Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD
Out of work spy? Need a job? Send your CVs to Agent Coulson…
As season two kicks off, Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD may not yet be the small screen Avengers most viewers were expecting, but it’s also a long way from the cheesy A- Team meets Torchwood low- rent thrills that typified many of the earlier episodes.
The show had to reinvent itself following the fall- out from The Winter Soldier, and the new season opens with a rump SHIELD trying to rebuild itself in secret. It’s a dynamic that’s brought out the best in the show and its characters, especially Coulson, whose smugness has been leavened by a whiff of desperation.
The central team now feels like a much more engaging, intriguing and believable bunch of characters, even though they’re all in a darker place. Fitz’s breakdown has resulted in a bravura performance from Iain de Caestecker; Ward is far more interesting now he’s gone all Hannibal Lecter; and Skye isn’t just the “sassy hacker” any more.
It’s good to see Trip moving more centre stage and newbie technician MacKenzie adding to the multicultural mix ( the show was a bit white and middle class to begin with) but they could both do with meatier storylines. Instead, another newbie, Hunter, is grabbing all the airtime as “generic cheeky chappie Brit” whose job offer from Coulson appears purely based on his winning grin. Jury’s out there.
With baddies like Crusher Creed ( the Absorbing Man) and Donnie Gill ( evil Iceman) providing the kind of eye popping superpowered threat too often missing from season one, some great action sequences and plots that twist and turn like an entire season of The X- Files in the space of 45 minutes, the show seems to have found a new confidence.
But Agents of SHIELD remains too overloaded with arc-plottery for its own good. Does it really need so many antagonists? Each element would benefit from more depth if it weren’t fighting for attention with all the others. A promising season start, though. Let’s hope the audience rebuilds as SHIELD does. Dave Golder
Fitz refuses to follow the crowd. He looks where he wants to look.