Saturday, January 10, 2015

Is Agent Carter something to MARVEL over?

Ehhhhh … … Well, it’s like this – ABC’s new “mini-series” Agent Carter, starring Hayley Atwell, tells the story of Peggy Carter, aka Captain America’s girlfriend from the movies, and her adventures as a government secret agent. Think of it as a prequel to Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which leans (heavily) on its connection to the previous Marvel films in order to remind viewers of its relevance. The premiere featured clips all throughout of the Captain America film; Peggy, Cap, Howard Stark (Tony Stark aka Iron Man’s father), etc. This … is not a good thing …

A new show shouldn’t need to resort to such tactics in order to keep us interested. Tie-ins and connectivity has been page 1 of Marvel’s ‘playbook’ since the reboot of the film and television franchise. For Agent Carter, though, it seems to not only be the show’s backbone, but the 2 legs it’s trying to stand on as well.

Prequels carry a heavy burden in that we already know the ultimate outcome of whatever story they are aiming to tell, thus it’s the characters and storytelling itself that are of paramount importance. Unfortunately, Carter’s story and characters are as dry and boring as those in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  and as a period piece that takes place in 1946 NYC, it neglects to make the most of even THAT playground. It references the misogyny and inequality women were subjected to in that era, pretty much every chance it gets, which is important, but … What else? Boring shadowy villainous organization? One-dimensional chauvinistic co-workers and coffee shop patrons? Derivative fight scenes and action sequences? … There’s just nothing here.

The only "new" thing that Agent Carter is offering is the Jarvis character, played by James D’Arcy. He’s Howard Stark’s butler (?) on loan to Peggy Carter as a sidekick, and precursor to Tony Stark’s ‘digital Jarvis’ from the Iron Man films. He’s boring too, but I guess we’re supposed to be excited or care about him or something.

If you like S.H.I.E.L.D. (which I do not), then you will probably like Agent Carter. The mini-series IS only 8 episodes long, so its not a HUGE investment or time-suck if you DO want to stay with it. Personally, I’ll give it another episode or 2 on the slight chance that it will improve, although I’m not holding my breath. The episode DID feature Roxxon Oil Corporation, and it being the 1940’s, it would be the perfect opportunity to turn things up and introduce Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner, but for multiple reasons, in my gut, I know that’s far too much to hope for.

2 Cents. Boom. You owe me change.

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