MCU Chronological Viewing Part Four: Agents of SHIELD and Thor The Dark World

Alright guys, not going to lie. For the first time, I am doubting whether or not I’m going to be able to finish this MCU challenge in time for Infinity War. I need to step up my game, because the truth is, I have a lot left! If this is your first time checking in on the challenge with me, start with this post here. Then make sure you read Part One, Part Two, and Part Three, and then come back here! For today’s installment we have two sections of Agents of SHIELD, plus Thor: The Dark World. In general, I was pleasantly surprised by this leg of the journey, so let’s get to it!

Agents of SHIELD, Season 1 Episodes 1-7

The Basics: The show premiered on September 24, 2013 on ABC to incredibly high ratings. The first season seemed to garner mixed reviews, but remained popular enough to be picked up for a second season in May of 2014. The show stars Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennett, Iain De Caestecker, and Elizabeth Henstridge.

Important Plot Points: Okay, so right off the bat, an important question is answered. If you have been following along with these posts, or have ever seen the Avengers, then you know that Clark Gregg’s character, Agent Coulson, was killed before the battle of New York. Clearly that was a situation that needed to be immediately addressed, and we learn in the first episode that Fury faked Coulson’s death in order to inspire the Avengers. That’s the biggest takeaway in these first seven episodes as they relate to the MCU. We see a lot of tie-ins to the Marvel films in these first episodes, everything from Extremis (Iron Man 3) to Hydra (Captain America) to gravitonium (which looks and operates like zero matter from Agent Carter). Other than those plot points, the first seven episodes are mainly about establishing the team. We have Coulson, who is the fatherly commander, Agent May (Wen) a mother effing badass fighter and pilot, Agent Ward (Dalton) a sexy ops specialist, Fitz (De Caestecker) an adorable Scottish scientist, Simmons (Henstridge) a biochemist Brit, and Skye (Bennett) a hacker who is wooed to the team by Coulson after she is able to hack into SHIELD’s system, trying to expose their secrets.

My Reaction: I immediately loved this show way more than I thought I would. I honestly thought I would have to force myself to watch these episodes, but I’m so glad I actually enjoy the show (because there are a lot of them). The cast has great chemistry, Coulson is hilarious, May is a badass, and Ward is sexy AF. But my favorite characters are definitely Fitz-Simmons, who are so nerdy and adorably funny and wonderful. I just want to be friends with them. Right off the bat, I’m a fan of the show. And I might just be an AOS fangirl from this point on.

My Rating: 8 out of 10, a solid start.

Thor: The Dark World

The Basics: Released by Disney and Marvel Studios in 2013, Thor: The Dark World reunites the original cast of characters. The movie stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, and Anthony Hopkins. The supporting cast in this film should also be mentioned because hello awesome actors: Rene Russo, Zachary Levi, Jaimie Alexander, and Idris Elba, to name a few. As of this posting, Thor: The Dark World is available to rent on Amazon for $3.99.

Important Plot Points: Way back when, the Asgardians found and hid the Aether, an energy source like the Tesseract, keeping it from Malekith and his Dark Elves. It remained hidden for hundreds of years. In present day, Thor and his buddies are trying to restore peace in the Nine Realms, now that the BiFrost has been repaired. Loki is in an Asgardian prison for his crimes he committed on Earth during the Avengers. Jane is lonely, still waiting for Thor to return like he promised, even though it has been two years since he left. Jane discovers an energy source that replicates the BiFrost and goes to investigate. She ends up being sucked into a portal and infected with the Aether. Heimdall tells Thor he can’t see Jane, so Thor goes to Earth, despite Odin’s orders not to. Thor brings Jane to Asgard to try to remove the Aether from her, but the healers cannot do it. Odin recognizes the power of the Aether and warns of its powers and the prophecy attached to it. Malekith and company attack Asgard, mostly searching for Jane since she is basically the embodiment of the Aether. They don’t take Jane, but manage to kill Frigga, Thor’s mom, in the process. Reluctantly, Thor teams up with Loki because Loki knows of a portal than can take them to Malekith. On Malekith’s planet, the trio manages to trick Malekith into drawing the Aether out of Jane, but Thor’s attempt to destroy it fails. Loki seemingly sacrifices himself to save Thor,and the two brothers say an emotional farewell to each other, Thor promising that Loki’s sacrifice will not go unnoticed. Malekith heads to Earth, and Thor and Jane are able to find another portal that takes them to London where they meet up with Jane’s team. Using a bunch of science stuff I don’t understand, Thor and Jane are able to stop Malekith from deploying the Aether to destroy Earth, and they kill Malekith. Thor tells Odin he doesn’t want to be king.

End Credits Scene: The first scene shows Sif and Volstagg taking the Aether to Tivan the Collector for safe keeping. They reason that having the Tesseract and Aether, both Infinity Stones, on Asgard is dangerous and that it is better to separate them. When they leave, Tivan remarks, “One down, five to go.” In the final credits scene, we see Thor and Jane reunite, this time after just a couple of days apart.

My Reaction: This was the first time I really sat down and watched this movie, though I had seen snippets of it before. It’s kind of sad to watch this one after seeing Ragnarok because (spoiler alert) all of Thor’s friends die in the third Thor installment. I really liked a lot of this movie, especially Lady Sif, and the scenes with Loki (cameo by Chris Evans pretending to be Loki was pretty much my favorite part). As much as these movies are about Thor, they are also so much about Loki and his character development. We had some yummy Chris Hemsworth moments in this movie, but in general, it was not my favorite. I think a lot of the sciencey stuff made it too hard to follow, and once again, I felt that the character development, and relationship development between Thor and Jane was lacking. I feel like I learned more about Thor in The Avengers than I did in his own movies. It’s Thor, so I’m on board, but not one I would watch again and again.

My Rating: 7 out of 10, mostly for shirtless Chris and Tom Hiddleston

Agents of SHIELD, Season 1 Episodes 8-15

The Basics: See above

Important Plot Points: Episode 8 opens up in the aftermath of Thor: The Dark World, with the SHIELD team managing the clean up of the battle site. These episodes mainly concern Coulson uncovering the truth about what happened to him in Tahiti. Fury told Coulson that they sent him to Tahiti to recover after his near death experience, but in reality, Coulson was dead for several days and had to endure some pretty severe trauma in order to come back. We also discover that Skye has been linked to SHIELD since birth, since she herself is an 084 (object of unknown origin). The team is battling one main enemy in this section, the Clairvoyant, who is working with Ian Quinn on something that ties into Extremis. We also continue to see the development of relationships among the team, mainly with Ward and May, who begin sleeping together. The team grows closer the more time they spend together, and they become a family as they endure these life or death situations. However, we do learn at the end of Episode 15 that May is spying on Coulson.

My Reaction: I love the tie-ins to Thor, we even get an appearance from Lady Sif in Episode 15, which was awesome. I like the continued development of relationships between the team members, though I do not love Ward and May together. I originally shipped Simmons and Ward, but the super hot agent who shows up at the end of this section might be a better match for her. So maybe I ship Ward and Skye. Who knows. I’m guessing that over the course of the remaining seasons, there are plenty of hook ups to be had. It’s hard to watch some of the Coulson scenes, but I think the backstory of his recovery is really interesting. I like that they didn’t just phone in the whole fake death story for the sake of having him on the show.  I’m ready for the Clairvoyant storyline to be wrapped up, which hopefully happens in the next chunk of episodes.

My Rating: 8 out of 10, I’d like to see it climb higher, maybe in the next section!

Woohoo! Another one down, too many more to think about! I’ll be back with the next installment soon!

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