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To Infinity and Beyond: The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Paul le Fou

24/7 lofi hip hop man to study/relax to
(He)
Huh! More "What if...?" is probably the only single Marvel thing that's sounded interesting to me lately. (Not that I have D+ anyway, oh well.)
 

SpoonyBard

Threat Rhyme
(He/Him)
What If We Done A Mad Max and What If Christmas But Superheroes could be fun. Could take or leave the rest of it but we'll see.
 

BEAT

LOUDSKULL
(DUDE/BRO)
I would like to believe that What if Will be good and fun, but I really only enjoyed like 2 episodes the first Go around, and I genuinely hated the big finale.

I'm also just super not onboard with the Animation style. It's so... shiny? weirdly offputting.
 

SpoonyBard

Threat Rhyme
(He/Him)
Marvel dropped Majors after his assault trial verdict.

Still no word yet on whether they'll recast Kang or shift gears entirely, supposedly they're referring to 'Kang Dynasty' as just 'Avengers 5' internally now. So. lol.

People clamoring for Dr. Doom or the X-Mans to take center stage now are missing the point. They should take this opportunity to not fully reveal the next ten years or whatever of movies and just, y'know, build things up naturally and maybe even surprise us on where it goes. They chained themselves to this Kang thing years out for no good reason and it blew up in their face. Just let the movies and TV series come out and stand on their own merits for a bit.
 

Sarcasmorator

Same as I ever was
(He/him)
Good. Glad he's out. They should have done it earlier.

Recasting seems dead simple, honestly, for a multiversal character in a setting where another multiversal character appears as an alligator, a little kid, and even a lady.
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
They should have done it earlier.
I read rumors that waiting until after the trial made it easier to get out of the contract without paying him a big / as big of a chunk of money.

I was unhappy with his part in Loki, because season 2 was fun otherwise. I’m really hoping they just recast.
 

Phantoon

I cuss you bad
There's a rumour doing the rounds that he had the foresight to get a clause in his contract that only he could play Kang. That would explain why Marvel held onto him for so long.
 
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Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
322004.jpg
 

Vaeran

(GRUNTING)
(he/him)
Don't forget to unwrap the first episode of What If...? season 2 today!

I doubt that "What if Nebula joined the Nova Corps?" was a burning question on anyone's mind, but it turns out the answer is "some Blade Runner-ass shit" and I am here for it. I know people bag on the animation style of this show but I thought this one looked fantastic. Maybe I just have no taste.

I will say the reason for all the subterfuge in Nova Prime's plan left me kinda scratching my head, though. She literally has a kiosk in her office that switches the shield generator on and off. Why go to the trouble of having Nebula get the codes to hack it in the first place? You might say "well she wanted plausible deniability that she was responsible for it going down," but at the climax she's standing there surrounded by Nova Corps as they transmit the codes. There's probably something obvious I'm missing.

Anyway, check it out.
 
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Vaeran

(GRUNTING)
(he/him)
The official verdict on episode 2: Pretty Good, I Guess

The premise ("What if Yondu delivered Peter to Ego like he was supposed to?)" feels like a much more natural branching-off point from MCU canon than some of these plots, like last episode's. I like that even in 1988 we have a pretty solid roster of Super People, twenty years before Iron Man. They could have included Isaiah Bradley from TF&TWS if they really wanted, too. That would have been cool.

I thought the kid they got to voice Peter was a little flat, though, and he's really the emotional core of this story so some parts did not perhaps land as well as they should have.

Enjoyed this line:

HOWARD: I intercepted your handler's transmission. It's just you and me, pal.
BUCKY: There is no "me."
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
Having 79-year-old Michael Douglas play himself in the 1980s takes me out of a story more than just casting someone else would.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Gotta say that the visuals of What If are vastly better than the visuals of the movies.

Also while Hank Pym looked like 1980s Micheal Douglas, Ego and Bill Foster didn’t look a thing like 1980s Kurt Russell or Laurence Fishbourne.

The latter also didn’t sound like him but the credits confirmed that it was he.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Don't forget to unwrap the first episode of What If...? season 2 today!

I doubt that "What if Nebula joined the Nova Corps?" was a burning question on anyone's mind, but it turns out the answer is "some Blade Runner-ass shit" and I am here for it. I know people bag on the animation style of this show but I thought this one looked fantastic. Maybe I just have no taste.

I will say the reason for all the subterfuge in Nova Prime's plan left me kinda scratching my head, though. She literally has a kiosk in her office that switches the shield generator on and off. Why go to the trouble of having Nebula get the codes to hack it in the first place? You might say "well she wanted plausible deniability that she was responsible for it going down," but at the climax she's standing there surrounded by Nova Corps as they transmit the codes. There's probably something obvious I'm missing.

Anyway, check it out.

She mentions having her team kill all the other Nova Corps in the building, so I’d presume that only a few of them were aware of and play with the plan
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
I thought Fishburne sounded plenty Fishburne-y. I was surprised that that wasn't Annette Bening, they got a good sound-alike.
 

BEAT

LOUDSKULL
(DUDE/BRO)
I thought NOIR DETECTIVE NEBULA was pretty good.
I was resoundingly eh on 1980S AVENGERS.
 

BEAT

LOUDSKULL
(DUDE/BRO)
Die Hard but the director of Lion King 2019 becomes a hulk... was.

That's it.

It just was.
 

BEAT

LOUDSKULL
(DUDE/BRO)
CAPTIAN CARTER (AGAIN) Was Captain Carter (again).

I didn't like Captain Carter the first time around.

My opinion did not change.

And now all that's left to watch is... oh fuck
 

BEAT

LOUDSKULL
(DUDE/BRO)
Can't wait to see the Walt Disney Corporation, Shining Star of American Ultracapitalisim spend 30 minutes talking about First Peoples.
 

BEAT

LOUDSKULL
(DUDE/BRO)
Is it just me or is it kinda WEIRD how badly this show wants me to be all in on Captain Carter?

Like.

Does Hayley Atwell have Kevin's darkest secrets or is she just someone's comfort character or what.
 

Vaeran

(GRUNTING)
(he/him)
What If...? season 2 lightning round!

3. What if Happy Hogan Saved Christmas? Fun piece of holiday fluff. Loved having Sam Rockwell back as Justin Hammer and even getting a little dance out of him. Please please please be in Armor Wars.

4. What if Iron Man Crashed into the Grandmaster? Super Marvel Kart! Visually exciting and inventive. I will take all the Jeff Goldblum you care to give me. The guy they've got playing Tony does an amazing RDJ impression.

5. What if Captain Carter Fought the Hydra Stomper? Started out as a fun twist on The Winter Soldier but then it's like 15 solid minutes of fighting. The choreography was good but I started getting bored after a while.

6. What if Kahhori Reshaped the World? Big ups for the inclusion of Native American heroes, and watching them whoop colonizer ass was very satisfying. Nice visuals.

7. What if Hela Found the Ten Rings? Cannot believe they got Cate Blanchett back for this. I found Hela's arc unbelievable and her constant quipping grating. This one didn't work for me.

8. What if Avengers Assembled in 1602? Decent fun, but not a patch on the original 1602 comic. "Rogers Hood" got an eyeroll from me.

CARTER: You're even more of a drama queen than your brother!
LOKI: Bless! ❤️

9. What if Strange Supreme Intervened? Another one that's nearly all fighting. Captain Carter with the Infinity Stones, Hela's crown, Mjolnir, and every other weapon in the multiverse: not enough to defeat Strange Supreme. But Captain Carter with just the Stones: enough. Okay.

Overall, pretty good! Getting one a day helped make the disappointing ones less so since I hadn't waited a week to see them.

Anyway season 3 confirmed.

 
I caught bits and parts of Season 2 while family members were watching it. I think the animation has improved over last season but it's still not good. I think there's a few points of clarity here that are worth bringing to the discussion, since "animation" gets used as a catch-all word the way "graphics" gets used in video games.

I think the art style in the show is fine. It's not my cup of tea, but it's not inherently bad or ugly. It looks like house-style American comics, which - considering the franchise is probably pretty appropriate. The color palate is a bit flat and uninspired, but that's to be expected for a show like this made on a smaller budget/quick timetable.

I think the character models, environmental models, and general modeling is also good. Nothing has obvious flaws, there's no jaggies or stray polygons poking out of things.

The texture work on show is also fine. Nothing clashes too much, you don't see any obvious low-quality textures, things generally look like they should. The cell-shaded look of the character models don't clash too much with the slightly more realistic textures of the environment.

The problem with the show's "animation" is literally just that - the animation. The way the characters/objects animate and move. This is by far the hardest part of most animation, 3D or not. Getting the movements to look convincing and not stiff or programmatic. The clips I've seen have been a marked improvement on the first season where character models - and character faces particularly - looked stiff and lifeless. Here, I can tell the animators are going off of well-designed storyboards that are conveying a lot of personality in the facial animations and that the show is being animated with the traditional key-frame model. The problem then is that a lot of the tweening looks like that - stiff and programmatic between keyframes. Objects/body parts/entire characters moving in straight or very mathematically precise vectors instead of replicating anything organic. No attempts at creating blur-frames, very little transformation of the models to imply extra motion, etc, etc.

This stuff is hard. Big productions full of animation veterans have problems with these kinds of things. (The Clone Wars guys have been doing their thing for well over a decade and still can't seem to get this stuff right.) Start up studios really don't stand a chance unless they manage to get some kind of wunderkin on their payroll who is the next Picasso of animating. I think the 3D animation industry is finally beginning to learn to incorporate a lot of the tricks of 2D animation that has been finely honed and developed for over a century instead of just doing the Pixar-model on a budget of very smooth animation on a budget. Films like the Spider-verse movies and the recent TMNT cartoon did a good job of replicating the whole "animating on fours" look of traditional animation, and focusing on doing as much hand-crafted model manipulation versus letting computers do automatic tweening. Hopefully production houses like this will begin to take notes and learn to improve in this realm. Because as hard as it is, it's not impossible; these animators just have to do some real studying and learn to work outside of their comfort zone. But if small Japanese animation studios like Orange can put things like this out on TV-Anime budgets, someone backed by Disney/Marvel ought to be able to do something half as good and they're not even in the same ballpark:

 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Is it just me or is it kinda WEIRD how badly this show wants me to be all in on Captain Carter?

Like.

Does Hayley Atwell have Kevin's darkest secrets or is she just someone's comfort character or what.

it’s not weird to me, but mainly because I love her
 

gogglebob

The Goggles Do Nothing
(he/him)
I do not think Marvel's What If Season 2 (or Season1) was bad. I enjoyed it. I also adore What If as a concept, and some of my favorite graphic novels are either directly What If, or based on the concept of a What If Continuity. I get excited when Octo updates his What If reread thread. I can say, without exaggeration, that "Marvel's Animated What If Series" being announced back in the day was easily, without question, the media I was most excited about through the MCU's existence going back to Iron Man and/or Avengers (1).

That said.

Having watched the entirety of Marvel's What If and Pokémon Concierge within roughly the same week...

I would trade another whole season of Marvel's What If for another fifteen minutes of Pokémon Concierge in a heartbeat.

Maybe it's that franchise burnout I have seen mentioned in multiple "why doesn't Disney own its own planet yet?" articles I've read. But so much of this feels so... soulless? Like I can acknowledge something cool is happening on the screen, and this should be exciting, but it just... isn't? It's weird. And, like, I respond better to a Pokémon show that arguably has absolutely zero surprises in format, story, or tone if you watched the 30 second trailer. Hell, maybe it is just a matter of the writing beats being very similar to the movies, but "oh wow character I recognize is on screen" doesn't get the same theater-wide gasp when I'm just on the couch with a whole one other person. I get more enjoyment out of a psyduck learning to play with candy than Alternate Universe Captain America Kicks Ass, which is a concept I know I love. What happened here?

Bah, it's just weird...


Oh, cool, I can just edit in my own response to my comment.

I thought about it yesterday evening (picture Winnie the Pooh pondering really hard about Marvel content), and I realized the problem: I no longer see any conflict in Marvel products. In Pokémon Concierge, there is a problem where a pikachu and their trainer are not getting along, and I feel genuine sympathy for the pikachu that is not being understood by their master (pikachu just wants to ride a tube with you, you fool!). I do not know how they are going to fix this emotional problem, and when it is resolved, I feel satisfaction in them arriving at a conclusion that makes pikachu happy. 90% of Marvel content I can immediately recall has a conflict that is "x needs to be stopped or the world is going to end!", and, shocker, this problem can eventually be out-punched (or out-raced, I guess). And, like, that's cool... but I am not all that convinced the world is ever in danger at this point. Doubly so when they make a point of the world not even being a "relevant" world at all. I genuinely cared about the fate of Iron Man's daughter (Morgan!) in Endgame. I could not tell you the name of a single Eternal (okay, I'm lying, but only because I remember Ikaris and Sersi from the comics).

And, in thinking about it, I feel like this is the reason the only MCU content I have truly enjoyed in recent years has been Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. That at least had the overarching theme/conflict of "Does Dr. Strange have an ounce of self-awareness?" (and the ultimate answer to that question isn't a simple yes or no). I realize it sounds reductive, but everything other than that has been different ways of dressing "how ever will hero get to punch villain now"?

Note that I am distinctly talking about dedicated MCU content. I am not referring to any media that may contain spiders-men.
 
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