

What If…?  is the latest Marvel Studios project to arrive on our small screens on Disney +.

The animated anthology series, created by Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia writer A.C. Bradley and Marvel vet Bryan Andrews flips the script on the MCU as following the creation of the multiverse in Loki’s first season finale, What If…? reimagines famous events from the films in unexpected ways.

What If..? is back with a brand new episode, for weeks we’ve been left sobbing and emotionally drained from watching our favourite MCU heroes suffer devastation after devastation. Following Killmonger’s rise to power last week, episode 7 puts Thor in the spotlight and certainly takes an upbeat approach, imagining what would have happed if Odin returned baby Loki to the Frost Giants and thus making Thor grow up as an only child, though no mention of her Majesty Cate Blanchett aka Hela The goddess of Death. 

More than battles won or lost, it’s relationships that truly define a hero. The people who shape them, their stories. Thor and Loki, a brotherhood so strong and pivotal, it would change the fate of a universe. Their childhood taught Thor many lessons. But in another universe, instead of raising the Jotunheim prince, Loki, as his own son, Odin returned him to his people. Without his trickster brother to keep things, let’s say, lively, Thor grew into a very different prince

The watcher

What If… Thor Were an Only Child?

Synopsis

Thor, who never learned to be a good hero, throws an out of control intergalactic party on Earth.

Marvel’s What If [Disney +]

Review

This was such a fun episode as it made me laugh from beginning to end. It also ends with an excellent cliffhanger, which seems to be setting up the epic finale. 

In this alternate Universe growing up without a pivotal relationship can really affect you as without Loki, Thor becomes a reckless Party Prince with a bad boy attitude. And when his father falls into Odinsleep and his mother Frigga goes away, Thor’s arrogance simply continues to grow as he decides to throw a huge party on Midgard aka Earth, where he believes Heimdall won’t be able to detect him. 

Marvel’s What If [Disney +]

Inviting all from the Nine Realms, he creates the biggest party ever witnessed on Earth. Many easter eggs and cameos appear thanks to the original actors voicing their characters. The standouts being Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, and Kat Dennings.

Also voicing their characters are Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Clark Gregg, Frank Grillo, Taika Waititi, Karen Gillan, Jaimie Alexander, Seth Green and Jeff Goldblum fabulously returning as the Grandmaster. 

Prince Loki of Jotunheim arrives in Las Vegas to join Thor’s party. He certainly towers over Thor and the other partygoers in his frost giant form.

With Thor taking over Earth with all his party-going antics, S.H.I.E.L.D step in to rain on his parade. Maria Hill uses Jane and Darcy to stop Thor however Jane hooks up with the God of Thunder, so Hill eventually calls upon someone with a bit more firepower, Captain Marvel. 

Both go head-to-head which creates an epic showdown with plenty of thunder and Lightning. But ultimately in the end there’s one relatable thing that does manage to stop Thor, his mother. Frigga who after being sought out by Jane arrives in the nick of time. 

Marvel’s What If [Disney +]

Her arrival prompts Thor to clean up his act, he enlists the help of his party guests to clean up Earth. As the episode comes to an end it shows that Thor and Jane’s relationship develops further as they both agree to go on a date. However there’s one thing The Watcher didn’t see, That Cliffhanger. Overall Episode 7 is a jam-packed one with delightful and crazy moments. 

 

FILM RATING
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Popular Now

Advertisement

Top Box-Office

Trending

0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x