Marvel’s What If…? animated series will offer up a surprising spin on the stories of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, giving us alternate versions of the characters we’ve come to love. Critics have seen the first three episodes of the series, and the first reactions have started to hit social media. While most of the reactions are rather positive, there are some shortcomings to be found. Despite some surprising twists and exciting action, this series doesn’t feel nearly as satisfying as the rest of the endeavors of Marvel Studios. See what the critics are saying below.
Marvel’s What If Early Buzz
First up, here’s what yours truly thought about the first three episodes that were provided by Disney and Marvel:
Marvel's #WhatIf offers compelling twists on the #MCU along with stylish animation and outstanding action. However, the abridged storytelling creates a disjointed feeling, and lacks the Marvel magic and heart of the movies. Plus, many MCU stars are not great voice actors.
— Ethan Anderton (@Ethan_Anderton) August 1, 2021
This is only a brief reaction, but my full review on August 10 (the day before the series premieres on Disney+) will provide a deeper dive and more thorough examination about what works and what doesn’t in the animated series. Suffice it to say the series isn’t a complete misfire, but it has some issues that make it difficult to latch onto beyond the general intrigue of remixing the MCU. For what it’s worth, our own Jacob Hall wasn’t very impressed either:
Maybe it’ll get better as it goes along, but I was not particularly inspired by the episodes of Marvel’s WHAT IF…? sent to critics. Leans too heavily on the “Isn’t this crazy?” factor, never telling particularly compelling stories. Voice acting feels literally phoned in.
— Jacob Hall (@JacobSHall) August 1, 2021
However, it looks like we’re in the minority, because a lot of the other early reactions are quite positive:
I’ve watched the first three episodes of Marvel’s #WhatIf and I’m hooked. Each episode is better than the last w/ the third being my favorite. Love how they take a story we know by heart & twist it in all kinds of ways. It’s like the MCU’s Twilight Zone – weird, wild, good fun pic.twitter.com/PQ9deD1Yyl
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) August 1, 2021
After 3 episodes, Marvel’s What If…? has potential to be their best D+ show yet. Yes, it’s funny and exciting but the way each twist snowballs in hugely surprising ways kept me guessing and engaged too. Ep 2 in particular (with T’Challa) is one of my fave Marvel things in years. pic.twitter.com/KC66EnIQty
— Germain Lussier (@GermainLussier) August 1, 2021
Expect the unexpected has never been more true in Marvel’s #WhatIf! It’s a crazy, trippy ride and while it’s not my favorite series, it’s good to hear some familiar voices of characters I love! I respect the twists and turns in the multiverse, even if I don’t like some of them. pic.twitter.com/BX2zgpDpCG
— Tania Lamb (@LolaLambchops) August 1, 2021
I've seen the first three episodes of #WhatIf and cannot say enough good things about this show. @MarvelStudios definitely hasn't disappointed with its first foray into animation (it looks amazing), and the premise works brilliantly…you WILL love #CaptainCarter. @whatifofficial pic.twitter.com/TNI39bZicx
— Josh Wilding – ComicBookMovie.com (@Josh_Wilding) August 1, 2021
Got to watch the first 3 episodes of #WhatIf and it is incredible!
Each story for each episode is fantastic and bolstered by a strong voice cast and splendid animation.
I couldn’t be more happy with how this series has turned out, one of the best animated TV shows this year. pic.twitter.com/mIbdoK78lD
— Jacob (@JacobDFilm) August 1, 2021
Early review for Marvel’s #WhatIf —
It’s fun! #WhatIf does a great job of giving us alternate reality stories while offering nods and winks to the original tales. The first three episodes work were really fun. Each had a different genre, too. pic.twitter.com/LwUWwo9cr8
— Herb Scribner (@HerbScribner) August 1, 2021
Marvel throws us head first into the MULTIVERSE with What If…? & it's INCREDIBLE! There's STUNNING animation & SHOCKING twists! One choice can change EVERYTHING & the possibilities are ENDLESS! If the first 3 episodes are any indication, this show is gonna be WILD! #WhatIf pic.twitter.com/5MX4MH46mN
— Tessa Smith – Mama's Geeky (@MamasGeeky) August 1, 2021
It’s fun to see how Marvel Studios uses animation to give MCU heroes and villains a chance to explore those big what if’s that our on our minds. That being said, it is something that is not for everyone. Also the voice work can be a bit clunky at times. pic.twitter.com/SEJVBYZseq
— Michael Lee (@IamMichaelJLee) August 1, 2021
So I can finally talk about @MarvelStudios #WhatIf watched the first 3 eps n happy to report that it sets the tone right with endless possibilities. The twists, the treatment *chefs kiss* a treat for #MCU fans esp comic lovers. just wasn't prepared enough for #ChadwickBoseman
— Sushri Sahu (@SushriSahu) August 1, 2021
#WhatIf is… fine? Has tons of fun ideas on what these familiar stories could be. Has crazy easter eggs that will send fans into a frenzy. Animation feels stiff at times but really comes to life when the action ramps up. What really makes me scratch my head is the voice work.. pic.twitter.com/elAvKywU1O
— Charles Villanueva (@cfsvillanueva) August 1, 2021
#whatif surprised me and was VERY GOOD! I didn’t expect this show to have twists in it but IT DOES! Captain Carter is fantastic and there are many cool characters I think everyone will love! Multiverse baby! My full review can post august 10th! pic.twitter.com/5ndnxZH5Xq
— Warren Thompson “Cosmic Wonder” (@CosmicWonderYT) August 1, 2021
Keep in mind that these are only the first social media reactions. Full reviews are still yet to come, and the initial wave of hype is usually overwhelmingly positive. We’re bound to see more dissension as we get closer to the release date. But for now, it sounds like most fans will be pleased with what Marvel’s What If…? has to offer.
Here’s the official synopsis for Marvel’s What If…? animated series:
What If…? flips the script on the MCU, reimagining famous events from the films in unexpected ways. Marvel Studios’ first animated series focuses on different heroes from the MCU, featuring a voice cast that includes a host of stars who reprise their roles.
Marvel’s What If…? debuts on Disney+ starting on August 11, 2021.
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