If you’ve enjoyed the brief cameos and and fun appearances from Marvel’s other consistently appearing (non-cycloptic) S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, then get ready to start buying some Blu-rays!
At Comic Con, Marvel held a small panel discussing their new “One Shot” series of shorts that will act as both supplemental home video material for their Marvel releases, but also as connective tissue between the stories. Painting a larger picture of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s activities and role in various happenings in the film, the films will focus on Agent Coulson, played by Clark Gregg. There are already two shorts, with one to be featured on the upcoming Thor Blu-rays called The Consultant, which takes place after all of the released films, but before The Avengers. There is another with TBA release date called A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Thor’s Hammer, which takes place during Iron Man 2.
You can read more details about the panel at Marvel, and can see a tease of The Consultant below…
Yesterday’s coverage of WB’s Jeff Robinov’s comments about Green Lantern (which will stubbornly continue with a sequel) brought out the usual cynicism and confusion from readers about the stark contrast in how Marvel and DC properties are being handled on the big screen. How could DC fuck this up so badly, when Marvel has managed something so well-choreographed? Ultimately it comes down to the fact that Marvel struck out for itself and involved some powerful, clever people so they could handle their films on a larger (though slower) scale as they do their comics. It’s lead to a connected Marvel Cinematic Universe, a sense of momentum between films, and a sense of larger purpose from each story, even if I’ve argued that has crippled most of the individual films from elevating much higher than expensive fan service.
But say what you like about the tenets of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe construction, at least it’s an ethos.
There is always the idea that had DC done more work to carefully exploit their DC properties individually, they could have provided a robust counter-point to the Marvel CU. By allowing heroes to stand on their own and films to function as unique pieces, the individual films could be more satisfying, worthwhile stories on their own. This wouldn’t have been out of character, as DC characters often lend themselves to more individually stylized, one-off stories that can reach deep into the subtext of the characters (sometimes at the risk of treading into melodrama and trite dourness). Obviously The Dark Knight is a great example of this, but since there’s no other good example from WB/DC, it’s clear this studio just doesn’t have its shit together, there is no underlying strategy, and that DC films are simply not a priority.
Of course, this image of WB and DC is only so severe because of the comparison to Marvel, and now everything they do (or don’t do) is judged in light of what Marvel is doing. This puts them in the uncomfortable position of being reactive no matter what strategy they adopt. When you also consider that they can boast the most successful superhero film of all time, and that when they generate a long-term plan to connect over half a dozen films it becomes the highest-grossing series in film history… well, Marvel Studio’s relatively mild successes aren’t exactly making WB execs drool with jealousy. If you pull things back to see the bigger picture, they’ve got nothing to prove, and no grand fire lit under their ass to reinvent how they make action blockbusters.
Still, it’s a shame, and it’s only getting to get more disappointing as Marvel marches on, empowered to do small, cool things like these One-Shots.
What are your thoughts? Should Marvel be putting resources into these shorts, and if so, what would you like to seem them cover? Let us know in the comments, on the boards, or shout at me on twitter.