What If…? has been delivering interesting and twisted tales all season and the latest episode is no different. It imagines a world where during the day in Iron Man where Tony Stark is attacked by the Ten Rings, a young Navy SEAL named Erik Stevens, arrives to rescue the billionaire.
By the very nature of its premise, What If…? can bring back characters from the MCU that we haven’t seen in a while or have died. It is nice to revisit Killmonger, who is one of the more engaging villains, in an all-new story. We see how calculating and devious the character is as he carries out his plan to strike back at those, he believes wronged him.
There’s just a presence to Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger that you can’t look away from. It’s a captivating tale that reinforces his brutality, charm, and shrewdness as he manipulates, exploits, and takes down some of the biggest heroes in the universe. Erik is set on obtaining his revenge and he’s so icy he doesn’t care about the collateral damage regardless if it’s family or seemingly close friends. But what do you expect from the same man who shot his lover in cold blood in Black Panther?
The action is well done with great sequences. Obviously, there’s some great Killmonger fights involving a variety of opponents from Klaue’s goons to a big mecha. Speaking of mechas, there is an all-out war between them and the forces of Wakanda complete with armored rhinoceroses. It’s even cooler to see the Dora Milaje kick butt including an unexpected Ramonda.
There are moments in this episode that try to humanize Erik. For example, in the end there’s a final encounter between T’Challa and him with the opportunity to show some remorse and contrition. However, he’ll always be combative and is so consumed with his agenda, that there is no going back.
Overall, this week’s What If…? is an entertaining episode but there are a few plot nitpicks. It’s hard to grasp why King T’Chaka would keep his nephew’s existence a secret in this universe considering he wasn’t involved in his brother’s death. There would be more of a reason to bring Erik back into the family after his traumatic events. Also, I still find it so unsettling how easily members of the Avengers are killed, particularly the super-powered ones but I guess if Killmonger is the protagonist of this story, it would make sense for him to win his battles.
Finally, it’s difficult to believe how trusting people are of the lead. Just look at the name that he goes by. Some people’s faith in him are justified by his actions while others are a little more suspect. At least not everyone buys into Erik and there’s a little ray of hope at the end that could be a good jumping off point if the series comes back to this story.
Despite some plot nitpicks, this week’s episode features a fan favorite villain in a new situation but keeps what made him so fascinating to begin with.
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