Plot: The Battle of New York has permanently changed the world. Now the existence of superheroes and extraterrestrial beings is known to the general public. Not everyone is able to handle the news either. To combat these supernatural forces, the Strategic Homeland Intervention and Logistics Division (S.H.I.E.L.D.) has put together a team lead by Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) to fight those who mean to harm the public at the ground level.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is currently the third highest grossing film franchise with a whopping $5 billion. It is behind only the Harry Potter and James Bond franchises. With such a rich history at their disposal, is anyone really surprised that a live action series got the greenlight? Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seeks to expand on the Marvel Cinematic Universe by focusing more on the ground level heroes within the organization of S.H.I.E.L.D. and not the big names like Iron Man, Captain America, or Thor. It’s this decision to focus on the non-super heroes that makes S.H.I.E.L.D. one unbelievably amazing show that fits expertly into the still growing Movie Universe.
There is just so much that absolutely works with this newest installment. First off, the characters are all really enjoyable. This goes far beyond the already awesome Phil Coulson too. In the first few minutes of this premiere, we’re introduced to Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) who is essentially the epitome of a badass secret agent. He has the tech, the combat skills, and the espionage knowledge that can even put James Bond to shame. Well, he’s not quite Mr. Bond, but he’s getting there. It’s only when he gets Level 7 clearance that we see that Coulson is alive and we meet the rest of the team. Each member brings their own strengths with Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) being the tech experts and Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) as a skilled driver who can also kick ass. The team later gets Skye (Chloe Bennett) into the mix as a super hacker, though she doesn’t start off as an agent at first. Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) herself makes an appearance too but as more of an overseer and not a field agent. My favorite new characters are easily the duo of Fitz-Simmons but really no one on here is a weak link. Expect these new faces to become stars as they’re all spectacular.
The action and mystery is also a massive highpoint of this show. Seriously, it’s like watching a movie. It has all the excitement of any of the current Marvel films without actually being a major motion picture. Any fan of superhero films, or even action films in general, will find immense enjoyment here. These agents can all kick ass. There is a ton of mystery here too which will keep even die hard Marvel fans thinking. The two biggest questions now are 1.) Who is behind Centipede and 2.) How exactly is Phil Coulson still alive. In regards to the latter, we’re given a quick explanation by Coulson himself that seems to answer what happened with his death in The Avengers, but we quickly learn that’s not the case. Is Coulson a clone? Is he a life model decoy? This is Marvel and I fully expect the answer to be so much better than “He barely escaped death.”
Now I’m sure you’re wondering, “What the hell is that Centipede you just mentioned?” Well I’m glad you asked! Now that the secret of superpowers is out, a secret organization (possibly the introduced Rising Tide) is delivering a means to make even the most normal of person become super powered. As described in the show, Centipede is introduced by a centipede like injector and it’s a mix of the Extremis virus and attempted recreation of the Super Solider serum. For the ill-informed, these were both introduced in Iron Man 3 and Captain America: The First Avenger respectfully. This is easily the primary focus on the show. The premiere episode has the team face against a man named Michael Peterson (J. August Richards) who is rapidly becoming unstable because of the Centipede mixture. They have to stop him before he explodes (like in Iron Man 3!) and ideally by nonviolent means so they don’t orphan his son. Yep, just another day in the life of a top secret S.H.I.E.L.D. agent!
Lastly, what the show does exceptionally well is blend into the already expansive Movie Universe while also being able to exist entirely on its own accord. There are plenty of references to the past films and characters, including the obvious focus on the Battle of to New York to the quick one-liners like Coulson saying Ward’s abilities are on par with Natasha Romanova’s (Black Widow). Yet the real story of the show isn’t directly hinged on what happens within the films. You don’t need to have watched the previous movies to still have a good time with this new series, but it definitely helps. The tone is also uniform with what we saw in the movies. It pays the same attention to both action and humor that have made the Marvel films such an enormous hit.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is Joss Whedon’s first return to television in many years, but it’s obvious this man still knows how to make one amazing program. I’m not sure what kind of ritual Marvel performed to get Whedon so involved with their creations but so far the man has been a total money machine for this company. So much has been done right with this show that you absolutely should not miss out on this. I’m ecstatic that all the hype and publicity have paid off in the end, but I’m sure we all knew it would after The Avengers rocked our movie theaters. There is a lot that can be done with this show both within and outside the movies and I hope it continues on as long as the films are still going (which looks like that’ll be past 2016).