Spring 2015 Review: Agent Carter

9 Jan

Agent CarterIn short, Agent Carter is a Marvel product through and through, consistent with every film and television property Marvel has put out since Iron Man. Not all Marvel products are equal by any means, but they generally occupy a sector as good, solid action movies, that don’t take enough risks or aren’t quite interesting enough to be truly great, yet compensate for it by being consistently above average for the genre. If that sounds like a backhanded compliment, I don’t mean it as such; just plain good superhero movies and TV shows seem to be shockingly difficult to make, and DC has muffed more than a few (as have other studios with Marvel products – see the Fantastic Four movies). Unlike Gotham, which is ambitious but struggles with its identity, Agent Carter knows what it wants to be straight out of the box, what Marvel specializes in; good old action suspense fare that takes advantage of tie ins with an ever expanding universe of familiar characters and concepts.

Agent Carter, for the uninitiated, was introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America, where she was Cap’s confidant and handler, and she was devastated by his apparent death. In the years following the war, she’s been reduced to a copy girl and secretary in the Strategic Scientific Reserve, a pre-S.H.I.E.L.D. intelligence agency, where the of-their-time misogynistic agents disregard her war service and credentials due to her gender. Frustrated, she is granted a rare opportunity to get back in action when Howard Stark, Tony’s father, recruits her to clear his name – he’s been framed as a traitor due to some of his most deadly technology ending up on the black market. She, believing in Stark and looking to participate in something meaningful again, jumps at the chance. With the assistance of Stark’s butler Jarvis, the namesake of Tony’s robotic assistant, she sets out to find the stolen tech and exonerate Howard Stark.

 

This show isn’t by any means a must watch; it’s not one of those rare brilliant pilots that draws you in, makes you think, or immediately makes you want to put on the next episode. Marvel is good at what it does though, and if you like Marvel’s movies, you’ll probably want to at least give Agent Carter a shot, especially considering it’s a measly eight episode commitment. Star Hayley Atwell is more than capable as Carter and while the show isn’t particularly original or brilliantly written or directed, it’s competent enough, and again, if you like superheroes and comic-book action, like I do, that might be enough, at least until there are so many competent superhero shows out there that we have to start choosing amongst them (that day may not be too long in coming – Netflix has four Marvel shows on the way, and there are three DC shows airing).

I wish I had a more interesting review to write, and more dynamic points to make, but that’s not what Agent Carter gives me. There’s action and adventure, but they follow the usual patterns. You know what this is from the first few minutes, and if that’s the sort of thing you like, you’ll enjoy it well enough, and if it isn’t, there’s really no reason to stick around.

Will I watch it again? Yes, I probably will. Marvel has ensnared with me with their tie-ins and tempted me with their limited runs; I’m not sure I’d sign up for a season of this, but eight episodes I can do in my sleep. It’s not highest priority though, so it could get away from me without me knowing.

 

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