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Saturday, November 23, 2013

Initial Impression On Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Note:After watching the show for a while, I've felt more and more conflicted about this review. I have decided instead of deleting or editing it, I will leave it up as an initial impression and possibly post another review later.

Another note:My second review is now up.

Premise:Members of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division band together to investigate strange happenings.

Cast:Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson, Brett Dalton as Grant Ward, Chloe Bennet as Skye, Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May, Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz, Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons

Genres:Sci-fi, fantasy, action, drama

Notes:Takes place after the events of the Phase One Marvel films. Poster taken from Rotten Tomatoes and belongs to ABC.

Pros:A cool plane and technology. The third episode's BAM! Did you see that? ending. The Thor:The Dark World tie-in episodes.

Cons:Flat characters and storylines. Mediocre acting. Needs more super-powered people.

During the alien attack on New York, Agent Phil Coulson died in action... or did he? Meanwhile, Grant Ward, a highly trained agent who sticks close to protocol has been brought in. He often takes issue with non-agent Skye, a hacktivist who starts out as S.H.I.E.L.D.'s enemy. I've little doubt they'll end up a couple. Completing their team are Melinda May, who's annoyed about being brought out of retirement, and Fitz-Simmons, a pair of enthusiastic young scientists.

If you're expecting a lot of superpowers, don't hold your breath. A couple have shown up, but the focus seems to be mostly on dangerous and unusual technology. That's unfortunate, because the episodes centered on "gifted" individuals tend to be more interesting.

None of the characters are particularly compelling, at least at first. Specifically, Agent May just seems like an angrier version of Black Widow. Fitz-Simmons don't do much besides spout a lot of technobabble and beam when something cool happens. The acting does little to make it better.

Another thing:This show cheapens a key emotional point in The Avengers. Phil Coulson should be dead. That blade went through his heart. Yeah, he was fun, but he had his time. Bringing him back wasn't needed.

They also seem to be making S.H.I.E.L.D. the bad guy here. I don't understand this. I know S.H.I.E.L.D.'s a shady organization. So should the people entering into it. It makes some sense that Skye wouldn't like it, but why on earth would Coulson get upset that they're keeping secrets?

It does get better, but I still wouldn't recommend it unless you're a hardcore fan.

Sex:Characters makes awkward double entendres and references. Women wear low-cut tops and tight bodysuits. A couple removes their clothes and have sex. You can see the man shirtless and the woman in her underwear after the fact. In a different instance, a man and a woman begin a sexual relationship.

Violence:Standard for this kind of show. There are gun fights, explosions, hostage situations, etc. Coulson often talks about his "fatal" encounter with Loki. Wild tech causes accidents and of course, death. Ward's backstory involves physical abuse from his brother. Fitz-Simmons remove someone's eyeball. A tube is placed inside a man's nose.
On this show, you can't seem to have superpowers and be in your right mind. A man attacks his former boss. A couple people have been burned alive (which is kind of graphic). People explode. A woman jumps from a plane with the intention of killing herself. A man gets stabbed through the chest, complete with blood. Coulson sticks his hand inside the body, with more blood. Ecetera.

Language:G*d, b**ch, b**tard, h*ll, a**, d**n, etc.

Drugs and Alcohol:The pilot deals with technology that acts as a kind of steroid. People drink alcoholic beverages. Scenes have taken place in bars.

Spiritual:Early on, a superhero says:"There's men. And then there's gods What does that make [people like me]? Their giants." The Asgardians (aliens mistaken by humans for gods) are talked about. Religious icons appear in the background. Coulson talks about his brief death experience. In one episode, a woman believes God is punishing her by sending demons to torment her. Skye talks about God, admitting she doesn't really believe in him. The nuns at the foster kids' home she grew up in would frighten children with stories of God's wrath. She says what she remembers is one saying God is love. Skye likes it, even when admitting it's sappy.

So what did you think? Do you like it? Or do you wish you could shield yourself from it?

© 2013 by M.R.R.

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