Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D
Warning: This recap contains some spoilers from the pilot episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
With critical praise, huge box office numbers, and every major Marvel character teaming up in one epic movie for longtime and new fans, The Avengers, is probably the biggest superhero movie of all time. When director-writer, Joss Whedon, announced that he was creating a show based on S.H.I.E.L.D., the fictional espionage organization that appears throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans were excited. However, comic-fans are just a small portion of the television audience. How could a show with a huge comic book background be successful on a major network?
The pilot does everything it can to silence any doubt that the show could be unsuccessful, with an intriguing story, well developed characters and always entertaining dialogue. Even if the action throughout the show does seem a little schizophrenic.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. takes place a few months after The Avengers. It follows Clark Gregg, reprising his role of Agent Phil Coulson, as he returns from faking his death. Agent Coulson takes several agents into the organization and explains that they must contain various superheroes before the public exploits them.
Agents include, Grant Ward, played by Brett Dalton, an action-oriented black ops specialist who often questions his co-workers; Agent Melinda May, played by Ming-Na Wen, an expert pilot who seems to have history with Coulson; Agent Leo Fitz, played by Iain De Caestecker, a timid agent who is an engineering expert; and Agent Jemma Simmons, played by Elizabeth Henstridge.
The pilot focused on Coulson’s team trying to contain a middle-aged man named Mike Peterson, played by J. August Richards, and notorious hacker Skye, played by Chole Bennet. Mike appears to have super powers, but the twist reveals that what gave him the powers is something far more dangerous than what he could expect. It is something that could possibly kill him. Skye, on the other hand, tries her best to help the team out.
Joss Whedon is known for writing very sharp and funny dialogue in all of his television shows. That trait, fortunately, carries over to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Clark Gregg has a good sense of comedic timing, and delivers all of his lines in a sort of deadpan and self referential manner. Chole Bennet’s dialogue as Skye is also funny, but thanks in part to her performance, she is not some boring old quirky character. That is not to say everyone else is bad, but Whedon knows how to develop characters, so it is all very familiar to his fans.
The story will likely keep anyone watching. Every character seems to hint towards something big or something that is a serious threat to S.H.I.E.L.D.. Every commercial break there is an urge for the show to just keep going on, as the twists keep on coming. For instance, in the show, Agents Fitz and Simmons are figuring out how to solve the mystery behind Mike’s powers. Throughout the episode, it drops hints here and there, while never really revealing anything. The technology that S.H.I.E.L.D. uses to solve said mystery is pretty incredible and looks just as good as the special effects seen in the movies. If the show keeps on going in a direction like this, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could potentially be exciting every week.
The only real complaint about the show so far is the action and the way it is shot. The first fight scene with Agent Ward is shot well, but the rest of them seem to fall into “shaky cam” territory. This results in fight scenes that are more chaotic and leaves the viewer wondering what they are looking at.
Also, a lot of the characters, most notably Fitz and Simmons, have way too many one-liners. It is all very forced and it comes off as trying to sound like the fast paced dialogue seen in Edgar Wright movies like Hot Fuzz. Finally, the references may go over viewers’ heads if they are not too familiar with comic books or the movies.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. definitely has a lot of potential. The way the characters interact with one another, and the fact that the stories are interesting, the show can expect to have a solid fan base in the next few weeks. The comic book/super hero genre has certainly reached its peak in the movies, but on television it seems like it is just going to get better.