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What If... Iron Man Crashed Into the Grandmaster?

"You decide. Who are you?"

We had a film noir, a 1980s Avengers team-up, a blatant (but fun) Die Hard rip-off, so what's next? Alien death races, anyone?

Instead of falling back down to New York after piloting the nuke in The Avengers, Tony instead arrives on Sakaar as a famous hero. Well, semi-famous. To be fully famous, people have to know your name. I liked our inflection point here a lot. It felt like a very plausible shift. Tony being half a second slower to reach the portal was very easy for me to accept and orient myself with, so I could just enjoy what was happening instead of trying to figure out a brand new world.

It was very briefly mentioned at the start, but the Gamora here was the same one that we saw last season. This episode was originally meant to air then, but it wasn't finished in time and so it got bumped. Knowing that made me a little disappointed while watching. I had hoped for an episode focused on a Gladiator Gamora, but this was very much Tony's episode, to the point where I'm not sure why the Watcher used her over him.

But that's a very minor thing due to my own expectations. The actual episode itself was a lot of fun. It's hard not to have fun with a Mad Max style Wacky Races death race with a side helping of podracer aesthetics. It just needs to be bright and kinetic, and that's usually enough to keep you swept up in the action.

It helped that the races were very well done. The animation felt smooth, and I loved the little moments of levity throughout, like the Grandmaster statue. My favorite part had to be Tony's suit, specifically the transition from the car back into a suit. That was just cool and felt like a moment that I would have expected to see in one of the main movies. Actually, as a whole all of the characterizations felt like they could have been plucked out of any of the movies. Sometimes characters can feel very different depending on how history changes, and while that is a lot of the fun in these kinds of stories, it was nice to have a Tony that felt like Phase One Tony.

Wisely, they didn't try to add in too much plot between the races. For once, the story felt like it was meant for a thirty minutes episode as opposed to being a very condensed feature film. It was all that it needed to be. Gamora's switch to the side of good did feel very fast since it happened over the course of literally five minutes, but that's just me being nitpicky.

Random Thoughts

Mick Wingert did amazing as Tony. I had to double check that it wasn't actually RDJ. The cadence of the quips in particular was spot on. Jeff Goldblum was also clearly having a lot of fun.

Nikos was adorable and I want one.

A lot of Korg this season. It's not a surprise that he was here given we originally met him on Sakaar, but this is the second time he's had a somewhat sizable role.

An Honest Fangirl loves video games, horror movies, and superheroes, and occasionally manages to put words together in a coherent and pleasing manner.

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