I saw Captain America on Thursday. It was amazing. I loved it.
Afterwards, I was walking home with my friend, Joe, munching on my popcorn refill as we went over what everything in The Winter Soldier meant for our heroes on ABC’s Agents of SHIELD because shit was going to go down. There is no SHIELD, only Hydra.
Every five steps, I’d say, “Sooooo good,” to the point where everyone on Hollywood Blvd. thinks I have some sort of weird popcorn fetish.
Anyway, I could not wait until Tuesday. I wanted to know. I had to know. What was going to happen to Coulson? What was going to happen to a show centered on an organization that has just been destroyed internally? I’m so excited.
And, then I read a bad review for Tuesday’s episode.
Mind, I don’t make it a habit to read bad reviews just as I don’t make it a habit to write them. Unfortunately, this bad review was deceivingly titled. I honestly thought I was going to find some viewership numbers, because I wanted to know if there was a Captain America bump for the show. Instead, I was treated to a rant about how the show isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do and is merely surviving on thin thread tie-ins to blockbuster films.
I am not going to say that Agents of SHIELD started out as strong as it could have. It started to lose me. Then, I saw episode 6, which I still will argue is one of the best episodes of the season. It finally pulled in the non-Clark Gregg/Ming-Na characters to give them a stronger arc and finally show what they are made of. I want to see more of the team dynamic. I want to see more of the relationships. This episode did that beautifully while illustrating what being a member of SHIELD means to Coulson’s team.
But, even with my own questions and flagging confidence, Jeph Loeb put out one last call to the fans at PaleyFest.
And, I do.
Agents of SHIELD is not about the Avengers. It’s not about Nick Fury. It’s not about Maria Hill (though if they can pull her in, I would be ecstatic.)
Agents of SHIELD is about the non-superpowered in a world of people and organizations that are. It’s about the grunts. It’s about the people that don’t get to know everything. It’s about people with limitations in a world full of impossibilities.
At this moment in time, I think people are too focused on trying to make Agents of SHIELD what it isn’t. It’s not about pulling in all the superheroes not big enough to have their own movie. It’s not about answering all the questions that were raised in the movies. No one is defined by what they aren’t, they’re defined by what they are.
Science fiction is an iceberg medium. You only get to see a little bit without being privy to the immensity of the whole. The Avenger-universe movies are a piece of that iceberg. The TV show is giving us a glimpse of a different side and every once in awhile gives us the wink-nudge reminder that it’s still part of the same iceberg.
You can’t be upset that you aren’t seeing the whole iceberg.
If you want to choose to just watch the movies, go for it. But, for me, having the show is giving me a richer experience of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
I love seeing glimpses of this iceberg. I love knowing that there’s so much more out there. I have never been this much of a fangirl, getting so excited to see the rest of the season, conjecturing as to who is which Marvel character, squeeing over Easter eggs, and laughing out loud when Coulson says, “Booyah.”
Maybe this is how all those Firefly fans felt…
It’s been 72 hours. You’ve all seen Thor: The Dark World, right?
Good. Because I’m talking about it. With spoilers, so turn back now.
But, first, it was a good movie. I enjoyed it a lot. You should definitely see it and not just for the hunk with the hammer. (more…)
You know what I love?
My Hulk Hands.
I know. It’s a weird, mysterious love for something that’s a toy. Something dumb and ridiculous, but still amazing. So, let me tell you a story.
Hulk Hands came out with the first (not quite excellent) Hulk movie. Massive foam-rubber fists that went up to about mid-forearm and made noise when you hit things. You know the ones.
At the time, I was young(er). I didn’t have much disposable income, as most of my money went (and still goes) toward books, and begging my parents was really not an option. But, these Hulk Hands were such a Thing of Want, I had to force myself to stay out of the toy aisle. They made my Christmas list, but Santa declined.
When I heard of the new(er) Hulk movie, my heart leapt. There were bound to be tie-in Hulk Hands and now I was old(er) and could drive myself to Target and had my own job and my own money to throw at whatever I deemed worthy. But, what I got was disappointment.
Really? Padded? I was so sad. I couldn’t even…argh. Not foam rubber at all. These were like Stuffed Animal-Hulk Hands. Where were the veins? Why didn’t they look all muscley? Despite my wanting-hunger-pains, I couldn’t bring myself to purchase these…travesties.
Then, Avengers came out. A cardboard Hulk hung from the ceiling, guiding the children (and I) to the toy aisle, promising a glut of superheroics. I followed the decal foot stomps to the back section.
And they were there. One last pair of Hulk Hands. I stared at them. They stared at me. I took a picture of them. I glanced up and down the aisle because I had to TELL someone. I wanted to run through Target and tell everyone that I had found a pair of Hulk Hands. Because they were foam rubber. And green. And muscley. And there were veins.
It was so strange. This thing that I had wanted for 8 years was finally within my reach. Those years of not having it didn’t lessen the want, this burning desire for something as trivial as foam rubber fists. I hadn’t assigned any significant meaning to them. I had no attachment to the Hulk, more than a general enthusiasm for all things Marvel. I wasn’t going through something when I first started wanting them.
I know everyone says that material things can’t make you happy, but, guys, my Hulk Hands make me happy. They make me really happy. When I’m said, I put them on and just wear them around the house. I bang them together like a boxer getting ready for a bout. You can’t cry when you’re wearing Hulk Hands.
Perhaps there is some greater meaning behind my Hulk Hands. I mean, we all like to get what we want, right?
But, then again, they’re only toys.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of The Avengers. After Hulk smash puny wizard by knocking Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II from the top spot for domestic grossing opening weekend, The Avengers is headed for another record breaking weekend. The second weekend will be in the $95-105 million range pummeling current record holder Avatar, which earned $75.6 million in its second weekend.
No film has ever done it faster.
A moneymaker does not an Academy Award make, but Writer/Director Joss Whedon deserves a nod all the same. For at least three categories, including Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Picture, here’s why I nominate Joss Whedon for the Academy Award.
BUT BE YE WARNED, THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD
1. He made the Hulk work.
When most people walked out of Avengers, the name playing across their lips wasn’t Stark or Loki. It was Hulk. Whedon installed a personality upgrade to the big green rage monster. Hulk wasn’t just fueled by the most brutal of human emotions, which seemed to be the trend of the Hulk’s previous two films, Mark Ruffalo’s CGI monster has a sense of humor.
There’s even a moment when he saves Iron Man’s life and practically shouts him back from the dead. There was plenty of concern pre-release on what role man’s bestial nature would play and if Whedon and Ruffalo could pull it off. They did.
2. He got that cast to make that movie
Let’s crunch some numbers.
Gwyneth Paltrow – Winner Academy Award Best Actress, 1999
Robert Downey Jr – Academy Award Nomination for Best Actor, 1992; Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor, 2009
Mark Ruffalo – Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor, 2011
Jeremy Renner – Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor, 2011; Academy Award Nomination for Best Actor, 2010
Samuel L. Jackson – Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor, 1995
That’s six noms, 1 win.
If you’re judged by the company you keep, the Avengers is a pretty good crowd to hang around.
What’s even more impressive: find any interview featuring more than one Avenger and you might get an idea of what it was like to work with these guys day to day. They are impressive. They are hilarious. It’s remarkable they got any work done at all. But, you can tell from the linked interview that Joss Whedon can take control and command the personalities.