Disney + Poster for What If...? Season 2
Today, I want to share with you my thoughts on the second season of the MCU's animated show, "What If...?". Playfully dabbling in the realm of alternate realities, the series spins the tales of beloved characters taking a different path. Despite its ambitious premise, the new season stumbles, unable to realize its full potential.
The first season was reasonable, with a few standout episodes among the bunch. However, in comparison, Season 2 doesn't quite achieve the same level of viewer engagement. It feels like a somewhat limp version of its predecessor, teetering more towards the side of mediocrity.
Several episodes from the nine-part series have already faded in my memory. While the animation remains commendable and the action sequences enjoyable, the stories leave a lot to be desired. Many appear half-baked and fail to capitalise on the potential of the concepts introduced.
Typically with current MCU, the seasons spotlight lands predominantly on female-centric narratives - six out of the nine episodes.
Similarly to the first season, the series grandstands multiple 'What...Ifs', crafting tales that predominantly start from classic storylines and veer into uncharted territory.
Beginning with the exploration of Nebula joining Nova Corp. The imagery pays homage to the unique aesthetic of Blade Runner, but unfortunately, the narrative falls short. The storyline requires several leaps of logic that ultimately weaken the coherence of the plot development.
Continuing into the second episode, which poses the predicament of Peter Quill attacking Earth's Mightiest Heroes, some commendable action sequences pepper the narrative. However, whilst a foray into introducing '90s heroes was curious, the reappearance of an unnecessarily gender-swapped character was a little vexing.
The more forgettable episodes include the third episode – "What if...Happy Hogan Saved Christmas" and the fourth episode – "What if...Iron Man Crashed Into the Grandmaster?". They lack the intrigue to engage the viewer's attention, leaving the overall vibes of these episodes rather dull.
Even with standout characters such as Captain Carter present in several episodes like "What if... Captain Carter fought the Hydra Stomper", though the somewhat rehashed narrative of this episode dampens the excitement. The constant leaning on the brand of humour from "Thor: Ragnarok" throughout the season doesn't do it any favours either.
From venturing into the off theme creation of a new diverse female character in "What If...Kahhori reshaped the world" to the unbelievable redemptive narrative of Hela in "What If...Hela Found the 10 Rings", the moral compass of some episodes seems askew. Kahhori is exalted for achieving world peace, yet such peace enforced through intimidation and dominance raises questions of tyranny.
The culminating episode titled "What If...Strange Supreme Intervened” frames a lineup of powerhouse characters to deliver a final showdown. Though the bangs and explosions were plenty, the narrative was thin and lacked the depth I expected. Promises of intriguing character arcs seem unfulfilled, adding a sense of underwhelm.
In totality, the show is toeing the line of current MCU fare, with major hiccups along the way. Despite its shortcomings, "What...If?" Season 2 still manages to deliver a couple of highlights that fans may find worth watching.