Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fails to impress

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fails to impress

Neelofer Lodhy

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Photo credit: MCT
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Photo credit: MCT

There’s nothing like the feeling of built-up anticipation for a new superhero film. Audiences wait through the strenuous phases of filmmaking to see their favorite superheroes come to life on the big screen. Once they’ve arrived, there’s a feeling of satisfaction and comfort that only a superhero fanatic can understand. With the season premiere of the much anticipated “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division), this was not the case.

Following the massive success of “The Avengers,” the third-highest-grossing film of all time, television network ABC decided to take on the challenge of bringing Marvel’s cinematic universe to the small screen. The pilot episode, which was written and directed by Joss Whedon of “The Avengers” fame, premiered last Tuesday bringing in 11.9 million viewers with an age demographic ranging from 18 to 49.

While the pilot received juggernaut viewership, the Marvel world appeared to struggle in its translation to television. The series follows the return of the resurrected Agent Coulsen (Clark Gregg) who met his demise in “The Avengers” at the hands of Thor’s supervillain sibling, Loki.

Gregg, who has reprised his beloved role in previous Marvel films, returns to the world of superheroes following the attack on New York in which the Avengers fought to save Earth.

This attack removed the veil of the superhero world, making them more knowledgeable in the public eye, which is why S.H.I.E.L.D. continues its journey to find and help vulnerable and potential superheroes and supervillains.

Compared to “The Avengers,” which the pilot made many references to, the show seemed like an unnecessary extension of something that is already well-established on the big screen. If that wasn’t enough of an overkill, aside from the comical-yet-serious Agent Coulson, the team members of S.H.I.E.L.D. came off as overbearing and annoying.

The series kicks off with Mike Peterson (J. August Richards), a laid-off factory worker and single dad who is struggling with his new powers. After saving a young woman from a burning building, Peterson makes a dramatic superhero entrance to onlookers, including his son. However, he is poorly disguised with nothing but a casual hoody to hide his face from the public.

Skye, played by Chloe Bennet, is present while the burning building fiasco occurs, but her curiosity and eagerness to discover the secrets of the unknown come off obnoxious, and the mediocre acting doesn’t help. Bennet isn’t the only one who takes the heat for substandard acting. Her co-star Brett Dalton, who plays agent Grant Ward, came off as stiff, overpowering and overall boring to watch unless placed next to Coulsen.

The cast isn’t a complete loss as Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) compliments Coulsen and has a subtle, yet appealing presence.  Actress Cobie Smulders, best known as the vivacious Robin Scherbotsky on the hit show “How I Met Your Mother,” also brings a gracious appeal alongside Wen and Gregg. Smulders plays a small role as Maria Hill who works alongside Coulsen.

The overall plot was interesting, however it became tiresome having to repeatedly stare at the streets of the Marvel backlot, which contributes to many other shows. This gave an unrealistic feel to the show, even though there were high-tech gadgets, and government planes built like Air Force One. The graphics were seemingly good for standard television, but not up to superhero standards. Of course, the television series most likely doesn’t have a budget as extensive as a film would.

The show will greatly appeal to those engulfed in the Marvel world that need something to hold them over until the next superhero film. For those who can wait to see another Marvel film, keep those Tuesday nights open for something more productive.