Starting its run on Disney+ on Friday, December 22, What If...? Season 2 will be the first time an animated MCU project has moved into a second season after Loki had that honor on the live-action side earlier in 2023.
Marvel Studios delivered the first trailer for Season 2 in November, confirming a number of major MCU stars' returns as new alternate realities and timelines are explored in the show's next nine episodes.
Critics Share Reviews for What If...? Season 2
Following the world premiere event for Season 2 of Marvel Studios' What If...?, critics shared their initial reactions to the new season's first two episodes on X.
Screen Rant's Caitlin Tyrrell called What If...?'s second season "even stronger than the first" and its animation "even smoother:"
"Watched 2 episodes of the second season of 'What If...?' and it is even stronger than the first! The animation is even smoother and the genre play continues to be fantastic! Nebula has a great arc and Happy Hogan is front and center in an episode perfect for the holiday season!"
Nerds of Color's Wendy Lee Szany used the words "extremely entertaining and intriguing" to describe the first two episodes, teasing their unique genres:
"Just screened the first 2 eps of 'What If...?' Extremely entertaining and intriguing! First ep kicks it off with a dark thriller that follows Nebula and what if she joined the Nova Corp. 2nd ep has a more of a holiday theme that I don’t spoil. Just know it’s a fun one."
Variety's Jazz Tangcay praised Marvel Studios' animation as being "awe-inspiring" in Season 2 of What If...?, telling fans to "look out for the Die Hard homage." Tangcay also singled out composer Laura Karpman's work on the music as a major highlight:
"Just screened the first two episodes of 'What If...?' season 2. Marvel Studios animation is awe-inspiring. The holiday special is filled with nods to the season and holiday films. Look out for the 'Die Hard' homage. And there's Laura Karpman's score. She is having the best year."
Film and TV critic Jana Nagase loved the first two episodes and noted that the "returning [and] new characters make the stories very exciting (and) fun," also teasing an amazing holiday episode in the mix:
"I watched the first two episodes of 'What If...?' & 'What If...?' Season 2 is great, the animation is beautiful. Returning & new characters makes the stories very exciting , fun & there is one of the best holidays episodes ever!"
That Hashtag Show's Junior Felix praised the first two episodes as "spectacular" in his review:
"Just watched two SPECTACULAR episodes of 'What If...?' season two and WOW! The holiday episode is full of 'Die Hard' references and is awesome! Can't wait to watch the others!"
SlashFilm's Jenna Busch-Henderson called Episode 1 and Episode 2 "an absolute blast," enjoying the "mix of serious and silly" that came across in the show:
"Saw the first two episodes of 'What If...?' and they were an absolute blast! Really fun and a mix of serious and silly in the best way way!"
Critic Laura Sirikul felt the first two What If...? Season 2 episodes "are beautifully done" with "exciting and intriguing" stories:
"The first two episodes of 'What If...?' Season 2 are beautifully done. The stories were exciting & intriguing. It also brought in characters we don't get to see in the live-action like Happy & other characters from Guardians! Animation is fantastic."
Nerd Reactor's John Nguyen teased "a mix of cyberpunk and noir aesthetics" for the episode featuring Nebula:
"Watched 2 eps of 'What If...?' The Nebula episode has a mix of cyberpunk and noir aesthetics. However it dragged in parts. The Christmas ep was fun and spotlights Happy Hogan getting superpowers and is inspired by 'Die Hard'."
That Hashtag Show's Hunter Bolding called the first two episodes "as excellent as they come," describing the animation as "beautiful (and) stylized:"
"The first two episodes of 'What If...?' are as excellent as they come. Happy Hogan Saves Christmas is the 'Die Hard' highlight. The animation is beautiful, stylized, and the episode is hilarious.
The Direct's own Russ Milheim gave Season 2 credit for being "more comfortable taking advantage" of what the show's premise can bring, ramping up excitement for "fun surprises" along with "unexpected characters:"
"Just saw the first two episodes of 'What If...?' Season 2, and it's definitely gotten more comfortable taking advantage of what the premise of the show can achieve—which is a good thing. Both installments featured fun surprises and some unexpected characters."
Will What If...? Season 2 Succeed for the MCU?
Considering the negativity surrounding the MCU over the past couple of years, especially with reports of trouble behind the scenes on the animation side, seeing these reviews is certainly a breath of fresh air.
After this new season faced a handful of delays with its release date, it appears these critic reactions indicate that Marvel Studios may have another winner on its hands and that those delays were worthwhile.
Marvel is also trying out a brand-new release strategy for What If...? Season 2 by releasing one episode per day for nine straight days, allowing fans to quickly binge through the series as new MCU stories are told in rapid succession.
And with Season 2 introducing new MCU superheroes while revisiting classics from Season 1 and other Marvel Studios entries, the stage is set for a wild adventure with no limits to the twists and turns that can come to life.
What If...? Season 2 will begin streaming on Disney+ starting on Friday, December 22.