Movie & Television Show Reviews

Killmonger Rises | “Marvel’s What If … ?” Season 1: Episode 6 “What If … Killmonger Rescued Tony Stark?” Review

Ever since the first trailer, this was one of the scenarios many Marvel fans (myself included) have been anticipating from the series. The shot of Killmonger and a Stark Industries missile in the horizon set the tone for this series and showed fans how endless the possibilities were.

While on the fateful Afghanistan trip that got Tony Stark to build the first Iron Man suit and kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tony is attacked and as he sees the Stark Industries missile come his way, Killmonger walks up and throws it into the distance. After saving Tony, he and the billionaire playboy become close friends and even closer business partners after exposing Obadiah Stane for planning the attack on Tony. He gets Tony to help him create a system of combat drones; but to get them to work, Killmonger insists on using vibranium. Killmonger uses Ulysses Klaue and T’Challa to kickstart his plan to play Stark and the United States against Wakanda and win over T’Chaka and get the power of the Black Panther.

When I first saw “Black Panther,” I joined many other Marvel fans who called Killmonger one of the best Marvel villains — and here we get to see more of his strategic skills at play. He has a silver tongue when working between Tony Stark and Wakanda that makes each turn and betrayal more poignant, reminding you of how amazing an actor Michael B. Jordan is.

The minute the missile was thrown, it was interesting to see how the trajectory of the timeline went, with Tony Stark kept static, as his heart still buried underneath debauchery. If anything, Tony’s ego seems to get even bigger as he tries to be bigger than those who exploited his weapons. But when Rhodey is killed in a vibranium deal, he retaliates, falsely thinking he got the upper hand on Killmonger. The moment feels reminiscent of “Iron Man 3” where someone close to him is attacked and his pride trips him up and leads him to defeat.

I mentioned back in the Doctor Strange episode of how much the Watcher seemed to be breaking from the background. And while he’s still seen in the horizon, the narrations happen in real time; making it clear that he’s talking to the audience, a la Roger Sterling in the Twilight Zone. While Deadpool treated the fourth wall like a piñata, the Watcher cracks at it and peeks through like Wilson on “Home Improvement.” The question remains how long it will be until he reaches the main timeline about the looming threat of Phase Four.

As good as the last few episodes have been, this one still left me excited. It brought me back to my time watching “Black Panther” in the theaters engrossed by the brilliance of Killmonger. The tension from Killmonger playing both sides a la Emperor Palpatine along with the excellent fight sequences kept me grinning wide-eyed and watching up until the credits to see what would happen next.

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