Sunday, April 27, 2014

In Defense Of Agents Of SHIELD


The Voice Of Nerd Logic:
In Defense of Marvel's Agents Of SHIELD


It occurs to me recently that the tide of nerd public opinion has changed toward the first live action attempt at a tv series from Marvel Studios in decades, I am speaking ofcourse of Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D, now many things could account for this uptick, the fact the show deals directly with the aftermath of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and infact one episode taking place during the third act of the film, even though you don't see the cast in the film sadly, or that even before that the pace of the series and its storytelling started to pick up speed and, to many, finally feel like a Marvel product, or the fact that they're finally starting to include and mention lots of characters that might not be big headlining names, but are infact key background players more times then not, or any many of other nerd nitpicky reasons for why people disliked the show at its start. Personally, I loved it from the start, and i will continue to do so, and because i seem to be in the minority, i would, if you all don't mind, like to express my reasoning and logic behind my love of the program, instead just bandwagoning.


Now i will be the first to admit, what we got at the start, might not have been what we expected, i am under the understanding that most people believed that they were gonna get a Marvel Studios movie every single week with SHIELD taking down baddies every single week, and though that would have been awesome, I think people got alittle ahead of themselves, i think most people forgot in the context of the movie universe, the whole idea of a superhero is new, or atleast a still emerging thing, Nick Fury will have you believe it was basically Captain America and The Howling Commandos fighting Hydra and The Red Skull back in  World War 2, and then until the appearance of Iron Man, there were really no superheroes to speak of, atleast thats what we're lead to believe, so the idea of superbeings, super science, aliens, all of that is still new and mostly unknown to them, remember, Avengers: Age Of Ultron will be the first time they even out and out say there are mutants, because i can't see them explaining Pietro and Wanda Maximoff and their powers as science projects with out basically giving a middle finger to decades of character history and the fans.


Now, think about that for just a second, we're playing in a universe were superheroes, supervillains, fringe science, mutants, and space travel are all brand new things that no one has really dealt with yet, while to us fans, and viewers, we know of all these things, and wouldn't find it out of the normal for Fury to be sitting down playing poker with Wolverine, Thing and Rocket Raccoon. But rather then jump into that end of the pool, Marvel is slowly easing us into that, think of it like we're at the front of the expansion of the universe back in the 1960s, but just, in movies, not in the comics. It takes time to build a world, you don't just start out and have people with powers fighting in the streets of New York City when you're basically only taking your first few steps.


And in that fact, is one of the reasons i love this show so much, we have time to tell a proper origin story for characters that need a bigger explanation then cosmic rays, radioactive spiders, gamma bombs, or any of the other things that were pretty much ok to glance over in afew pages back in the 1960s, and were eventually expanded on as time went on, we have time to tell a story of how someone came to be, a good example is how the show has brought about their take on Deathlok, a longtime fan favorite character with a very muddled and confusing origin in the comic books, but in SHIELD, which takes place with in the marvel movie universe, they've been able to give you a full flushed out history, where you get to know him and feel the tragic behind him and his story, he's not just a killer cyborg from the future, or a rogue fringe science faction that somehow went wrong, or any of the other many versions of the character their has been, thats truly telling a story, sure its not as nice and neatly packed together as say the first act of most of Marvel's movies are, and some could argue that it took abit to long, but when you look at it as a whole, and you discover that Deathlok was a science experiment turned into another experiment by Hydra, for once actually making the character someone you can feel for, not just "omg half man, half robot, ALL GUNS XTREME!!" like the comics. Maybe they did take alittle long to get to it, but a well flushed out character creation is to me, better then a rush just to get to the action story with no substance, i am looking at you Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World.

 
As for the characters and the writing, which is something else people have complained about to a large degree, as much as i don't want to admit it, you need to write a tv show of this nature with an ease in, meaning you can't just drop people in the middle of post Avengers New York City and toss together all these new characters and expect them to work together with out the tropes that every show about about a group of loners and misfits going on to become an elite force for good have to go through to solidify themselves as a team. So yes, you're gonna get standard issue episodes like, the socially awkward one and the confident one team up and save each other's lives, or where the one that seems to keep their distance from everyone else proves they are the most loyal of all, and the implications that one character is secretly in love with another, or any of the other tropes that us comic book people don't feel we need to see because we know what SHIELD is, and that they are full of more misfits and oddballs then G.I Joe AND Cobra could fathom in their wettest of wet dreams, but what the comic book fans need to understand, this show, to produce and continue, has to be watched by more then just comic book fans, it needs to bring in a larger audience, and by not introducing these characters to the bigger viewership, they won't know who is who and why they need to care for them, and though no one wants to admit, the first half of the season, which was all the trope episodes, had to be done so they could move on, to stories like Sif and Lorelei rumbling hot asguardian chick styley in New Mexico, or finding out who Deathlok is, or who the Clairvoyant is, or all the post Captain America The Winter Solider fall out, all great things that we were able to get to because they had time to happen naturally and not rushed.


As for those who don't like Skye, I submit to you this, no one really likes the "fan window" character, oh sure we got lucky with how awesome Clark Gregg plays Phil Coulson, who was, if you all remember, a fan window character, infact Coulson was a comic book nerd who grew up to work with superheroes, he literally is living the dream all us nerds dream, but i think with how good of a character and how popular he became, people forget for every Coulson, or Jarvis before he was an A.I program, you also have Marvel's original window, Rick Jones, who though they have tried for decades to make interesting, they just couldn't do it, Rick traveled with the Hulk, Captain America, Captain Mar-Vel, Rom The Spaceknight, worked for The Avengers, discovered for like 30 seconds he had something in him called The Destiny Force that he only was able to tap into once, in his over 50 years of character history, and until recently, when he was turned into a hulk like character calling himself A-Bomb, no one honestly cared about him one bit.


So its ok to hate Skye if thats your thing, personally, I don't really see the point, i mean in theory, every superhero or heroes has to have a sidekick or butler or someone that we can see through the eyes of an understand them on a human level, sure its annoying, but it makes for good story, even if she should be kept in the plane and just operate the computers from there instead of going out in the field and sucking at being an agent, but, again, its something you just need to look past and not let it get to you, like outrunning a fireball in a movie, or a bullet stopping once it hits a glass window in a car, or really a stray bullet of any sort not hitting anything, that sort of stuff. Its nothing to be overly critical about, it'll take away from the bigger story, but thats just my way of thinking.


As for the show's lack of villainy, remember, this marvel universe is just starting out, so you need to see the creations of both heroes and villains, they don't just show up, or if they do, we do get some kind of explanation, but think about it, we've seen through this show already, the creation of Blizzard and Graviton, and we've just seen Blackout, the one that uses the darkness dimension not the ghost rider baddie, and they out and out said Blackout has superpowers, oh and we've also thanks to the show seen our first Kree, before Guardians Of The Galaxy even!, so they're slowly bringing building the universe, remember you need to bring in the D and C listers as well as the A and B listers or you won't really have different tiers of characters, so you need to add the Turner D Centurys, Doctor Bongs and Batroc The Leapers, as well as your Red Skulls, Dread Dormamus, and Thanos', its all part of the building, which really, is something people need to understand is something we take for granted I think.

Anyway, thats my take on SHIELD and why in all honestly its alot better then most people are willing to give it a chance. Something for y'all to think about...

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BC


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