In 2008, Marvel studios released Iron Man. This film, despite being about a hero quite unknown to the masses, did incredibly well. It was also the first step in one of the biggest cinematic projects in history.
5 years later the Marvel Cinematic Universe (which, for the minute excludes Spiderman and the Xmen due to studio rights) has 7 films under its belt, with at least another 5 officially in the works, the MCU project shows no signs of slowing down, especially after the incredible success of Joss Whedon’s Avengers Assemble last year, and now that same man has bought this blockbuster behemoth to the small screen.
Tuesday night saw the American premier of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D . The show focuses on the super secret spy agency which was first properly introduced in The Avengers. More specifically it focuses on a small mobile unit of agents, put together to keep things calm after the doors to superhero-dom were blown open in the battle of New York. But is it any good?
I’m going to be candid. I love Joss Whedon, and other fans of the man’s witty dialogue and intriguing characters and plot points shouldn’t be disappointed with his new show, and will definitely see some familiar faces amongst a surprising amount of new comers, not only to Whedon, but to the industry.
Since we’re only at the premier, and discussing serious story arcs seems a little feeble at this point, so let’s address the cast shall we?
For those who’ve not seen The Avengers, or who haven’t seen the trailer and don’t want anything spoiled at all, I’ll leave you here with just this; the pilot is definitely worth a watch, it’s charming and funny with, I think, a lot of potential.
Now for those of us who couldn’t resist watching the trailer, we all know Coulson, who died at the hand of Loki in The Avengers, isn’t really dead.
It’s Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson who’s heading the gang. He’s as cool and as proper as usual, but still keeps his wry humour and the air of utmost control that Gregg has had down since Iron man 2. You begin to see the cracks in his armour when his ‘death’ is bought up, which shows a nice human side to the guy.
In the opening scene we’re introduced to lone wolf agent extraordinaire Grant Ward played very capably by Brent Dalton. The usual macho character traits are here; he’s physically and mentally exceptional but lacks social skills. And it’s in this opening scene where we also get to see the sort of effects and gadgets the show’s working with.
They hit me as a bit over the top at first, but then, S.H.I.E.L.D is a top organisation with a lot of money and technology, which is expanding ever more with each ‘incident’. Ward’s gadgets include a finger print copier and an Xray tea tray, which besides being fun to say shows us that Whedon’s tongue, I think, is in his cheek just a little.
Next up on the roster is Ming-Na Wen’s Melinda May. We’re introduced to her as an office worker, but we see some more of her reputation by the end of the 40 minutes. She’s the reluctant member, whose expertise clearly surpass just ‘driving the bus’.
Hacker Skye is next up, played very well for laughs in this first episode by Chloe Bennet, she doesn’t get much chance to show her seriousness, but with her playing alongside straight-man Ward the humour creates a nice spark. It’s also clear that she’s the audiences ‘in’ to the agency. It’s good to have this as a lighter character to stop the audience from taking the series too seriously at first.
Finally we have the two ‘non combatants’. Fitz and Simmons, played by British actors Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge respectively. They’re brilliant scientists, each specialists in their own fields. They have a very sibling like relationship which, I’m sure, once the show picks up heat will be compromised by incredibly dorky and awkward Fitz growing feelings for Simmons, though I’ve been wrong before.
The cast seems to work well together, with pairings already appearing that I hope they’ll mix up so they don’t stagnate. And as for the storyline of the pilot; which centres on the possible exposure of another super hero and a shady organisation, as well as successfully introducing a whole cast is incredibly promising.
I for one enjoyed it immensely, it’s cheesy in places, but where it is it seems natural, it’s full of great humour and throwaway lines, and at its climax it shows its heart, echoing many themes from Captain America, and if you know Coulson, you’ll know that’s a big deal for him.
For me, it’s a must watch, I have utmost faith in Whedon. And if you like the sounds of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D but live in England, have no fear. For once an American show is being shown on UK TV mere days after its original airing.
If I were you, I’d catch the premier of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D on Channel Four at 8PM on Friday the 27th of September.