October 11, 2013

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. [review time]

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

I can't even begin to describe how much I enjoyed the pilot of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — but I did manage to put into words how much I disliked The Avengers. The disparity between quality and hype is at its greatest with The Avengers. Some will argue that other contenders include Inception and The Dark Knight Rises, but the IMDb ratings don't lie: Inception has an has an 8.8, making it number 16 of the greatest films of all time (if only for mass appeal), Dark Knight Rises has an 8.6 (number 57), and The Avengers has a measly 8.2, and sits at number 168. But we can all agree to give this award to Avatar (7.9) and quit bickering.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., on the other hand, hasn't created -that- much hype so far (I guess with Thor 2 coming and Avengers 2 on the radar, the fanboys are well sated) and is head and shoulders above the quality of The Avengers, at least in the first episode.

Agents of Shield castFrom the first, I liked the tone they set. Pretty classy. The first fight scene has opera (or some shiz) in the background. There's a nice mixture of humour and gravity to this pilot, where the agents form up a motley team of qualified yet mis-matched troops to be a kind of "welcoming committee" for new super heroes who don't understand their powers, much like The Company or the World Superhero Registry (lol).

I'm excited about the cast so far. Cobie Smulders looks amazing as Agent Maria Hill; her character comes across as a far bit less useless than in the film, and I hope she becomes a frequent player. I'd never seen Chloe Bennet (Skye) before, but immediately fell in love with her, and I'm sure Brett Dalton (Agent Ward) and Ming-Na Wen (Melinda May) will grow on me... The other two members of the cast promo shot you've seen everywhere (including above) are genius duo Fitz & Simmons, played by Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge respectively.

Cobie Smulders Maria Hill Agents of Shield

They definitely tried for Whedonesque humor.

"I don't think Thor's technically a god."
"Well, you haven't been near his arms"

When a (beloved?) long lost character steps out from the shadows to reveal he's still alive: "Sorry, that corner was really dark and I couldn’t help myself. I think there’s a bulb out." And scene.

"Next to people skills she drew — I think that's a little poop."

It got tempting to write down every silly joke, but I decided on restraint. Just prepare yourself for some good moments, folks.

Charles Gunn Mike Peterson

And prepare yourself to be reunited with old friends!

There are a few Whedon favorites I hadn't seen anywhere else yet: Charles Gunn! and Shepherd Book! I hope J. August Richards and Ron Glass make it into the series for more than just the pilot, because I'm super excited.

Agents of Shield Ron Glass Shepherd Book Dr. Streiten

In comparison to The Avengers, the pilot for S.H.I.E.L.D. had a -satisfying- resolution for its conflict, none of that Hulk-smashing Loki bullshiz. It's a eucatastrophe Tolkien would be proud of. At the most pivotal moment, when it seems there is no going back and no way to win, a saving grace changes the course of history; previously established as imaginable yet impossible, this solution will only work once (okay, the eagles saved the citizens of middle earth more than once, so the old man's a hypocrite, but his theory works. A good eucatastrophe makes for a good ending to any story).

Fitz and Simmons Agents of Shield

I'm off to watch the next episode. Cheers!

Agents of Shield

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