REVIEW: What If…? Season 1, Episode 1 “What If… Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?”

In the comics, Captain America is one of the most well-recognized heroes in the Marvel universe. When asked who he is, the average person will immediately point to the red, white, and blue costume. But what if World War II never happened? What if Captain America first rose to fame after being introduced in a different time? What if 1940s comic books were about Captain Carter, instead of Captain America? This episode of “What If…?” will tell us the story of a different Captain America. It’ll also explore what if 20th Century Cap were the first Avenger.

The first episode of the first season of the What If…? podcast was released on April 1st, 2016. The podcast’s concept is simple: by exploring possible alternate histories of Captain America, the podcast is essentially a character study of Steve Rogers. Created by super-fan and podcast host, Hugh Jackman, this is a fun, incredibly well-produced podcast that does a great job exploring the deep history of Captain America and his allies.

What if… Captain America was, in fact, the first Avenger? Would he be able to save the day and end the Cold War? Would the Avengers be the answer to stopping the Red Skull? And what would he be like as a leader?. Read more about what if episode 1 watch online and let us know what you think.

What If…? is a review of the film What If…? “What If… Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?” is the first episode of Season 1.

“Who needs a strategy? I’m protected by a shield.”

Reviews of television shows

Marvel has launched its first animated series based in the MCU, What If…?, after allowing us a month to recover our sanity and stomach fortitude after Loki’s merciful death. What If…? is based on the comic series and takes us on a tour of the universe with Uatu the Watcher as our guide, showing us how the events of the film series unfold when a little alteration has a butterfly effect. It’s a cool concept – and it would have been much cooler if Marvel and Disney weren’t doing something similar with the MCU – and seeing it done in animation adds to the feeling of being transported to another planet.

Despite the interesting premise, I wasn’t expecting much from What If…? After all, I’d seen Loki and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and the MCU’s growing obsession with identity politics threatened to ruin yet another brilliant concept. I didn’t have to be concerned based on this first episode. “What If… Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?” is a delightful alternate-universe adventure that avoids all the sanctimonious crap and instead focuses on what made the films so popular in the first place: lovable characters, thrilling action, and some good chuckles. It makes a few mistakes, occasionally major ones, but it has the Marvel heart that its Disney+ forebears sneered at.

 

What if Peggy Carter had chosen to remain on the floor with Steve Rogers instead of going to the observation room with the rest of the brass on the day he was administered the super-soldier serum? A lot of things might have gone wrong, with Peggy receiving the serum instead of Steve and becoming the ideal soldier for the Allies.

The animation in “What If… Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?” is the most stunning aspect of the film. It’s obvious that it’s intended to appear like Captain America: The First Avenger, with its glossy shine and outdated adventure-serial feel. Unfortunately, at least in this case, this technique works far better in live-action than it does in animation. The characters in “What If… Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?” aren’t expressive enough, and their facial tics are strange and unnatural, as if they’re robots attempting to fit in with humans. Character motions seem rigid, as if they are being posed by unseen hands rather as humans sprinting and leaping. I get what they were trying for, but it didn’t work out.

*SPOILERS*

What If, Captain Carter

It’s a good thing the characters manage to draw you in. Peggy Carter and Steve Rogers are shown precisely as they are in the movies in “What If… Captain Carter Were the First Avenger.” Peggy’s offer to be the serum’s recipient seems appropriate; it’s what she’d do if Steve couldn’t, since it’s what a hero would do. Without the serum, Steve would stay at her side, assisting her as she aided him in the regular Marvel universe. Despite the fact that they’ve swapped roles as hero and love interest, they’re still each other’s constants, bringing out the best in each other no matter what. Steve, like Peggy in the MCU, even finds a way to join her in the midst of danger, making the most of what he has. Unlike The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, What If…? does not minimize Steve Rogers while elevating Peggy to the position of hero. What can excellent writing by individuals who care about these characters accomplish?

In fact, even on Agent Carter (which was excellent and should still be airing, dammit! ), “What If… Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?” fleshes out Peggy in ways she hadn’t been before. Peggy has been many things, but she has never been a superhero, and giving her the role that was supposed to go to Steve gradually reveals more of her. For example, she doesn’t become Captain Britain or anything like that simply because she wears the Union Jack on her uniform and shield; she’s just Captain Carter. She isn’t the same kind of patriot as Steve Rogers, and although she is committed to doing good and helping others, her journey is more of a personal one for her than an expression of a nation’s spirit. This comes from her doubts and concerns, which the show isn’t ashamed to reveal; she worries that she won’t be able to live up to the burden of being a hero, and her commander’s chastisement just adds to her anxiety. She is unlike Steve in that she rises to the situation in the same manner he did, but for different reasons and in different ways.

What If, Captain Carter

Because the storyline is a little weak, it’s a good thing Peggy and Steve’s characterizations are so powerful. “What If… Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?” is the first Captain America film to be cut down to half an hour, and it seems hurried as a consequence. Remember how The First Avenger was chastised for limiting the majority of Captain America’s WWII adventures to a montage? The show accomplishes the same thing, but to a larger extent, since there isn’t enough time to allow some of the action sequences play out as they did in the film. There are some enjoyable moments, such as Peggy destroying a Hydra convoy or the climactic fight in a Nazi fortress, but it can’t help but seem like a Clift’s Notes adaptation of a larger tale. In a similar vein to the action, the Red Skull appears even less than he did in the film, almost as an afterthought rather than the arch-villain. Even the conclusion, with the Lovecraftian creature he summons with the Tesseract, isn’t given enough time to develop into the nightmarish situation it should be.

The voice acting is a little hit-or-miss. While it’s wonderful to hear all of the characters again in “What If… Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?”, some of them weren’t designed for voice work. Ross Marquand, who portrayed the Red Skull in Infinity War and Endgame, sounds much more like Hugo Weaving in this picture than he did in the movie, to great effect. Colonel Phillips is replaced with a jerkface military man, played by Bradley Whitford. (Is he the same guy who portrayed Peggy Carter in the Peggy Carter short film?) In other words, if he isn’t, he is in everything but name.) And Jeffrey Wright is a fantastic Uatu. Others, most notably Sebastian Stan and Dominic Cooper, however, do not fare as well. As Bucky, Stan is rigid as a board, seeming to read his lines rather than acting them out, and the character lacks enthusiasm. Cooper, on the other hand, goes the other way, overdoing Howard’s speech to the point of making an already flamboyant figure seem like a clown at a kid’s birthday party. It’s a pity, but it emphasizes the disparities in acting styles and how difficult it is for everyone to make the transition.

What If, Captain Carter

Also, and this is just personal, I was overjoyed when they mentioned Where Eagles Dare, one of my favorite men-on-mission films.

“What If… Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?” is a delightful surprise, a lighthearted Marvel tale that prioritizes character over sociology and aims to amuse rather than educate. The animation isn’t great, some of the voice acting isn’t great, and the narrative is hurried – but only because it has to be – but the excellent stuff makes it well worth seeing.

Plot – 8
7 for acting
7 Progression
Design for Production – 5
9 characters

7.2

Okay

“What If… Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?” is a delightful surprise, a lighthearted Marvel tale that prioritizes character over sociology and aims to amuse rather than educate. The animation isn’t great, some of the voice acting isn’t great, and the narrative is hurried – but only because it has to be – but the excellent stuff makes it well worth seeing.

Captain Carter, In the wake of the recent “Marvel Legacy” events, you’ve been given the chance to relive the past, and the possibilities are endless! However, with the New Frontier, that timeline has been altered, and now Captain Carter has been made the first Avenger, after punching Iron Man in the face! Will he be able to prove his worth, and become a hero to the people? Will he be able to fight off the New Guardians, and the Red Skull?! We’ll have to wait and see!. Read more about what if episode 1 cast and let us know what you think.

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