SPOILERS FOR WHAT IF…? EPISODE 5
“What If… Zombies?”
I never thought that I would ever see Marvel Zombies in anything outside of the comic book page. However, Marvel Studio’s animated series, What If…? has made what seemed impossible not only possible, but definitive.
Episode 5 was yet another great episode from this special series, entitled simply “What If…Zombies?” I had really wondered what point that they would use in the MCU to send the world into a Zombie Apocalypse. They chose a perfect place to do it. As Hope Van Dyne is trying to save her mother Janet from the Quantum Realm, he had no idea that Janet had been infected with the Zombie curse and that by having Hank Pym bring her back to the MCU, it would lead to the end of the civilization as we knew it. I loved this way of bringing in the zombies.
It was also an awesome way to connect Bruce Banner into the story, by picking it up when he crashed back to earth into the Sanctum Sanctorum in Infinity War. It kept the Hulk out of the story at first, since he was still having his Thanos-induced freak out. However, we do discover that not even the Dark Order were immune to the zombie curse.
One of the cool aspects of this episode was seeing the different Marvel heroes, from Iron Man to Hawkeye to Captain America as Zombies. It was cool as well to see the ragtag group that had been brought together as the few survivors of the world. Hope, Spider-Man, Happy Hogan, Bucky Barnes, Agent Sharon Carter, and … Kurt (from Ant Man).
The use of Vision and Wanda was just as heartbreaking as it always seems to be for these two. Even in the zombie universe, Vision is destined to die. How many times have we seen our favorite android destroyed. Twice in Infinity War, once in WandaVision, and now here. Having Vision keeping zombified Wanda in check as he tried to find a cure was truly a sad fate for both of them. For God sakes, he was feeding her humans (including pieces of T’Challa. Chadwick Boseman once again handling the voice. I wonder how many more times we will be blessed with his voice in this series).
And…. Wanda vs. the Hulk? ‘Nuff said.
I want to comment on some of the criticism I saw on Twitter after the episode, the same silly gripes that have been in the MCU from the beginning. I saw people complaining how the zombies episode had too much humor in it and that some people were unhappy that it was not as dark as it could be. First of all, the story has the characters of Spider-Man and Scott Lange in it, and Scott Lange happens to be a head in a jar. I’m sorry, but with those characters, you are going to have humor. If you did not have humor, you would not be servicing those characters properly.
In fact, as a huge Spider-Man fan, I know that Peter Parker has been using humor to keep the insanity of the world outside of him since the very beginning. Without his humor masking his fear, he would not be able to continue on in the face of the terrible events he has gone through. It is a coping mechanism and Spidey has been doing it forever. I do not want to see a down trodden and depressed Spider-Man. The fact that Spidey is on the internet doing rules for surviving the Zombie Apocalypse is such a great character beat and is right out of Zombieland, which is a zombie movie that showed that you can have humor and still have a fearsome setting.
In fact, the episode specifically addresses this in one of the best scenes around. Spidey talks about how his Aunt May said to him that he had to keep smiling or else he may as well be gone. Plus, he mentioned Uncle Ben, something that the MCU has skirted around from the start of the web slinger.
Spider-Man was the absolute heart of this episode and it gave us the most beautifully accurate Spidey we have seen in the MCU yet. So everything was not doom and gloom. Who cares? We had a philosophy on life that is great advice and can be placed into context for any situation, not just the zombie apocalypse.
Tom Holland was unable to provide the voice of Peter Parker. The rumor was that his Sony contract would not allow it, which was sad. However, we got Hudson Thames doing a excellent job as the Web Head. The rest of the cast were back including Paul Bettany, Paul Rudd, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Jon Favreau, Mark Ruffalo, Evangeline Lilly and David Dastmalchian.
This was a great episode of What If…? As of this moment (and it might be fluid) the order of my favorite episodes are #1. T’Challa is Star-Lord #2, Dr. Strange loses his heart, #3 Zombies, #4. Captain Carter, and #5. Avengers are murdered. Honestly, I could see the top three moving around quite a bit. There has not been a clunker of an episode yet.
Oh… and that cliffhanger! WTF!!!