Friday, July 31, 2015

Recap/Review: Marvel One-Shot "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer"

Marvel's next One-Shot once again takes us into the events surrounding Thor. This was the first one they budgeted for, and the reason that "The Consultant" was nothing more than two people talking separated by existing footage.

Let's see what they spent most of that money on!

Spoiler alert: They spent it on slow-mo effects.
This One-Shot opens with a beautiful desert sunset. A car drives by, on its way from Iron Man 2, presumably on the way to Thor’s hammer. As night falls, with over 400 miles to go until it reaches, the car stops for some gas at a Roxxon gas station. The car’s occupant, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Phil Coulson, needs to refuel, too, so he goes inside to see what’s what.

He appears to leave the car unattended while he’s filling up, and I really hope that’s not the case. I used to work as a gas station and I can tell you right now that that’s a fire hazard. Like most people who enter a gas station, Phil kneels by the donuts and tries to figure out whether he wants the chocolate or the glazed donuts, despite the fact that the person behind the counter is working third shift and has a lot of cleaning to do but can’t leave the register unattended so you’re just making her wait for you while you stare at donuts.

Hurry it up! There’s a hotdog machine that needs to be cleaned!
And then, as is always the case when you’re waiting for a customer to leave so you can rinse out the pots for the biscuits and gravy, somebody else enters the gas station. Two people. And judging by the certain ka-chunk sound and their requests that the cashier doesn’t move, they’re up to no good. One of them demands to know if there’s anyone else here, and who owns that car outside.

Agent Coulson: “I do. But it’s really more like a lease.”

They demand the keys, and Coulson acquiesces. Then they demand that the cashier empty the cash register, despite the fact that most places try to keep less than two hundred bucks in the drawer, and also demand cigarettes.

Agent Coulson: “’Scuse me! I also have this gun.”

Fun fact: After filming Thor, which featured named weapons like Mjolnir and Gungnir, Clark Gregg decided to name his gun "Glockenspiel." And that's just another reason to love him.

"You guys want me to get rid of this?"
"It would make things easier for us, thanks."
"No problem. I can even tie this hand behind my back. Give you a fighting chance."
They demand he toss the gun over, but he tells them that he’d rather not make it accidentally discharge. Instead, he slides it to them. Then he throws a bag of flour in one of their faces. After having gotten a whole bag of flour everywhere, Coulson grabs a can of whoopass and proceeds to open it up in slow-motion.

One of the bad guys figuratively and literally shoots himself in the foot, too.
 And then, having done his best, he checks out.

Wow. Making her go straight back to work after a traumatic experience? Kind of insensitive, Coulson.
 Agent Coulson: “Sorry for the mess.”

"Toss 'er a coin. That's what I always do."
Coulson, having been unable to decide on his donuts, buys both packs. I certainly hope he pays for that flour, too. He tells her to keep the change, as she’s too stunned to put her hands down and operate the register. He’s about to leave the civilian with two unconscious, unrestrained thieves before she asks him what she should tell the cops.

Agent Coulson: “Tell ‘em those tai-bo tapes really paid off.”

Uh… gas stations have security cameras, Coulson. They’re going to see your Matrix moves. And they're going to see your gun, too.

"You know that you're in a region of New Mexico that doesn't allow concealed carrying of firearms, right?"
"Well... I took my gun out, so, uh, let's just call that open carry, huh? As a favor to the guy who rescued you?
"Open carrying of firearms isn't allowed within stores that sell alcohol. And we do."
"Well, shoot."
He exits the station, and the shot of the gas pump confirms that Agent Coulson did leave his pump running while unattended, thus creating a possible fire hazard.

Dang it, Coulson, I know Roxxon is evil, but you don't have to nearly blow up one of their stations.
Then he drives off into the events of Thor.

There's not much to say, really. It was basically just a fight scene. Though I will say that it was not only a well done fight scene, but it was bookended by nice character moments to give us all a glimpse into what kind of a person Phil Coulson actually is.

Phil Coulson is a nice guy. And a professional. He could easily solve the problem with his gun, but he wants neither casualties nor ongoing police investigations. He saves the day. He moves on. He's a hero not because he has any kind of powers, but because he found himself in the right place at the right time.

Still, I think they probably should have budgeted better. There was barely any money left to make "The Consultant," which works better as a character piece in my opinion. Still, this was still enjoyable to watch.

Next time, we get to see what happens to the Avengers' leftovers. See you then!

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