Wednesday, 8 June 2016
T.V. REVIEW: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3
22 Episodes. Starring: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Henry Simmons, Nick Blood, Adrianne Palicki, Luke Mitchell & Brett Dalton. Creator: Joss Whedon.
Uncivil wars rage between different fanctions of Avengers with blockbuster stakes. Yet the Marvel 'Agents' that stand behind Captain America's shield work in the shadows. But boy do they work Cap! So far as Season 3 of the 'Agents of Strategic, Homeland, Intervention, Enforcement, Logistics, Division' clocks out, these heroes have logged in excess of 50 hours of company time on screen. That's more than any comic book superhero in this force of a franchises upcoming third phase. That's even more than Samuel L. Jackson's director Nick Fury. Or even the Avenger that really assembled it all to begin with, Robert Downey Jr's 'Iron Man'. Tony Stark who co-headlined the latest 'Captain America' mega movie, battling with Chris Evans' Steve Rogers and even is set to make a cameo in Tom Holland's Spider-Man's Marvel 'Homecoming'. Only Netflix's 'Defenders' of a two seasoned 'Daredevil', 'Jessica Jones' and a forthcoming 'Luke Cage' and 'Iron Fist' could come close to contesting these champions. As Stan Lee's team with the biggest silver screen film of the year (forget an 'Apocalypse') continues it's small screen dominance, despite D.C.'s 'Flash', 'Arrow' and 'Gotham-Rise Of The Villains'. Expanding their range like Steven Strange and those Galaxy Guardians. It's just a shame the vintage, original 'Agent Carter' (Save Peggy...lets hash-tag it) is out of service after two runs. Because it seems like these 'Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. just can't die like Agent Caulson.
Loki's Septre may have impailed him to the tune of a classic Chris Hemsworth yell of "NOOOOOO"! But is seems like 'The Avengers' scene stealing Agent Caulson is as invincible as his team. After series creator Joss Whedon resurrected him for this show that seemingly can even survive 'The Winter Soldier' fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. But as it's all connected can they withstand Hydra's hail and all that falls with the storm? It seems like Clark Gregg's fan favourite Caulson can. After being lobbied by fan boys and girls alike to return with Avengance, the man would give his right arm for S.H.I.E.L.D. So how about a hand? As Season 2 ended with his being axe ground, chopped off to save his life by a fellow team member. We told you he could survive anything! Now the gnarly new director is looking for a new appendage, modelling all sorts of hands like Joey Tribianni. Even a black gloved looking one that looks like he's about to audition for 'The People vs O.J. Simpson'. But no Winter Soldier metal or Wakandan vibraniuum... hey at least he can still deal those Captain America trading cards. Gregg keeps his character in mint condition however...despite the more than slight foxing round the edges that results from the tragedy and turmoil that comes with all this seasons time and tide. Twists and turns that include their own registration, political powers, Bond meets Bourne like undercover spy work and hand-to-hand set pieces of real supremacy. An emotional finale fit for 'The First Avenger' in reverse. And even a shot to the gut spies goodbye that just may be the most beautiful, goosebump and tear inducing moment Marvel-let alone this show-have ever done. You just have to raise your glass to it.
Not to mention the rise of the Inhumans that are born here and not in the unfairly shelved/planned movie that will finally introduce us to the sonic boom of Black Bolt and the Inhuman franchise that joins the universe of Marvel's Avengers, X-Men, Guardians Of The Galaxy and Fantastic Four families. And it's the real franchise face of this show Chloe Bennett who gives us the Inhuman touch with her Daisy character in bloom. Bringing the supernatural and humanity to a character that is like the Avengers Black Widow with more in her web of former hacker tricks. Still if you want a Widow with more bite than how about Ming Na-Wen's stern approach (you'll only ever see her smile on Instagram) in lashings? As the former 'E.R.' star sends everyone way past the emergency room...better roll out the gurney. Administer a double helping of Fitzsimmons in the 'science friends zone', will they or won't they of Scots Elizabeth Hendstridge and Iain De Caestecker with new agents Nick Blood and 'John Wick' assassin Adrianne Palicki and you have Marvels most wanted (make it happen). Beef that mixture up with the axe blunderbuss, bayonet wielding, Luke Cage built, scene stealing Henry Simmons (perhaps the best thing about this show) in the frame with an electrifying Luke Mitchell serving as an off the bench spark plug and the team is complete. Now ex-agent Brett Dalton is the perfect friend turned enemy for this squad. Not many people are hash-tagging 'Team Ward', but don't take Grant for granted. He is a hive of double agent like bag guy metamorphis in this Matrix. Halfway between an Agent Smith and a Neo gone rogue. But when it comes to legendary Marvel villains in this universe is he the chosen one? All these superheroes and Inhumans taking this Civil War to infinity are really expanding this Marvel universe in a galaxy of its own already. Adding big name guest stars like John Hannah and Powers Boothe (whose voice is to villains what Morgan Freeman's is to narration) after the likes of the out of the picture Bill Pullman and the 'Blindspot' commitment of Jamie Alexander's recurring Lady Sif and so many Easter Eggs (even a flame chain of a 'Ghost Rider' reference) and everything really is connected here. Now all we need is Cobie Smulders' Agent Hill on full-time duty-we know how we met her mother already-and this show will be set. With that said then will you be ready to go forth to the fourth season and phase? Because Marvel don't just live and die by the shield of the Avengers. Expect these Agents to bring more change too. TIM DAVID HARVEY.