The third episode, What If… The World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?, is the best episode of the series so far
Samuel L Jackson returns as Nick Fury, the founder and brains behind the ‘Avengers’ initiative. In this parallel universe, each member of the Avengers from Iron-Man to Thor is assassinated by an unknown assailant even before the team is formed. Nick Fury must also find a solution to the threats posed by Loki and the Asgardians.
The pilot episode for the series may have been a letdown, but the quality of the series has improved after each episode. The episode is a well-written gripping narrative that truly embodies the idea of ‘What if..?’ - a parallel universe where a slight alteration in the timeline creates chaos. The episode is a far cry from the first which lacked the necessary components to be an authentic superhero story. While the second episode certainly improved on the first, the third has attained near perfection in execution.
Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury carries the narrative on his own, thanks to a well-written screenplay. The writers have managed to create a tightly packed narrative with the right balance of story and character arcs. An argument could be made that most of the characters are well established in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and they wouldn’t essentially require a lot of character development to drive the narrative forward. However, the same luxury was at the disposal of the first episode and yet it was not utilised.
The story is also a departure from the typical MCU stories with its bold creative decisions with regards to the characters’ arcs and plot lines. This was something the series promised when it was announced, and the creators have finally delivered. Several of the original cast from the live-action films returned for the episode including Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye/Clint Barton, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, and Clark Gergen as Agent Phil Coulson. It was interesting to have a forgotten character, Betty Ross from The Incredible Hulk, return for a cameo. It was also interesting to have a scene from the 2009 film recreated with Mark Ruffalo’s voice and resemblance, which was played by Edward Norton in the original film.
What If… The World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes? offers plenty of promises on what to expect from the remaining episodes of the What if…? series. The slapstick comedy is the only drawback in an otherwise excellent episode.