Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tahiti is a magical place. Apparently.

Geeky Girl Vickey waxes lyrical on her love of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D...

We're now five episodes into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D so I would like to take the opportunity to share with you all how pantwettinglyexcited I am about theshow and how squee worthy it is to have a certain Phillip J Coulson back.He wormed his way into my heart in the first Iron Man film and hasn't left. I'm glad that Marvel realised what a fan favourite they had on their hands and decided to do more with him. He even got his own Marvel One Shots and spawned an entire fandom all his own. I have a #CoulsonLives wrist band to prove it. I think the secret of Coulson's character was that everyone could identify with him. He comes across as an everyman, somewhat of a nonentity at first glance. Someone who can blend in and go unnoticed. And in the company of superheroes, I think that's how most of us would feel: ordinary. Aside from the fact that underneath all those delicious suits, Coulson could kill you with a paperclip if he wanted, it's the ordinary that fans identified with.

But before I get going on the subject of how much I love Coulson, let me get back to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

First off, I want to say how utterly in love with AoS I am already. It looks amazing, the script was practically vomitingWhedon all over the screen in the pilot episode and I am already loving all the characters. Well, most of the characters - I'll explain later. I've heard a lot of people moaning about how cheesy the ending of the pilot was with Lola being a flying car, but I was paying more attention to The Grey Suit of Sex that Coulson was very rudely flaunting in my face.I, for one, adore the fact that Lola isa flying car.Remember in Captain America when Steve and Bucky saw Howard at the Expo showing off his flying car? OK, so itdidn'twork but you can bet your arse that Lola is going to turn out to be the Mark II. And we all know what afanboy Coulson is so who's to say that he didn't 'acquire' Lola from S.H.I.E.L.D.'s collection of Stark tech that they have stored somewhere? That's the theory I'm going with. It would also be a great tie-in to the rest of the Marvel film universe. After Joss mentioned thatthe TV show is going to link in with the films, what better way to do it than with nods to the films like that?

I thought the pilot was spot on: plenty of action, a tease as to why and how Coulson is back, solid introductions to all the main players and a good smattering of references to the rest of the Marvel film universe. And all done with a more than generous helping of snark. In fact, can we just address the amount of sass that AoShas in only its first episode? I refer back to a previous article of mine about the portrayal of Hawkeye in theAvengersfilm. AoSis textbook Whedon humour, humour that failed to make it to all the characters in Avengers with Clint sadly missingout the most. I'm going to go with the fact thatWhedonsaved up all the sass for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. But the show just goes to prove that he can do it so why doesn't he put it in the films?

I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode although I don't think it was quite as good as the second and third, but a great opener to the series nonetheless. The characters are all pretty text book for the kind of show it is which I find sadly predictable but that doesn't necessarily detract from my enjoyment of watching. My least favourite of the bunch are Skye and Agent Ward. Ward (Brett Dalton) is your stereotypical muscle; the brawn, the man candy. He's a Level 7 S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent and basically Coulson 30 years ago but with less personality. I find the character a little dull if I'm honest. And I can't help thinking that instead of Ward; it should be one Agent Clint Barton in his place. But then, we all know that Clint and Phil are secretly married so that's hardly a surprising thought.

Skye (Chloe Bennet) is another typical character: the quirky, gorgeous computer genius with snarky word vomit. It's also pretty obvious that she's going to become Ward's love interest, yet another predictable and frankly unnecessary plot line. Dull, dull, DULL. At the moment, the pair of them bore me and I'm easily distracted whenever they're both onscreen together. I'm hoping to be proved wrong but I doubt I will.

Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) are adorable. A little predictable and perhaps a teeny bit unbelievable - masters in their fields with multiple doctorates whilst barely being out of puberty. But I like them. I like their excited science babble and their bickering. Maybe it's because they're British, I don't know but I do know that I like them. I can't help thinking that they're both subtle replacements for Banner and Stark, what with their levels of science genius but I enjoy the pair of them on screen and they make me chuckle. Plus, I've been fan of De Caestecker since the much underappreciated and often overlooked BBC Three show, The Fades so I will watch him in anything. Plus, he actually gets to be Scottish in AoS which is an added bonus.

Agent Melina May (Ming-Na Wen) is a most welcome addition to Coulson's motley crew. A field veteran who has handed in her gun in favour of a desk job and she clearly has a history with Agent Coulson as it is often referenced. She doesn't want to be back out in the field but Coulson manages to convince her, the sweet talker, and assures her that she's just there to drive 'The Bus'. Famous last words. You soon learn that there is a lot more to May than meets the eye but was there ever any doubt that she was going to be a total badass? A little predictable? Probably. But who cares? There aren't nearly enough kickass women in TV shows at the moment who are over the age 40.

And then, of course, there is Agent Phillip J. Coulson played by the enigmatic Clark Gregg. The sexiest Agent S.H.I.E.L.D. has. Well, apart from Clint. It's just so good to have Coulson back and with his own show no less. I don't think that Marvel had any idea how popular the character was going to be when they put him in Iron Man but look how far he's come: parts in all the other Marvel films, his own Marvel One Shots, he's been in animated series such as Ultimate Spiderman, in video games, even his own Hot Toys action figure and finally, the comics. One of my favourites is the graphic novel Battle Scars where we find out that he and Fury go way back. And that Coulson's real name is Cheese. I don't think that even Clark was aware of just how popular Agent Coulson was going to be and I'm glad to say he has grabbed it with both hands and seems to revel in the fan's love of the character.

So, that's Coulson's new Super Secret Hit Squad. The purpose of the team seems to be to go after unidentified objects of power, be that actual objects or people. After five episodes, it's fairly obvious that this is going to be a 'Monster of The Week' kind of show which is fine by me. From what I can see, the main story arcs are going to be who is Skye and who is she working for (Romanoff replacement much?) and who or what is Agent Coulson. Is it the Agent Coulson that we've come to know and love or is he something........else? I have several theories so pull up a chair and let me explain.

As I had already predicted before the show aired, we don't get to find out straight off the bat what happened to Coulson and how he's still alive. I'm guessing that they're going to keep teasing us with that one for as long as they can. They may not tell us at all. If that happens, you'll be able to hear me wailing in frustration from 50 miles away before I Hulk out and level Surrey.

Agent Hill gave us a cryptic clue in the pilot with her: "And he can never find out" which doesn't tell us much but it does tell us that Coulson probably doesn't even know what happened to him other that what he's been told. This is where my theories come into play.

Now, in both the first and second episodes when we find out that Coulson was sent to Tahiti to 'recuperate'. Whenever he's asked about the island he replies: "It's a magical place" (may I suggest a drinking game based on that phrase? You'll be absolutely plastered in half an hour). My first theory about this involves Asgard. Was Coulson sent to Asgard to be healed? Or did someone from Thor's home world come to Midgard to heal him? Frigga perhaps? Or even Loki as penance for stabbing him in the first place? It would certainly explain Coulson's repeated phrase of it being magical. Especially as every time he says it, it's with that delicious trade mark quirk of his lips and it would tie in with the rest of the Marvel universe nicely.

My other magical theory is a little out there and involves Doctor Strange. Marvel has confirmed that they will be making a Doctor Strange film in Phase 3 so would it really be that farfetched if he had been healed by Strange? By the way, I'll be most disappointed if Strange isn't played by Rupert Everett when filming gets started.

My last magic based theory is that Coulson is actually The Vision. It's even more farfetched that my Doctor Strange theory, I know, but Marvel is making a Guardians of The Galaxy film which has a talking, gun toting racoon in it so is Coulson being The Vision really that out there? There has been talk of including the character somehow, the front runner being Vin Diesel. But for a character that is entirely human but all his bodily organs are synthetic, it's a teeny bit plausible that Coulson could have been The Vision all along, isn't it?

My final theory is that Coulson is a Life Model Decoy. What I haven't yet decided on is whether the Coulson in Avengers was an LMD or if the Coulson in AoS is. If the latter is the case then the version of Phil in the show will believe whatever he's been programmed to, i.e.: being sent to Tahiti to heal. Stark actually references LMD's at the beginning of Avengers when answering his phone to Phil. Anyone that has been reading Avengers comics for a while knows that Tony has used several LMD's in the past. And for man who can hack into S.H.I.E.L.D's computer system at the drop of a hat, what's to say that the Tony in the Marvel film universe doesn't already know all of Fury's secrets? Life Model Decoys were created by S.H.I.E.L.D, the first of which was a Nick Fury LMD so the Director is no stranger to them. And what a perfect way to action his plan in the Avengers? The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that the Phil in the Avengers was an LMD. Fury got to galvanise his team of wayward superheroes as well as not having to risk the life of his best friend Cheese.

All those theories aside, I am loving Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It's fun, it's sassy, it's got Whedon written all over it and it's on my telly box every Friday. And with the fabulous news that the show has been granted another nine episodes in this first series, it means that I get to have a little slice of Marvel directly into my eyeballs on a weekly basis. Yes it's a bit silly (Phil, did you really need to wear your suit for a beach landing in a dingy?!) and yes, it's more than a little predictable. But its another extension of my beloved Marvel universe and lets me escape into it for an hour once a week with one of my favourite characters so I'm a very happy fanwoman indeed.

And did I mention the Grey Suit of Sex?
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