Marvel/ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. started last week and brings the Marvel Cinematic Universe to television. So how was it–and better yet, how is Agent Coulson still alive?
The series follows up after the events of the Avengers and they never explain how Coulson (still played by Clark Gregg) survived his apparent death. Three words: Life. Model. Decoy. Anywho, he has been reassigned to a super top-secret division of S.H.I.E.L.D. that even the Avengers have no idea about and he is investigating a threat called Rising Tide with a new group of agents. The rest of the first episode is spent with this new team trying to gel and stop a dangerous man who has been equipped with Extremis, as we last saw in Iron Man 3 this summer.
The show was pretty by the numbers and what you would expect from the debut of a new action/drama. Ultimately the agents put aside their differences and stop the villain, and Coulson gets to drive home in a hovercraft convertible sports car just like Jim Steranko would have drawn. It is a decent show that will probably get better, but to me it didn’t have the immediate “WOW~!” factor that Arrow did in its debut.
But what it does have going for it is how awesome Gregg is as an actor. He is awesome as the sarcastic normal person in this fantastic world. I also liked Cobie Smulder’s guest appearance as S.H.I.E.L.D. commander Maria Hill as well. With her primary gig on How I Met Your Mother coming to an end, it would be a safe bet to assume that we will see more of Hill in the next season.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is fine and I’m sure that it will get better. The challenge for them is to find that balance between the movies and finding their own identity as a series.
This weekend I saw Iron Man 3 which finishes probably the best trilogy in super hero movies. Tony Stark is back and he is a bit of a mess.
Since the events of The Avengers, he has been suffering from severe bouts of anxiety as to his role in being a self-appointed protector of mankind. Things get even more complicated for Stark as he has to fight off a new global terrorist known as the Mandarin, who has struck at him first by attempting to murder Stark’s longtime driver/bodyguard/assistant Happy Hogan and then launching an aerial attack on Stark’s Malibu home.
It turns out that this latest threat to Stark and the world at large is tied to Aldrich Killian and his quasi research company/terrorist group Advanced Idea Mechanics. Unfortunately, no one in the movie version of AIM wears the beloved yellow bee keeper’s suits. Killian is upset that Stark blew him off at a millennial New Year’s Eve event and has spent the last thirteen years perfecting a regenerative healing technology (kind of like Wolverine) that was coincidentally developed by a scientist that Stark had a one night stand with that same night. Unfortunately, this bio-tech called Extremis is extremely volatile and can be used to make explosive soldiers. Not to mention, Killian has kidnapped Stark’s love interest Pepper Potts.
This all leads Stark to face the biggest challenge of his life, stopping both Killian and the Mandarin and rescuing Pepper while not having access to his usual arsenal. Our hero is able to save the day with more than a little help from his friends James Rhodes (sans his War Machine armor) and Pepper (who has gained some extraordinary abilities of her own after becoming infected with Extremis). But the battle that Stark had with himself in overcoming his own fears was much more important than his struggle with Killian and AIM.
I loved how they made the hero seem so vulnerable, but only in his own mind. Yes, he’s Tony Stark, one of the smartest and most successful men on the planet. But in his own mind he was done for. He pulls himself together at the right time to protect what is most important to him. The resulting story is very compelling and isn’t overshadowed by robotic armor and a billion explosions.
Plot aside, there were a lot of other details that I liked. Here they are in no particular order.
- The movie borrows a lot of concepts from Warren Ellis’ “Extremis” storyline. This gets acknowledged by the filmmakers in a roundabout way, as the movie’s president shares a last name with the writer.
- Don Cheadle was awesome as War Machine and I liked how they were able to tie the Iron Patriot armor into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially since they don’t have access to the Norman Osborn character.
- The scenes with Stark hiding out in Tennessee and befriending the kid inventor Harley were really funny and sweet at the same time, with the younger one being more optimistic of Stark’s skills.
- The Ben Kingsley Mandarin character had an unbelievable plot swerve and was acted so well. If you haven’t seen the film yet or have no interest in it,
What I also liked was how they tied up the loose ends of the movie series. For now it seems like another Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man film may be unlikely, but they smartly found a way that satisfactorily ends the trilogy that can allow Downey to revisit the character or relaunch the franchise with someone else. But until that happens, Iron Man 3 finishes the greatest super hero movie trilogy of all time.
Comingsoon.net posted this picture from Iron Man 3 of a red, white and blue Iron Man armored person who has to be Iron Patriot. So what does this mean?
For those of you who aren’t up on their comics, Iron Patriot is an Iron Man armor set up that Norman Osborn (you know, the Green Goblin) had convinced the world that he wasn’t a criminal and masquerading around with his own team of Avengers.
Unfortunately, Norman can’t appear in the Iron Man films, since Sony has them as part of the deal that allows the company to make Spider-Man films. They could be creating a new character to stand in for Norman, building something based on the Dark Reign/Siege storyline, leading to a blockbuster Avengers sequel down the road pitting the Avengers against Norman’s crew.
Or it could just be an easter egg; a nod to the comics. We find out on May 13 when Iron Man 3 hits theaters.