Tuesday, 15 September 2015
T.V. REVIEW: AGENT CARTER Season 1
8 Episodes. Starring: Hayley Atwell, James D'Arcy, Chad Michael Murray, Enver Gjokaj, Shea Whigham, Lyndsey Fonseca & Dominic Cooper.
War Is Over! New York, 1946. Captain America may be on ice, but the 'Supreme Headquarters, International Espionage, Law-Enforcement Division' (the 'Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division' to you post 90's, Marvel Cinematic Universe kids) isn't and the number one 'Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D.', who stood by the side of 'The First Avenger' is on the case...with avengance. Suiting up in a skirt and tie to go to 'Civil War' with her fellow small-screen, but big-time 'Agents' and 'Daredevil's' dominant 'Defenders' beginnings, against D.C's 'Justice' T.V. spin-offs like 'Flash', 'Arrow' and of course the Rouge city of 'Gotham'. Months and decades before 'Jessica Jones' gets her Midtown Black Widow on, 'Agent Carter' weaves her web of espionage years before the Cold War to show not only is she a super spy, but Marvel's first female superhero too. But don't call this first class lady with British intelligence, 'Shirley Holmes'! Even if her SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve) agents are putting her on a detail even more degrading and derogatory than desk duty! Milk and sugar? Carter may be British like Caine but this is ridiculous and far from her cup of tea. She's an agent after all...and the best one they've got in classic New York City, captured with cinematic class like 'Gotham' in this Marvel flagship show from the start of the Brooklyn Bridge to the tip of the Empire State Building. What more could this 'City Of Marvel' ask for between Buick's and pre-transistor radios that ham-up some acting and punch-steak sound effects to try and bring back good ole Steve Rodgers to a time where television only existed in the cinema? This here takes it back to an America that is no longer all mom and apple pie and is in need of the Old Glory of it's Cap.
Lacing all this velvet smooth, vintage vibe is our Agent Provocateur, the Woman from S.H.I.E.L.D. in this years 'Man From U.N.C.L.E.' spy movie renaissance fair. Hayley Atwell is just dandy in a Peggy Sue time as Agent Peggy Carter. 'One Shot' wasn't enough, there's more bullets in that purse pistol and after holding her own in the Marvel equivalent of a 'Pixar Short', the lampshade is now pointing the spotlight to a desk marked Atwell as Hayley files her first successful series after her formidable film opening. Adding another comic-book flip re-introduction to Marvel's universe after growing up gracefully in an 'Ant-Man' cameo this year, following the make-up of the seasons of wither in her emotional 'Winter Soldier' appearance. Now with more strands of story to added to a legacy of legend with eight episodes of wonder, all that's left to imagine is whether this Agent will get that dance with Cap? Because with just as much on-screen man hours put in as Rodgers, we can now see why this English Rose is America's best girl. Rolling up her sleeves, she just does it. She's fearless, with plenty moxie and gumption. Even in a world where a trough of male pigs would rather call her toots than 'Agent', or grab her behind, rather than shake her hand. Uncle Sam needs her too...even if he's not pointing her way. I guess the world needs this....then and now. And with Marvel's mainstream mirroring of history and a modern day world, there's more than metaphors the children of this decade can take from this generational show that tells more with life lessons. Peggy Carter is more than a S.H.I.E.L.D. operative....she's an agent of change. A true Avenger and an original. An icon! And in playing her with great character representation, but her own personal depth and distinction, Hayley Atwell gives us her signature role of breakthrough and identity. She'll always be remembered for this. Beyond whatever great parts she plays. Not because of a typecast, but due to being a role model for so many. We just knew there was a reason, one film and a few short stints left us wanting more...and it's not the classic cocktail dresses in disguise or the formidable forties fashion and look...she has more dignity and resolve than that. There's just something about her. Hayley Atwell is Marvel's Hail Mary pass that's a touchdown, knockout or hit from a Brooklyn baseball players bat right out of Dodger stadium. Now just wait until Peg lines up a punch, she could give that devil of the kitchen hell, putting him in his place. Quite frankly and still becoming...she kicks ass.
'Daredevil', 'The Avengers', even the heights of 'Ant-Man' and now this. 2015 has been quite the year for Marvel who can also be credited for 'Big Hero 6' and the 'Fantastic Four' for better or worse in their 'Age of Ultron'. And I bet you thought they where out of this world with last years 'Guardians Of The Galaxy'? Well forget Vol. 2, we're still in 'Phase 2' and before next year gets 'Strange' with all sorts of Doctors and in-fighting like the J.L.A. when they should be battling D.C., it's not over yet. It's all connected, like James D'Arcy playing the original Jarvis, the Alfred Butler to Howard Stark's billionaire fathering of the Batman like Tony Stark. Before Iron Man made J.A.R.V.I.S. the voice...and then Vision of Paul Bettany. That's quite an evolutionary upgrade, more than 'Just a Rather Very Intelligent System’. But even so, before all that Jarvis the man was more than just a mere mortal in English gentleman form. Funny, forthright and standing out with more charisma and posh swagger than a positioned fork, Jarvis has all the best lines like a character that eventually becomes just a voice could only have. James D'Arcy plays it up too, with all the pride his 'Prejudice' name could conjure up. This Mr. D'Arcy is a delight...a new Marvel maverick maestro. Just like Dominic Cooper (who's back here in short but significant helpings that may lead to another course in the green-lit second season (here's hoping)) was when he provided a stark Robert Downey Jnr contrast, with younger, cocksure confidence as Tony's pop Howard, before Stark seniors end with 'Mad Men' actor John Slattery. Another tied up, suited and booted choice. Cop some Grade A detective work, courtesy of the professionalism and respect of the crutch of Enver Gjokaj (is he about to be given a 'Winter Soldier' esque false leg?), a slam-dunk from 'One-Tree Hill's' Chad Michael Murray and classic character actor Shea Whigham too. Stepping in with style for the 'One-Shot' of 'West Wing' wonder Bradley Whitford as a classic chief of scotch and marriage on the rocks with a twist conviction. This cast has it all, even a classic cliche, albeit with sass and class, with an aspiring actress milkshake moonlighting as an American diner waitress in Lyndsey Fonseca's (of 'Hot Tub Time Machine' and 'Kick Ass') cap tipped performance. Now that is just what our leading lady ordered for the best friend role. This all just fits and looks perfect, complete with of course another classic cameo from you know who...and this one polishes the others off with style. Just like the texture and tone of the forties feel of all of this tradition of timeless, vintage quality. Still, nothing in this retro renaissance is as much a revolution as our femme fatale Hayley Atwell and her muse Peggy Carter. There's no denying the value of this woman's worth. Aces! TIM DAVID HARVEY..