Sunday, 30 March 2014

Is Marvel's Agents of SHIELD all Tahiti? (Captain America : the Winter Soldier) SPOILERS

Does Captain America : the Winter Soldier's total indifference to Agents of SHIELD point to something.. magical?

I don't rate Marvel's Agents of SHIELD tv series at all, but seeing Captain America : the Winter Soldier yesterday makes me think the season finale might be something quite daring for a network tv show.

First off,  Captain America : the Winter Soldier. 
Never mind the super hero stuff, Winter Soldier is the best pure action film since Skyfall, and would make possibly even more money as a standalone action film than it would as just part of Marvel's Phase Two. Astonishing that the directors, Anthony and Joe Russo, are more know for directing episodes of Arrested Development. I would guess they will be big names henceforth.
On a Marvel movie level I would put Winter Soldier above Avengers, just below the first Iron Man film. I could write much more gushing praise but there are plenty of other reviews and discussions of the various geeky plot points available which I will not revisit here. Here I am more concerned with what Captain America : the Winter Soldier suggests about the runt of Marvel's litter, the mysteriously dull and involving Marvel's Agents of SHIELD tv series, supposedly written by master tv writer and director the of the Avengers, Joss Whedon.

I have come to loath Agents of SHIELD. This was my reaction to the heavily hyped episode which tied-in to Thor : Dark World (which I loved)

Agents of SHIELD is the worst thing I've ever seen with Whedon's name on it.
I'm sick of defending this show and the 'tie in to Thor The Dark World' was my final straw. It was two minutes of kids tv fronting tagged onto an 'Asgard'
story that could have sat in a box of reject scripts from the Man From UNCLE for 40 years.
Right now AoS is juvenile garbage and makes The Avengers look like The Seventh Seal. There is too much other good stuff on to be wasting time on it.

Having given the revelations of Captain America : the Winter Soldier some thought I think we might have to re-evaluate Agents of SHIELD. It may be disconnected and silly for a reason.

Remember the event which kicked off Marvel's Agents of SHIELD is the death and apparent resurrection of Agent Coulson in The Avengers. That, and Coulson himself, has remained pretty much the centre of the show. Since then the tv series has been mainly criticised  for having next to no connection to rest of the shared Marvel universe - the only major characters to have guested on the show so far are Asgardians (Lady Sif, Lorelei) in the close orbit of Loki, god of mischief and illusion, who is co-incidentally the villain who killed Agent Coulson in the Avengers. Interestingly Loki kills Coulson with the staff he uses to warp the minds of several other characters in the movie.

Meanwhile in the film world, Captain America : the Winter Soldier seems to have next to no connection to Marvel's Agents of SHIELD tv series despite being primarily about SHIELD. (The only reference to Coulson in the movie apparently is a briefly glimpsed poster in a SHIELD office that says "COULSON LIVES!"). 

If we take Marvel's Agents of SHIELD tv series at face value Coulson has been running around the world on assignments for a while now and none of the Avengers so traumatised by his death have become aware that he survived.  Emotional plot points left hanging unused like that? This is all very un-Joss Whedon and quite quite mysterious.

I've not been paying full attention to Agents of SHIELD for a while and I'm sure those that like the show will say that Coulson's death and resurrection has already been sufficiently explained (really?) but fans of Ben Kingsley's inspired performance in Iron Man 3 and the new One Shot All Hail the King might respond that these Marvel writers like a plot twist, and are not beyond twisting it right back again.

Another thought - 
we now know after the HYDRA revelations in Captain America : the Winter Soldier, that a more accurate title for the tv series  would be "Marvel's Agents of Nazis". Are they going to re-title it or does this show have a deliberately short shelf life?

What is Joss Whedon up to ? How 'real' are the events in Agents of SHIELD? Fans of Buffy and Dollhouse will know that Whedon loves messing with the reality of his characters and the mind of his audience...

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