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What if... - Ultron Won? & The Watcher Broke His Oath? - Double Review: The Guardians of the Multiverse Assemble!

11 Oct 2021

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What If... Ultron Won?

The end of the world began with one man's dream. That’s what the Watcher tells us when the eighth episode of What If…? begins. In this universe, Ultron succeeds. He takes Vision’s body with the Mind Stone, becoming an unstoppable force that manages to destroy the whole world. Even Thanos wielding almost all the Infinity Stones is easily defeated by the android, who wields all the Stones himself and uses them to destroy the whole universe. The Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Sakaarans, we see them all failing to stop Ultron.

But there’s still hope. On Earth, two heroes resist. Natasha and Clinton are trying to find a way to destroy Ultron once and for all. After they discover a copy of Arnim Zola’s mind, they plan to upload it into a drone, hoping it would destroy the villain’s hive mind. However, Ultron isn’t on Earth anymore. Actually, he can’t be found anywhere in that universe.

"We've seen this before, a universe in the final days of destruction. But this particular story... this, this one breaks my heart."

After all, the Watcher’s worst nightmare is coming true: similar to Strange Supreme in episode four, Ultron can see and hear the alien. Unlike Strange, however, the android villain can also break into the alien’s observatory. Now, Ultron knows about the multiverse and wants to conquer it all. This version is truly committed to making the age of Ultron happen. The two beings fight across the multiverse, breaking into different worlds and scenarios in one of the show’s best sequences. When the Watcher loses the battle, he realizes that it’s time to break his oath. He needs to intervene.

This episode was one big surprise for me. I wasn’t expecting it to be so intense and twisted. It's like they decided to split the finale into two parts, this being the first, which was the right decision for me. It would be way too much to develop in only one episode. We also get to watch a fight across the multiverse, a sequence so mesmerizing and exciting to watch. I spent the whole season waiting for the moment that the Watcher would interact for real with the events, or at least get some development. These things finally happened here, and all this waiting definitely paid off.

By the way, I don’t know what you guys think about it, but I was never a big fan of the MCU’s depiction of Ultron in Avengers 2. However, here I feel he was such a better villain: funny, menacing, destructive. Unstoppable, in many ways. But there’s one thing that didn't convince me: it’s hard to accept that he killed Thanos so easily even though the Mad Titan wielded most of the Infinity Stones. The scene was funny anyway.

"I have seen everything that has ever happened. Ever will happen. Ever could happen. And yet, what the hell is this?"

Also, Natasha and Clint were so good. They are a great duo, and their interactions with Arnim were even better. Clint’s sacrifice resembling the one Natasha made in Endgame was heartbreaking, by the way.

Finally, after failing to stop Ultron, the Watcher visits Strange Supreme, and the episode ends, leaving everything ready for an epic finale.

What If... The Watcher Broke His Oath?

The end is nigh, folks. After barely surviving Ultron's attack, the Watcher recruits some heroes to help him. They are all characters from previous episodes, except for Gamora, whose story with Tony Stark was postponed for season two, as far as I know. 

I need to say it right away, Gamora is the finale's weak spot for me. While I care about all the heroes recruited by the Watcher, it's hard to feel the same for her. I also expected Peter from episode 5 to appear with his Cloak of Levitation after Strange invited the zombies to the party, but that's probably just the impression left by the show's poster — that's also the header image of this review.

Anyway, these problems are not that big. The finale is strong, filled with many powerful moments. I loved it. Seeing the Guardians of the Multiverse interacting, toasting, fighting together, it reminded me of the first Avengers times. Also, every episode of this season is acknowledged somehow, returning in big or small ways, tying up all loose ends.

About the plot, it's as fun as you can imagine. The Watcher recruits Captain Carter (who is living in modern days and is Natasha's best friend,) Star-Lord T'Challa, Strange Supreme, Killmonger, Party Thor, and Gamora. It's funny to see how this initial sequence explored the previous episodes' open endings, telling the audience they were never supposed to become new episodes in future seasons. Ego attacking Earth, Pepper and Shuri taking Killmonger down, Captain Marvel and Captain America fighting along Fury to stop Loki in a world where the Avengers died, all these stories are concluded here.

Anyway, the Guardians fight Ultron on a dead planet first, where T'Challa steals the Soul Stone. Strange, by far the most powerful person on the team, opens a portal and brings a zombie horde, Zombie Scarlet Witch included. My first thought was "ow, this is gonna be a huge fight." However, as soon as Wanda recognizes Vision's face, she freezes, being easily defeated by the villain.

"You're human. You keep hope against the worst of odds."

While this happens, the Guardians go to Ultron's home universe, where they find Natasha (the version we saw in episode 8, who has a copy of Arnim Zola.) She quickly becomes Carter's friend, and their dynamic is so pleasant to watch. I mean, give these two more episodes in the future! I'd love to watch them. Anyway, the team tries and fails to destroy the Infinity Stones, but Carter helps Natasha to shoot Ultron, who is hit by an arrow with the Arnim Zola program. Zola takes over Ultron's body. After this, in a not-so-surprising twist, Killmonger steals the Infinity Stones for himself, and Zola starts to fight him. That's when we learn this was the Watcher's plan all along, having invited Killmonger only to make it possible to stop Zola. In the end, the two villains are trapped by magic in a pocket dimension, and Strange accepts to protect it for eternity.

After this, every hero returns home. However, Natasha can't go back to her universe, as she would be the only human still alive. Showing that he has changed indeed, the Watcher allows her to live in the universe presented in episode 3, the one where most of the original Avengers died. Finally, in the post-credits scene, Natasha tells Carter that the Hydra Stomper was found — with someone inside.

"That's it, isn't it? All creatures searching for a place to belong. To call home. As for me, I am the Watcher. The Multiverse, every single world, every story is my home, and I will protect it to the end."

I loved these last two episodes. They are my favorite along with the Strange centric, and I enjoyed the show very much. This has been a journey full of ups and downs, but I still think that What If...? can be (and sometimes is) one of the most compelling, challenging Marvel releases. I can't wait to see what characters, stories, and movies they are going to twist in season two. Any guesses?

That's a wrap for me. Thanks for reading, and see you soon.