I’ve been excited for this series for a long time, having been announced over a year ago. Marvel’s success allows them to move forward (or backward) in so many directions on and off the big screen. Perhaps capitalizing on the idea that people seriously love the franchise as a whole and not just its Iron Mans or Captain Americas, this Agent Carter miniseries was brought to life, introducing us to a side of the MCU we hardly ever expected to visualize outside of flashbacks.
But now that Agent Carter is here and on our television screens, how does it hold against all its hype? I’m rather impassive to it. It certainly entertained me, but I definitely didn’t need to watch it. And this is after watching not one, but two episodes, seeing as ABC released both the first and second episodes back to back. Why did they do this? Frankly, the second episode was vastly better than the first.
Hayley Atwell’s character Agent Carter is well known to us from her wonderful portrayal in Captain America: The First Avenger, and flashbacks in subsequent Marvel releases (most notably Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), so her
reinvention reintroduction fell fairly flat in the first episode. But by the second episode we got into the swing of how she goes about her espionage lifestyle, and it is fun to watch.
For those of you who enjoyed the way the 1940s were portrayed in the first Captain America film, this is definitely a show for you. For everyone else it won’t really look or feel authentic. The sets are just a bit too perfect, the quips a bit too dated, and the situations campy for the sake of making it seem unrealistically out of time.
It looks like the Stark name has been defiled time and again for the same reason. They like to build weapons of mass destruction that get into the hands of the wrong guys. Happened with Tony in the Iron Man franchise. Now we see it happening with Howard in Agent Carter. And this is a good way to take the story for the miniseries, a good entry point for Miss Carter to beat people up as she goes.
I think the best part of the show for me is Jarvis, her driver/sidekick. For fans of the MCU, you’ll remember that Jarvis is the name of the A.I. unit Tony Stark uses to voice his house and suits. Although that was voiced by Paul Bettany, James D’Arcy does a fantastic job putting a face to the voice for this series – being that this real life Jarvis is the inspiration for the virtual character.
Something that brought a smile to my face nearly every time was the way they incorporated Captain America back into the series. Some genius came up with the idea of paralleling Peggy Carter’s adventures with the overly campy Captain America radio drama, in which he saves the damsel in distress constantly, and they use the sound of slapping and punching slabs of meat to mark every time he hits an enemy. Very 40s. Very American.
It’s not necessary to watch this series to enjoy the rest of Marvel’s universe to its fullest, which is smart – because there’s just so much of it. But it is a pleasant glimpse into an uncharted period, and for that I’ll continue with it. The show itself holds plenty of promise, Jarvis and Agent Carter are a fantastic duo, and it’s a good time. Just nothing groundbreaking.