Marvel’s What If… is set for release on August 11 but if you can’t wait for multiversal madness, Gizmodo Movie Night has you covered. This week, we’re exploring what we like to call the ‘real’ Marvel multiverse — that is, the countless films that show off what Marvel characters would be doing in alternate realities.
What if Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow unlocked that ‘extra’ 90 per cent of her brain? What if Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man was a young and vivacious news reporter? What if Chris Evans’ Captain America had to defeat Michael Cera?
These are the real ‘what ifs’ explored in these great, fun films. Let’s dive in and prepare for the Multiverse of Madness this Gizmodo Movie Night.
What if… Ant-Man discovered Sex Panther cologne?
Paul Rudd’s career has been long and fruitful, but one of his most iconic roles is still Brian Fantana in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. This was a breakout role for Rudd, and his slimy, greaseball performance remains one of the best parts of this film.
It also poses a very important question: what would his Scott Lang have been like if he discovered the unrepentant allure of the film’s ‘Sex Panther’ perfume. Marvel’s What If…? may not answer this query, but Anchorman sure does.
While some of the jokes haven’t aged well, Anchorman remains a fun and enjoyable flick perfect for a good movie night.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is currently streaming on Stan.
What if… Black Widow gained superpowers?
In Lucy, Scarlett Johansson plays a woman who unwillingly ingests a packet of ultra-powered drugs that give her telekinesis, telepathy and ruthlessness, kicking off a rampage through Europe. It’s silly good fun, and it also explores a very intriguing Marvel reality where Black Widow wasn’t one of the only non-powered superheroes in the Avengers.
If you’re looking for spectacular action sequences and a whole lot of fun, Lucy is a great film to spend an afternoon with.
Lucy is currently streaming on Netflix.
What if… Captain America was an evil ex?
On the cusp of his debut as Captain America, Chris Evans appeared in a different kind of comic book movie: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. While he only had a bit part, Evans’ cameo as ‘sell-out actor’ slash bad-arse Lucas Lee is absolutely fantastic, and well worth watching the whole movie for.
In the film, he faces off against Michael Cera’s Scott Pilgrim for the love of Ramona Flowers in an epic skateboard battle to the death. If that sounds like it’d be totally rad, it really is.
Captain America skateboarding is a great, hilarious time.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is now streaming on Stan.
What if… Thor was trapped in a fairy tale?
Snow White & The Huntsman was one of Chris Hemsworth’s first roles after shooting to fame as Thor — and while the quality of the film is questionable, it’s hard to deny how much fun Hemsworth is in this romp. If you want to see him as a grimy, mud-covered warrior running around forests and making eyes at Kristen Stewart’s Snow White, you’ll absolutely get that here.
It’s entertaining, it’s stylish, and it features Charlize Theron at her high-pitched screaming best.
Snow White & The Huntsman is currently streaming on Binge.
What if… Hawkeye became a rogue CIA agent?
The Bourne Legacy had the difficult task of continuing the story laid out in the excellent Bourne Trilogy which launched Matt Damon into the public conscious. Luckily Jeremy Renner was more than up to it in this action-heavy spy thriller. After all, the role wasn’t too different from his last big role, playing Hawkeye in both Thor and The Avengers.
Here, Renner arguably got to spread his Hawkeye wings further, going on the run as a rogue CIA agent. If you squint, you can almost imagine this as a Hawkeye origin movie.
The Bourne Legacy (and all the other Bourne flicks) are now streaming on Stan.
What if… Iron Man lived in the 19th century?
Sherlock Holmes (2009) is one in a long string of Arthur Conan Doyle adaptations, and it’s also one of the most fun. Robert Downey Jr. eats up the scenery in this role — but if his performance feels familiar, it’s because this Holmes is basically a Victorian era Tony Stark.
Sure, the characters differ somewhat but the genius-level intellect, drug use and eccentricity are all here, making this Holmes as close to an alternative reality Tony Stark as you can get.
The film’s also a whopping good time, and even if you’re not in it for Downey Jr. you’ll come away thoroughly entertained.
Sherlock Holmes is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Stay tuned for the next instalment of Gizmodo Movie Night, our fortnightly movie and TV recommendation column. With Marvel’s What If…? right around the corner, now might be the time to kick off your own multiversal journey.