It's time for another REVIEWPOINT as we break down the film's hits and misses. As always, we'll start with the bad news first.
1. THE ABC NETWORK CHEESE FACTOR
Is it the cheesiest thing in the world? No. Is it campy? Not really...unless you count Lola the flying car, which I'm sure a lot of people will love because they'll embrace the absurdity of it, but that's just not my style. Still, I can't help but feel like this would be a show I'd enjoy a lot more if it were on a different network, namely NBC or CBS. There aren't many shows on ABC that I have liked in the past 10 years with FlashForward being the only one I can bring to mind - and if you watched that show, you would agree with me that it had a very different tone from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and most ABC programming. Everything feels a bit too clean. Also...and I know I'm going to catch heat for this...the tone is a little too "fun" and reminds me of Firefly, another Joss Whedon project, which I watched ALL the episodes for and did not like a single one of them whatsoever. I'm not opposed to fun, and I'm not one of those people that thinks absolutely everything has to be as dark and realistic as the Dark Knight trilogy, but I'd like for them to take it a bit lighter on the CGI, flying cars and jokey characters to an extent.
2. FITZSIMMONS, LEO FITZ AND JEMMA SIMMONS
For someone like me who absolutely loves puns, you'd think I would love that part of the duo at the very least, but I don't. This is partly due to the cheesiness that their characters exude. They're also rather bland and uninteresting so far and trying desperately to make up for it by exaggerating everything and trying to be these hectic comedic relief characters, but I'm just finding them annoying. I also am not looking forward to all the shipping from my fellow fanboys and fangirls around the world....particularly because they seem more like a brother/sister combo, and that's kind of creepy.
1. AGENT GRANT WARD
At first, before the show aired, one of my biggest gripes was that they didn't make the main character (or any of them outside of Maria Hill) people from the comics. While I do still maintain that notion and I wish Clay Quartermain and others will show up, and that they'll make use of the million or so S.H.I.E.L.D. agents that are in the comics rather than just continually making up brand new ones, I do have to bite my tongue a little bit with Agent Ward. Having a fresh, clean slate to start off with makes it so we can grow along with Ward without any preconceived notions. He's a bit wooden right now, but it's only the pilot, and they've put some groundwork in there to build up to some legitimate characterization down the line with his family issues and his hotheadedness. He's a much more likable lead than I anticipated he would be.
2. REFERENCES TO THE UNIVERSE
This show needed to prove that it was in the same continuity as the movies and it did very well illustrating that so far. Extremis, the Chitauri, gamma radiation, flat out mentioning Dr. Erskine and his super soldier serum, and so forth were all moments that made me smile as a fan. "I don't think Thor's technically a god", saying that there are cosplay girls parading around Stark Tower....awesome.
3. AGENT COULSON LIVES....SOMEHOW
At first, the mere write-off that Coulson only stopped breathing for a few seconds was bothering me. What a slap in the face to the movie, right? Then, with the allusion that there's more to the story than him just getting a vacation to Tahiti in his recovery, they sold me. I fully expect Coulson to turn out to be a Life Model Decoy and the revelation of this is sure to be a huge plot point that will develop over time. Putting that seed out there at the beginning of the show will pay off and every show that is worth a damn does this properly, just as they did here.
Melinda May still has to win me over and I don't like Fitz and Simmons, but the rest of the cast is good and I'm much less worried about this show's potential now that I've seen the first episode. They can certainly go down the wrong path and make this turn out worse than this, but there's just as much of a chance that they improve upon the flaws of the first episode. A slightly less cheesy tone, straying away from the things that remind me of Firefly, and keeping up the continuity will help it at least from my perspective. I'll be watching until they convince me to stop.
Would I recommend it? Yes. If you're a fan of the Marvel films, you'll get at least some entertainment out of this. Your mileage may vary on some of these concepts, though, either for the negative or the positive.