Now this is what I am talking about! Though not perfect, the What If…? Season 2 episode, “What If Peter Quill Attacked Earth’s Mightiest Heroes?” is really good!
Marvel should have debuted Season 2 with this episode, not the Nebula episode which has garbage-tier writing that completely ruins the cool tone.
This episode has a really good story and there is a lot of attention paid to detail. I’m actually impressed with how well it’s done.
It’s set in the ’80s before The Avengers movie, even before the Captain Marvel movie, and it’s another take on James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy movies with sprinklings of the two aforementioned films as well as the Iron Man, Ant-Man, Black Panther, Thor, and Captain America movies. So in this Universe, when Yondu grabs Peter Quill, instead of raising Peter, Yondu gives Peter to his dad, Ego, and Ego gives Peter cosmic power.
Peter makes his way to Earth and lands in NYC where chaos erupts! Well, there is no SHIELD to respond but there happens to be Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. Led by Howard Stark, Peggy Carter, and Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening’s Earth persona), they need to form a team to combat the threat! Thus, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are born!
Making up the team of ’80s Assemblers includes Ant-Man Hank Pym, Wendy Lawson (the credits cringingly refer to has as Mar-Vell), Bill Foster Goliath, T’Chaka Black Panther (T’Challa’s dad), and The Winter Soldier! Then Thor arrives right on time!
The voice actors also return for the most part: Michael Douglas, Hayley Atwell, Laurence Fishburne, Sebastian Stan, and Kurt Russell even returns as the voice Ego.
If you are reading this review wondering to watch it, yeah, give it a watch, I liked it.
Now onto some spoilers…
What I didn’t like:
Amusement Park scene
What I didn’t like about the episode was the scene in the amusement park (the raccoon stuffed animal was a nice touch and mention of stature).
So some alien lands on Earth and takes out NYC or whatever. They form a team and their plan is to take the kid out using a tranquilizer and a photon grid. So they know the kid is OP as fk, Goliath grows to a huge height to oversee things (the kid doesn’t notice?) and instead of taking the kid out quietly, they agitate the fk out of him. Question: Why didn’t Ant-Man simply sneak in and give the kid the tranquilizer? So of course when they piss off the kid, he goes OP as fk. Luckily, Thor calls down the Thunder! That was pretty cool.
Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. breakout
The other scene I didn’t like was when Janet frees Peter in the Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. prison. That was cringe as FK too and would no way happen. There would be security cameras (yes, they had them back then) and I think there would even be guards. That said, the scene was done really well as Janet made a human connection with Peter which plays out at the end of the episode.
So while I didn’t like those two particular scenes, the episode overall more than makes up for those weak moments in the script.
Things I liked:
The story is done really well with the family theme especially right at Christmas. I liked how they paid attention to details from all the MCU movies. There are lots of references and nods. I liked the cosmic aspect of the episode. I also really liked the part in the cemetery with The Winter Soldier and what Howard Stark says about Cap. You can tell a lot more effort was put into this episode than the Nebula episode which felt rushed. For whatever reason, this episode plays out a lot better than the Nebula episode. Do more like this Marvel! Avengers! Assemble!