In the chapter “What If … Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?” (1×01) by What would happen if…? (AC Bradley, since 2021), the story of Captain America: The First Avenger is modified (Joe Johnston, 2011); in “What If … T’Challa Became a Star-Lord?” (1×02), the one with Black Panther (Ryan Coogler, 2018), the two volumes of Guardians of the Galaxy (James Gunn, 2014, 2017) and the whole move with Thanos (Josh Brolin) are upset.
During “What If … the World Lost Its Mightiest Heroes?” (1×03) the same is perpetrated with The Avengers (Joss Whedon, 2012) and the Infinity Saga in general; and now, “What If … Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?” (1×04) changes the events of one of the most particular films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that of Doctor Strange (Scott Derrickson, 2016).
Is about a substantial variation from the story of the egocentric neurosurgeon played by Londoner Benedict Cumberbatch, who has also been the Paul Marshall of Atonement: Beyond Passion (Joe Wright, 2007), Joseph Hooker in Darwin’s Doubt (Jon Amiel, 2009), the great detective Sherlock (Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, 2010-2017), the voice of the Necromancer and Smaug in the trilogy of The Hobbit (Peter Jackson, 2012-2014), the Khan of Star Trek: Into Darkness, Ford in Twelve years of slavery, the Julian Assange from The Fifth Estate (JJ Abrams, Steve McQueen, Bill Condon, 2013) or Billy Bulger in Black Mass: Strictly Criminal (Scott Cooper, 2015).
A very different journey for Doctor Strange
Such a variation of What if…? transforms it into a more classic and emotional trip than it was originally in Scott Derrickson’s feature film (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) for its loving and tragic elements. Thus, the sequence of the first third with a dynamic similar to the one that Doctor Strange develops with Dormammu, as Trapped in Time (Harold Ramis, 1993), it moves us more than any other of the same.
It is not that a contribution like that is not very seen, repeating the formula, but such a circumstance does not mean that it is as effective as necessary and that it deserves the attempt. On the other hand, “What If … Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?” takes you to a place and time of magic, your own domain field, that we love visiting with Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sorcerer Supreme.
East reproduces behaviors that viewers know for one of the Doctor Strange post-credit scenes about Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) or, of course, for the intentions of our beloved Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn) in WandaVision (Jac Schaeffer, 2021) regarding the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). The animation of these scenes seems visually very attractive, and gives us a nod to “What If … Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?”
The best of ‘What if …?’ with difference
But what makes this episode the jewel of What would happen if…? at the moment it’s his last leg, with a splendid turn, a showdown exciting and extraordinarily elaborate in the design of his drawings and the animated technique, a most surprising intervention, which breaks the walls of the narrative scheme without betraying the essence of the story, and the most honest and different ending, not only of this television fiction of Disney Plus, but of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It is possible that chapters two and three were very interesting alterations of what we had been told about this gang of superheroes, but the “What If … Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?” it is another level. Do yourself a favor, fans of marvelitas adventures, and Do not miss it.
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