The MCU now spans 25 movies and over 13 years of content creation. Starting from the first iron man the franchise has been able to retain and grow its audience with every installment. Not many studios can claim such a feat, especially for this long. Part of the reason for MCU’s success is its focus on continuity and a cohesive story. The characters of MCU grow with their movies. Even if the conflict does not stick, it reshapes our heroes every time. The is what the MCU is best at. It is also the reason why What If…? is failing to impress the majority of the fandom.
You see, What If…? is an old comic trope that was made to explore new and alternate timelines. The concept in the comics was the same as it is in the series. Exploring different universes to find characters who’ve been forged in different circumstances than the ones we know and love. It was done to determine how noble heroes can be and how cruel villains truly are. The Watcher has always been our guide to these infinite realities. Fans have always appreciated the surreal twist on their characters.
But it seems that the animated version has failed to allure MCU fans. Maybe the average moviegoer does not like the animation style. Perhaps the stories have not been that effective, or perhaps there is no attachment to the characters. What If…? tried to pull a dirty trick on fans whereby it used the characters that already exist in the MCU canon and gave them new conflicts to encounter. It even changed the origin of some of them, like T’challa star lord.
What The MCU is Best At
All of this is done to bypass the character exposition and on-screen development that makes us admire new characters. But instead of tracking What If…?’s appeal, this trick cost them dearly. You see, when the writers decide to give an old character new origins in a new universe, they are no longer a character that the audience knows. They change from the hero we know into a stranger we are meeting for the first time. At this point, it is the responsibility of the showrunners to establish a new this for this character.
This can be done by ways of exposition or a new battle, or just witty banter. But it must be done or we won’t be able to connect with the character. What the MCU is best at is showing us how their characters have changed throughout the course of 25 movies. Each time a character appears in a new movie they have grown and matured. Every time we meet a character again, we get subtle queues about their current situation. Things are deduced from the smallest of hints.
For example, a lot of fans noticed that Banner was wearing an arm brace whilst his appearance in Shang-Chi signifying the impact of the snap. This is what the MCU is best at. But What If…? fails to employ this effectively. Although we meet lots of interesting characters we are never able to tell what their true motivations are. I mean, sure, T’Challa is a benevolent Star-Lord who brings peace to the galaxy, but what put him on such a path? There is no explanation for his motivations.
The same is true for The Watcher and Strange Supreme. Up until now The Watcher was cold and indifferent to the happenings of the Multiverse but ever since the advent of Infinity Ultron he has become far more active in trying to stop the villain’s destruction. This is strange because The Watcher still has no motivation to stop Ultron other than “it is evil”. Ultron is an excuse to use Strange Supreme to unite the most powerful heroes of the multiverse.
This is not cohesive storytelling. It is not continuity. This is plot convenience and Ultron is the Mcguffin. It is quite disappointing to see Marvel failing to build a cohesive multiverse. We honestly expected more from this series. But they have failed to do what the MCU is best at. What do you think of our analysis? Does it make sense? Or is it just too far-fetched? Maybe it is too complicated? Does it seem rather vague? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and keep watching this space for everything Marvel, DC, and Hollywood. Excelsior!!