When The Hollywood Reporter goes to review ABC‘s and Marvel‘s Agents of SHIELD they don’t simply assign it to some intern or staff writer, they go ahead and ask Jim Steranko; renowned comic book artist and part of the creative team for the original Nick Fury. Y’know, no big deal. (Jeez, what a bunch of show offs!)
Anyway, for obvious reasons Steranko knows what he’s talking about when it comes to SHIELD, but how does his opinion of Agents of SHIELD‘s pilot measure up with everyone else’s? (Like ours, found right over here.) Well… let’s just say Steranko ain’t impressed. He mentions his expectations were high, like all of ours were, and that because of this SHIELD didn’t deliver on what films like The Avengers promised.
Here’s just a snippet of his critique,
The pilot assumes the audience is cognizant of the Marvel Universe as it regales viewers with a salvo of references established previously in big-screen efforts. Granted, Avengers may be the third-highest-grossing flick of all time, but recalling the details of last year’s favorite may be too much to expect above the fanboy level.
One of the pitfalls of multicharacter epics with multiple storylines is juggling each to dramatic satisfaction, and Whedon has been successful at it. But AoS’s four major focuses — the Coulson story, the Agent Grant Ward story, the Skye story, the Hooded Hero story — result in a lack of unified focus that seriously undercuts the series’ opener. Any of them could have shouldered the hour effectively, yet, in this case, giving each equal gravitas serves only to diffuse viewer involvement. (Who in hell am I supposed to root for?)
Additionally, the pilot was riddled with inscrutable, distracting moments. Did anyone notice all the women were cookie-cuttered, dressed the same, looked the same, had the same kind of edge (possibly more than their male counterparts)? In the Act 1 apartment fight scene (orchestrated in the Bourne manner), could anyone determine who was doing what to whom (all those black suits)? Anyone wonder how the superpowered Hooded Hero could be so easily tailed (perhaps for days) by hot babe Skye? And why didn’t the S.H.I.E.L.D. interrogators at least get her last name, not to mention her phone number?
Could anyone understand the dialogue delivered by the S.H.I.E.L.D. lab team? Did anyone feel punted into P.C.-ville by the Hooded Hero being black? And did we really need the rampant, dueling ideologies at the pilot’s denouement? We all understand melodrama has its conveniences, contrivances and coincidences, but it doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect a certain transcendence with the kind of creative talent behind the series.
Yikes! That’s borderline scathing. Steranko also laments the lack of a Fury cameo, or even a phone call, adding that Fury (especially Samuel L. Jackson’s performance) is what adds gravitas to SHIELD. Agree or not, the man makes very good points and critiques, do go read the whole review.
I’ll admit I enjoyed the hell out of SHIELD for its humor and clear Whedon touch. The plot was predictable, and they’re going to have to work very hard to get me to give a damn about Skye and Agent Ward. That being said, I simply adore Clark Gregg’s Coulson and just want more! Which this series gives me. And while expectations were high I made sure I kept in mind I watching a pilot, and those are rarely perfect.
What do you think? Do you agree with Steranko’s appraisal?
Source: THR via Blastr