It’s been awhile since Marvel characters have graced TV screens in a live action tv series — there have been blockbuster films & plenty of cartoons, but now “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” will give Marvel fans a live action glimpse at the men and women that work as secret agents protecting and also managing the plethora of super heroes on Earth.
Leading this green-lighted ABC series is a familiar face from “Iron Man” films and “The Avengers”: Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). This is welcome news for fans as the character has always been a favorite, but it also begs the question, how did Coulson come back to life after his apparent death in The Avengers? No, this show isn’t a prequel, but as it is set in this comic book universe, this is a mystery that already has us eagerly anticipating the show.
Here’s the official summary from ABC regarding the show: “Clark Gregg reprises his role of Agent Phil Coulson from Marvel’s feature films, as he assembles a small, highly select group of Agents from the worldwide law-enforcement organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D. Together they investigate the new, the strange and the unknown around the globe, protecting the ordinary from the extraordinary. Coulson’s team consists of Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), highly trained in combat and espionage; Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), expert pilot and martial artist; Agent Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), brilliant engineer; and Agent Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), genius bio-chemist. Joining them on their journey into mystery is new recruit and computer hacker Skye (Chloe Bennet).”
“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” is the brain child of “The Avengers” director, Joss Whedon, so you can also expect some set up and tie-in to “The Avengers 2.”
Here’s the official trailer for “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” the new ABC series airing Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET in Fall 2013:
Things are looking pretty bleak for Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) in the third installment of the Iron Man franchise. Little is known about the plot at this time, but rumor is he’ll be facing off against Mandarin. In the first trailer, we also see Tony fighting off his own Iron man suits.
Looks pretty grim for the hero in this “Avengers” follow-up…although, at least he has some giant bunny for comfort (about 1 minute in to the trailer – can anyone explain that?).
“The Avengers” is already set to be one of the summer’s biggest blockbusters and it’s easy to understand why. Superhero films already do well at the box office and this one has an outstanding cast with more Academy Award winners than any other film of its genre. It’s also helmed by a worshiped (though polarizing for some) director. Most importantly, this is a film that we’ve basically been watching two hour-long trailers for since 2008. Yet as excited as many are, “The Avengers” is a bit of an overwhelming prospect for some average moviegoers. So you haven’t seen all the other Marvel movies leading up to this film and you haven’t read the comics. Will you still enjoy this film? The answer is yes, but it might help to do a little brushing up on these heroes before hitting the theater. That’s why we’ve put together this handy article to help you learn about the characters and movies leading up to this film and their end scene teasers. Here’s a guide to how Thor fits in.
If you’re somewhat familiar with Norse mythology, you probably know a bit about “Thor.” The comic book character’s story is fairly similar to his mythological counterpart’s. True to mythology, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) lives in Asgard. He is the God of Thunder and the son of Odin. He wields a mighty hammer, known as Mjolnir. As the son of Odin, he is poised to rule the realm after his father. Thor’s brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), is known as a trickster (a trait which is important in “The Avengers”). As a god, Thor is a bit arrogant, his father knows this to be a flaw for an aspiring ruler, so after Thor slips up and opens war on the Ice Giants, an old enemy of the Asgardians, Odin decides to teach his son a lesson in humility. He strips Thor of his power and banishes him to Earth. When he does this, he also throws Thor’s hammer down to our planet, binding it with the magical rule that only the worthy will be able to lift the hammer and have the power of Thor.
On Earth, Thor encounters a team of scientists, which includes Jane Foster (Natalie Portman and Dr. Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard). These humans find Thor to be a crazy man, rather than the god he is and we’re then provided with a hilarious sequence where Thor gets his ego knocked down quite a few notches. Over at the crash site of his hammer, some redneck humans have turned trying to lift it into a bit of a contest…that is until the government group S.H.I.E.L.D. arrives and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Agent Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) work on trying to free the hammer from the Earth. When Thor gets wind of where his beloved hammer is, he goes barging into the site, fighting his way past many government agents to retrieve it and his hammer. Much to his devastation, he is not yet deemed worthy enough to wield and resigns himself to capture by the government. While in captivity, his brother, Loki appears to him and lies to Thor saying Odin has died and Loki has become king in the aftermath. Loki also tells Thor that their mother blames Thor for Odin’s death and he will not be allowed to return. Loki has been struggling with his own inner demons after recently learning that he is adopted from the Ice Giants. Since Loki is a trickster and liar he hatches this crazy plot to break Thor and ensure the Asgard throne remains his. Poor, trusting Thor is further devastated and humbled by Loki’s visit and upon being freed from the government, he has resigned himself to life on Earth. Meanwhile, we learn that Loki continues his schemes and is now plotting with the Ice Giants. Fortunately, some of Thor’s Asgard friends know that something suspicious is up, so they sneak off to Earth to try to get Thor to return. Enraged, Loki sends a robot-like creature to take out the currently mortal Thor. What Loki doesn’t forsee is Thor sacrificing himself to save all his friends. It is in this moment that Thor is finally worthy enough to wield his hammer and Mjolnir returns to him along with his godly powers. He makes a quick example of the robot-like creature and before Agent Coulson has a minute to spit out an invite to “The Avengers,” Thor’s rushing back to Asgard to save his people. Loki and him clash, and in yet another sacrifice, Thor breaks the bridge to his beloved Earth to stop Loki from destroying worlds. Loki seems to fall to his death. Thor returns to his father and is made ruler of Asgard, but our hero is saddened by his separation from Earth. Though we know he’s to return in “The Avengers,” this film ends without a clear path back for our hero.
There is an end credits scene that reveals Dr. Selvig working with S.H.I.E.L.D. It also shows that not only has Loki survived, but he has already begun his next manipulative plot. Thor’s jealous brother is set to return in “The Avengers” to continue his manipulative tricks and to best his brother.
Uniform: Shirtless? Jk, I wish that was his uniform. For the most part, Thor’s uniform in the films is a chain mail-based outfit with a red cape (very medieval/old timey). His main accessory is his mighty hammer, Mjolnir.
Key Powers: He’s a god, so he has the immortality thing going for him, not to mention he’s specifically the God of Thunder, so he can do some impressive things with lightning and thunder. Also, he’s incredible strong – even among his own people. A lot of his key powers though come from his formidable hammer, Mjolnir. When wielded by Thor, the the thing is practically unstoppable once in motion. He can even use it to fly. Only one worthy of his power can wield this hammer, so even the mighty Hulk can’t lift it. Oh, and I’m pretty sure his abs are a super power. Those abs can make all the ladies melt like butter.
Weaknesses: Like Iron Man, Thor can be a bit arrogant (he is a god, after all). As a non-human, he can lack empathy. Also, since he isn’t from Earth, he’s not the most dependable – you can’t ever be sure he’ll show up when you need him to. Also, if you take away his godly powers, he’s just an average buff guy that’s fairly easy to beat (but you’d have to get his dad to help you take those powers away).
The Avengers Tie-ins (this is not definitive, but shares some key notes): The main tie-in here is a big one: Loki. Thor’s brother, Loki, is the main antagonist in “The Avengers” film, so though the “Thor” film is supposedly all about Thor, it’s really a big villain origin story to set up “The Avengers.” “The Avengers” does reference their brother relationship and the fact that Loki is adopted from a race called “The Ice Giants.” You’ll also hear references to the rainbow bridge, Bifrost Bridge, and plenty of references to the Tesseract in “The Avengers.” “Thor” also introduces Agent Barton, better known as “Hawkeye” in “The Avengers.” Hawkeye is the world’s best archer and he is the only other Avenger aside from Black Widow not to currently have his own movie. A few other characters from “Thor” have parts in “The Avengers” as well. Agent Coulson (who also had a big role in the “Iron Man” films) is helping with the government operation in “Thor.” And one of Thor’s earth friends, scientist Dr. Erik Selvig, plays a pivotal role in “The Avengers.” Thor’s love interest, Jane Foster, though not present, is addressed in “The Avengers” as well. “Thor” also has one of those wonderful credit teaser scenes in which Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) talks to Dr. Selvig about the Tesseract (which we’ve also seen as part of the plot in “Captain America” and briefly referenced in “Iron Man 2″). “Iron Man 2″ crosses back to “Thor” during its end credits scene, which reveals Agent Coulson discovering Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. “Thor” also alludes to “Iron Man” when its robot-like villain creature is questioned by a government agent as “is it one of Stark’s?” The agent thought maybe it was another of Stark’s Iron Man spin-off designs. “Captain America” loosely reference’s “Thor” by describing the Tesseract as “the jewel of Odin’s treasure room.” Even though on Thor’s world his time is well before any of the other Avengers were even born, his time on Earth takes place after most of the others, so he has fewer references to the other movies, but it’s also why so many of his allusions are simply to the upcoming “The Avengers.”
Stan Lee Appearance: This is a little Easter Egg in many of the Marvel movies. Stan Lee, a primary creator of many of these characters in the Marvel-verse, likes to make little cameos in the films. In “Thor,” Stan Lee has a cameo as a pick-up driver during a scene where the locals try to lift Thor’s hammer.
Before we begin: “Do you two…[searches for words]…fondue?” Captain America naively asks his love interest, Agent Peggy Carter, about her relationship with Howard Stark. Steven Rogers, aka Captain America, has never had much experience with the ladies as is evident by his failed and (at first) awkward interactions with them in the film, and I can relate to him because I do not have much knowledge of Captain America prior to the movie. So die-hard comic and 1979 TV Captain America fans, do not come after me with this patriotic shield, this is strictly a movie review.
It is a universal fact that America is awesome at summer blockbusters and Captain America does not fail. Director Joe Johnston (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids; Jumanji; The Wolfman) has given us the quintessential feel good summer hit, jam packed with explosions, evil and leaving us wanting more.
We start in in the remote, arctic land where the government has made a discovery, something patriotic frozen in the ice. Or, if you attended the theater I was in, you thought you were watching the first few moments of a nuclear fall out because everything was pink and green and who knew 3D glasses were supposed to be like that! Oh, wait, they don’t know how to work the projector, just kidding. ANYWAY, immediate flash back, WWII is underway and we get our first glimpse of evil, no, not Hitler (so cliche) but of Johann Schmidt/Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) searching for a hidden energy source from the gods. On the other side of the pond, we see our future hero, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans aka hubba hubba), a tiny, digitally emaciated-man attempting to join the army in order to serve his country in the midst of the war. However, the army doesn’t like little people (sorry, Peter Dinkledge, wrong era), but Mr. Rogers keeps attempting to join, because for what he lacks in muscle he makes up in heart.
That is until Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) comes along and changes his life forever. Side note, I’m pretty sure I enjoy Stanley Tucci play any character, ever. Even with a semi-ridiculous German accent. Stanley Tucci for president.
ANYWAY, Dr. Erkskine has some science going on up in this, and he has a plan to invent the next super soldier in the fight against Hitler and Schmidt but he needs the perfect candidate to try it out on and who better than the boy with the golden ticket, I mean heart. With Dr. Erkskine’s help, Steve Rogers goes from this:
And now the real fun begins. Steve Rogers is transformed from little buddy always willing to fight the bullies to stud muffin selling some bail bonds to war hero saving the day as our Captain America.
Director Joe Johnston keeps up the pace by his use of oh-so-subtle movie montages and a tight script to keep the audience engaged while also not taking itself too seriously. Shot in a manner recalling the war films of the decade its set, Captain America strives not to make it so much about nationalistic pride, but about the golden rule of using your super science power for good and not for evil. With fun supporting characters (Tommy Lee Jones hams it up a bit and they definitely could have used more Tucci) and a strong female lead (Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter knows how to kiss with a fist if you know what I mean, zing!) this fun movie thrives in light-hearted charm and action. While the few quibbles one would have don’t really hold the movie back (we get it, you don’t have to repeat the memorable quotes over and over and sometimes, the evil guys will have guns that evaporate you and sometimes, they just have a knife and will cut you the good, old fashioned way) I can not tell you whether or not it stays true to the comic, but if you’re a newbie like me, do not fear about missing out on all the references, it’s still an enjoyable ride, even in 3D.
Be among the first people in your area to see “Captain America: The First Avenger.”
Just send an e-mail with the subject line captain america to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, July 18th for a chance to win a pass for two to see an advanced screening on 7/20 at 7:30 p.m.
“Captain America: The First Avenger” will focus on the early days of the Marvel Universe when Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) volunteers to participate in an experimental program that turns him into the Super Soldier known as Captain America. As Captain America, Rogers joins forces with Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) to wage war on the evil HYDRA organization, led by the villainous Red Skull (Hugo Weaving.)
The film has a public wide release of Friday, July 22. Don’t miss out on a chance to see it early!