What If…? (S1) | The Multiverse Saga in All Its Glory

Review: What If was an interesting ride with each episode posing their own question with surprising results. The pilot set the tone very well even if for the fans that re-watch The Infinity Saga on the regular it might have seem a bit repetitive. Just like the saga it’s mirror after some episodes held more interest and excitement for me than others, in fact each episode ended up being like the movies with the finale acting as the first Avengers (2012) movie, making this season of the show a Multiverse Saga.

Looking at each episode as a “movie” in the Multiverse Saga I do have my favorites, ones that I’d watch again. The Captain Carter episode, the T’Challa Star-Lord one, the Killmonger episode, and of course the finale are my favorites. However what’s interesting about all of them – more than the story, than the question that episode answered – is the display of powers and abilities. Throughout the season there were amazing action sequences, some more impressive – and of course easier to do in animation – than the movies. We’ve seen characters we know using their abilities and team up in a way we have yet to see in the movies, and that alone is exciting. It opens up some many possibilities for future action sequences in live action.

Another thing that What If smoothly does this season and more so in the Finale, is setting up future threat and heroes to join the live action timeline. I know a Black Widow, a Steve Rogers, or a Killmonger to name a few that would be interesting to bring into live action. In fact, if what I heard about Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is true that pocket dimension won’t be guarded for long.

What If is enjoyable and fun, visually exciting, sometimes emotionally rough and gives us a different look at the characters we know.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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What If…? (Pilot) | Review

A.C. Bradley (Head writer) Bryan Andrews (Director)

CAST
Hayley Atwell
Josh Keaton
Dominic Cooper

Sebastian Stan
Jeffrey Wright

Review: When I first saw images of this show, I wasn’t impressed by the animation style at all, but enough time has passed since then for me to get used to that What If look and this first episode is so strong that it doesn’t matter. Captain America: The First Avengers (2011) is one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies that I’ve only seen once in fact it’s my least favorite of the films. However, it didn’t stop me from enjoying this entire episode. I bet that if the 2011 movie was fresher in my mind, it would have enhanced the experience a bit.

The pilot episode does shift the MCU in a new direction by smoothly introducing this what if scenarios. There’s a lot of story in this 30 min episode and it’s not just about the gender bending of captain America but the creation of an alternate universe with a captain that acts and moves in its own way. Captain Carter is a total brawler and yet graceful, it makes for amazing looking fight scenes that have a

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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Harley Quinn (S2) | A Spike of Quality Despite the Slow Start

The DC Universe animated series was a very welcomed and pleasant surprise for me. Season one of Harley Quinn introduced us to a great ensemble of voice actors, and some genius versions of famous DC Comics characters. Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker, and Dave Lorey, the creators and writers, did an amazing job with the show. The cast – Kaley Cuoco as Harley Quinn, Lake Bell as Poinson Ivy, Ron Funches as King Shark, Tony Hale as Dr. Psycho, Jason Alexander as Sy Borgman, Christopher Meloni as Commissioner Gordon, J.B. Smoove as Frank the Plant, Alan Tudyk as Clayface & Joker are returning and being joined by Sanaa Lathan, Briana Cuoco, Rachel Dratch, Alfred Molina, and Tom Hollander .

Last season: After he break up with the Joker, Harley Quinn strives for emancipation by making a name for herself and striving to becoming a member of the Legion of Doom.

Premise: After defeating the Legion of Doom, instead of joining them, Harley’s penchant for anarchy and her unwillingness to take control of Gotham leaves the door open for other nefarious forces to step in. The situation gives an opportunity for new heroes to rise up and new alliances to be made.

Review: The previous season was a blast, very funny, with great story-lines, and amazing voice acting. It highlighted how perfect Kalley Cuoco is for the role of Harley, on this show and possibility in live action.

Season two is still funny, the cast is great, and the pop-culture references are hilarious. I loved the nods to The Little Mermaid and Magic Mike. However the first part of the season, with the Injustice League, felt like a procedural, a good one though but still, it was kind of weird. The season really took off for me in episode six – it’s also when I dove back into the show, the weekly episodes are not the brightest of ideas.

The smart way the writers introduce and slightly reinvent well known characters is a blast. It’s always done so organically that it doesn’t put you off, even though some of them – well one – didn’t exactly need to be featured this season. But I guess, actually hope, that they’ll pull a Kiteman and give them more to do next season – and there’s better be one. Speaking of Kiteman, he’s becoming one of my favorites, he’s a more fleshed out this season and really stood out. I feel for him.

As for one of the relationship on the show, I love that the writers didn’t just use some queer-coding that they would never pay off, instead they went for it in an intelligent and grounded way. It was more subtle in the first season but it became obvious this season – unless you were obtus – to finally pay off. The relationship was complicated, not for the sake of drama but for reasons that made sense for both character’s personalities. It’s pretty obvious who I’m talking about but just in case I’ll stay vague.

Harley Quinn is a smart bloody funny show with good social commentary throughout.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Harley Quinn (S1) | When voice-acting outshines live-action.

Developped and produced by Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker, and Dave Lorey this adult animated television series from DC Universe follows Harley Quinn, a fictional characters created by Paul Dimi and Bruce Timm, and features a lot of comic book characters from DC Comics.

Premise: The series is about Harley Quinn’s adventures as she strives for emancipation after she breaks up with the Joker. She’s helped by her friends Poison Ivy, Clayface, Doctor Psycho, King Shark, and Sy Borgman in her plans to become a member of the Legion of Doom.

Review: First and foremost, the show is funny, made for adults, and the animation style is good. The storylines are smart, we’ll written, and as grounded as they can be. They make sense for each characters. Every character featured have distinct, memorable, personalities that are elevated by the voices.

The voice cast is genius. Ron Funches as King Shark? Rahul Kohli (iZombie) as Scarecrow? Or James Adomian – I didn’t know who he was but he’s cute – as Bane? Whoever thought of putting together that cast needs a f-ing raise.

The ones I just mentioned are only a few of my favorites, stand outs, but I don’t think there’s a weak link in that cast. If you’ve read my Birds of Prey review you know this but Kaley Cuoco basically outshined Margot Robbie with her voice alone. I know these are two different takes on Harley Quinn, and I’m in no way trying to pit two actresses against each other but Cuoco did a great job. I can see her in those films and not miss Robbie. Cuoco could easily pass for a former gymnast, a psychologist, and a f-ing brawler in a fight. In an alternate universe Robbie – if we have to have her – would be Poison Ivy or some other character – to Cuoco’s Harley.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like Robbie as an actrice but we’ve been presented with a great alternate. Honestly, I just liked Robbie’s look in Suicide Squad – and that’s not acting – and in Birds of Prey she was cute, except that I really liked her in one fight scene. I’m excited to see how James Gunn will showcase the character in his film even though I’m starting to feel like Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique

Harley Quinn is a blast, very funny, with great storylines, and amazing voice acting. It turns out to be a bad idea for Robbie to let someone else voice that role.

Rating: 8 out of 10.