"What Ifラ" Review Roundup: MCU's first animated series is fun at its best

Marvel Studios' growing interest in animation is heralded by What If…-, the first animated series in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The first season premieres on Disney+ on Wednesday, and the reviews are in.

Based on the Marvel Comics series of the same name, What If…- presents alternative histories for various superheroes, revisiting important moments in MCU lore and exploring different outcomes.

Many MCU regulars return to voice their characters, including Hayley Atwell, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Michael Douglas, and the late Chadwick Boseman. Jeffrey Wright stars as the Watcher, the show's omniscient narrator.

What If…- is produced by Marvel Studios, not its subsidiary Marvel Animation, which has handled animated Marvel series in the past. Carrie Wassenaar produces, and Brad Winderbaum, Kevin Feige, Louis D'Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Bryan Andrews, and A.C. Bradley executive-produce.

The animation is by Québec's Squeeze, Australia's Flying Bark Productions, and France's Blue Spirit, with Stephan Franck serving as head of animation.

Reviews so far (which are based on the first three episodes) have been mixed. Most critics find the series entertaining, at least in part, but many lament that it doesn't make the most of its premise. They tend to agree that diehard fans will get more out of it than MCU newcomers.

Sean Keane is effusive in his CNET review, describing the show as “epically fun”:

Tyler Hersko gives the series a B+ grade in a broadly positive review for Indiewire, in which he praises the animation:

Angie Han of The Hollywood Reporter disagrees, finding fault with the animation and design, as well as the voice acting:

Ben Travis awards the show three stars out of five in Empire, arguing that it is fun, but no more:

SlashFilm's Ethan Anderton finds that the series suffers by comparison with the MCU films: