I’ve commented a few times that the Marvel What If…? series seems to be competing with itself to see how dark it can get. While the world without an Iron Man wasn’t as “good” as the main MCU, it wasn’t as tragic as some of the other episodes have been. Things change drastically for a good many characters in “What if Kilmonger Rescued Tony Stark?” This review is shorter than many, because there are so many twists and turns in this story and I don’t want to spoil them.
After the Watcher gets in his beginning narration, we start with the scene of Tony in the convoy from the start of Iron Man, and also the start of the MCU, although no one at the time had a clue what this one movie would grow into. Things proceed pretty much as they did in the main MCU, but instead of being nearly killed by one of his own weapons, Stark is saved by the timely arrival of Kilmonger. And the entire MCU gets derailed, although I will point out the original Avengers should all still be around in this world, just not meeting up the same way. Nothing Stark did really affected Cap, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, or Hawkeye at this point in time.
At the big press conference when Tony comes home, a lot of things are different. Kilmonger has come prepared and short circuits part of the plot of Iron Man, getting himself a promotion and suspicion from both Pepper and Happy. Happy pretty much just grouses, but Pepper goes to see Rhodey to get some more information on who Kilmonger is. Kilmonger and Stark bond over lost parents, and they get started on a new program together. What they come up with looks a lot like something from Iron Man 2, and shows just how much Kilmonger is leading Stark along. The ex-soldier steers the genius just where he wants him, and we see an echo of a big scene from Avengers: Age of Ultron. Kilmonger has no compunctions about killing people, and sets up several deaths, using them to further his own plans in an impressively ruthless fashion.
Clashing egos lead to a discovery and another death, as this world gets pushed even farther from the MCU. Furthering his own agenda, Kilmonger manipulates events such that General Ross, never really a good guy in any version of this world, gets involved and Wakanda gets dragged into the mix. Kilmoger really comes across as a strategist to rival Batman as he gets closer and closer to what he wants, causing death and suffering along the way. Elements of the Black Panther movie come into play, although there are several differences. By the end of the episode, almost everything seems to be going Kilmonger’s way. But, the last thing we see is the start of an alliance that seems to me like something that could defeat him.
What I liked: As with most of these episodes, I’m impressed at the number of actors who came back to do the roles, and not terribly stunned at most of the ones who didn’t. Kilmonger was a really impressive bad guy with a careful plan and the drive to see it through, no matter who got killed along the way. I’m very intrigued by the alliance at the end.
What I didn’t: It seemed like a little too much went perfectly for Kilmonger. I get he was driven and dedicated, but the people he outsmarted weren’t idiots, and he was displaying a lot if impressive skills I don’t believe we saw any hint of the first time around.
This was another good episode in a really impressive season. I’ll give this a 3.5 out of 5. On to the next world!