Tag Archive: Agent Carter


Avengers: Age of Awesome

avengers-age-of-ultron-alternateWas there any doubt that Avengers: Age of Ultron would be a fun movie? Was there any doubt that the existing fanbase would love it? Was there any doubt that the movie would be a hit success? No, indeed. The only doubt was how good it would be on a scale of 6 to 11.

Rest your doubts. It’s at least a 10.9.

Note: This is not a spoiler-free review. However, unless you’ve been avoiding the trailers, you’re safe until you come to the big spoiler graphic. After that, you’ve been warned.

Superhero stories have traditionally been plot-driven. Things happen in a particular way to have a particular end, and that’s the only important thing. We all know how annoying that can be. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s horrible. However, the MCU has mostly stayed true to character-driven stories. There have certainly been ones where plot mattered more (Thor: The Dark World and Agents of SHIELD season one come to mind), and others where character and plot intertwined to the point where you don’t care that a story had to go this way to set up something later, because the characters still had their day (Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier).

Of course, character-driven stories aren’t automatically better, because character without consistent plot is unsatisfying. Think of Iron Man 3, which was a fantastic movie from the perspective of Tony Stark’s character development, and rather sucky for the rest.

The first Avengers movie remained a shining example of a character-driven story, as Ross explained earlier this week. My biggest worry about Age of Ultron was that it might not live up to that standard. In point of fact, I think Age of Ultron actually exceeds its predecessor in that regard. While the movie actually lacks a little of the stand-up-and-cheer of the first, Age of Ultron is now a new go-to example for true character-driven stories.  Continue reading

Looking Ahead with the MCU

Agents of SHIELD has always had the potential to be the little show that connected the big things. Now, with Marvel getting more little things (that is, TV shows), we have even more opportunities to see the backdrop of the Marvel Cinematic Universe through the eyes of Coulson and his team.

Of course, the problem with that has been that Agents has, well, supremely sucked at doing that.

There are a few other factors, though, even if the writing on the show continues to improve. For one, Agents and Agent Carter (if the later ever gets renewed) are ABC properties. If the Netflix shows pan out the way Daredevil did (I really need to write up my review/analysis of that show!), then that “network,” so to speak, will wind up being stronger, which means ABC might not want to share. On the other hand, Marvel TV contracts reportedly all include the possibility of cinema appearances, while the reverse (cinema to TV) is not true.

What I hope is that Spider-Man will help bridge that gap. In the comics, he’s done plenty of team-ups with Daredevil, as well as the other coming Netflix characters. I’d like to see him show up in both Netflix and ABC shows. Problem is, I don’t know if Sony would think that’s a great idea.

For now, it’s hard to judge where Agents of SHIELD is going after this season. Which brings us inevitably to the Avengers: Age of Ultron tie-in, where reportedly we have multiple characters from the show popping up. Back when I first heard about it, I wasn’t impressed. Now, though . . . heck, even the supremely-boring Skye, of all people, has become interesting. I’ve gone from “How can they do an Agents cameo and make it look anything other than forced?” to “How can they do an Agents cameo and do the show justice?”

My, how things change.

For the rest, though, I need to get into some spoilers for the current season.

Spoiler Warning

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Daredevil Now Live

11958118In case you hadn’t already marked your calendar, the new Netflix original Daredevil TV show is now live.

Yes, I’ll be reviewing it, but not for a little while unless I wind up reviewing chunks rather than the whole thirteen-episode season. (Yes, Netflix released them all at once. What did you expect? It’s Netflix. Binge-watching is encouraged.) While I’m down with particularly severe fibromyalgia symptoms for the third day in a row, which would make for a perfect time to binge-watch, I’m scheduled to watch it with someone else after work tonight. We probably won’t finish it this weekend.

But for those of you who are still sticking around and not clicking that oh-so-shiny link, let’s talk Daredevil for a bit.  Continue reading

agents-of-shield 3I was glancing at Hulu last night and noticed that Agents of SHIELD was back. I hadn’t been paying attention. Agents, which had started out with a huge ad blitz and big promises, hasn’t been delivering. The supposed “shocking mid-season finale” was so ho-hum I kept hitting pause to do other stuff, my mind wandering too much to pay attention.

Agents was promised as part of the MCU, but its interaction with the movies has amounted to very tentative fan-fiction. Our most clear connections, other than Coulson himself, has been one episode to deal with Asgardians and a couple of cameos from Nick Fury. Even the focus on SHIELD and Hydra has been lackluster, and I haven’t really been feeling like they were entirely the same as what we saw in the movies. I’d had some hope last year when they finally got out of the twiddling-thumbs episodes for the Captain America 2 tie-in, but the self-contained story has been so completely timid — as if the writers are unwilling, or not allowed, to do anything that can make changes with the MCU — that the show is still only reacting to the movies and not being a full-fledged member of the franchise.

Agent Carter was different in this regard. While it ought to have had the harder role, since it’s set in the past with no way to truly break new ground, it proved to be far more creative and bold with its events. What happened in that first season has to have an impact on the MCU as a whole; Carter can’t simply be ignored. Agents of SHIELD, on the other hand, is eminently ignoreable. They’re the clean-up crew — literally, in the case of the Thor 2 tie-in-that-wasn’t last year.

It’s been such a disappointment, that I really don’t have any effort left to give. I really only watched the episode in the hopes that I might find something interesting to blog about. I fully expected more of the same-old, same old. What I found, instead, was a departure from the typical fanfic style. If I my hopes hadn’t been dashed so many times so far, I’d actually be excited about the style change. As it is, I’m “cautiously not-quite-as-pessimistic.”

For once, Agents of SHIELD has something new to offer. For once, the show has become proactive. Whether this will in turn affect the rest of the MCU, I don’t know, but if not then it will be due to gross negligence, because suddenly we have a new story to tell.

Spoilers after the break.  Continue reading

Agent Carter, Season 1

Agent CarterThis weekend, I got caught up with Agent Carter. Aside from — actually, in spite of — the occasionally overbearing exploration of sexism, this is truly an excellent series, and a great example of how to use mild alternate history, superhero, and spy thriller tropes.

Spoilers after the break. Continue reading

Spider-Man is Back with Marvel

Okay, okay, the superhero Spider-Man, a comic book character that predates the X-Men, never left Marvel. Well, except in one respect: Sony bought the movie rights to the character’s franchise back when no one expected superhero movies to be this big and mainstream.

The cinematic rights to Spider-man had been bought in the 80s, and eventually wound up in Sony’s hands. Marvel has reportedly wanted them back now that they’ve been so successful with their “Cinematic Universe,” the collection of shared-world movies (and now two TV shows, Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter) that began with Iron Man in 2008. It’s been a rumor for years now that Marvel might get Spider-man back, or that Sony might relent and recognize the earnings potential that would come with crossovers.

Unlike most pie-in-the-sky, Internet-geek-community rumors . . . this has now been confirmed as trueContinue reading

I managed to find a little time this weekend to watch the first (and currently only) three episodes of the new show Agent Carter. I’ve been looking forward to this one for three reasons. 1) It stars Hayley Atwell as a gender-flipped James Bond figure. 2) It’s a 1940s period drama, and as both of my parents are WWII-era enthusiasts, I’ve picked up some of that myself. 3) It’s a Cold War spy thriller.

I was not disappointed . . . well, in that regard. All three were basically what I was looking for, with enough extra twists to keep me surprised on all fronts. I didn’t need the Marvel Comics tie-ins to enjoy the show, though they helped with the suspension of disbelief when it came to the occasional anachronistic piece of tech. They even managed to deflect a bit of the Reed Richards is Useless trope by implying that the Stark family tends to have trouble inventing devices that are actually appropriate for civilian use, in a bit of a “go big or go home” vibe. That is, Howard Stark’s inventions don’t ever fail, they just turn out to be unexpectedly strong.

What I was disappointed with, however, was the same thing that is apparently driving male audiences away, though not to the same degree.

Continue reading

Captain’s Orders

This is my spoiler-free review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. If you’ve seen the movie, you know why I picked that title. (The packed theater erupted into cheers at that particular Moment of Awesome.)

Captain America 2 sets out to raise the stakes for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s a tall order, and easily screwed up. The movie doesn’t screw it up. It succeeds, and it does so beautifully. Continue reading

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