Saturday, June 4, 2016

Marvel One-Shots Review

Almost exactly one year ago, I talked about the first Marvel Cinematic Universe One-Shot, “The Consultant.” I feel as though I should talk about all the Marvel One-Shots as a whole… but they’re a tough beast to talk about all at once, since each one is quite different from the others. The only real way to discuss each one and do them justice would be to talk about each one in turn.

Which is exactly why I did just that already.

So think of this as more of a retrospective.

I miss you already, One-Shots.
The most interesting thing about the One-Shots as a whole, to me at least, is how they changed as time went on. “The Consultant” and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer” were the first two Phil Coulson-centered short films planned out. Since most of the money went to the big fight scene in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer,” “The Consultant” was partially stock footage and two people talking in a diner. But they both served their purpose; they showed the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in between films, trying to just do their jobs. And they were successful enough to get a third film along those same lines made, albeit without Coulson

Since he kind of died.
The third one, “Item 47,” was basically a way to garner interest in the then-planned Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. by showing what kinds of stories were possible to tell with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.

Sci-fi bank robberies! How could such a show not be green-lit?
Once AoS got off the ground, there was no need to make short films about S.H.I.E.L.D. You could make full episodes and show them weekly, as opposed to including them as a Blu-Ray bonus. So the fourth one focused on Peggy Carter as she left the SSR to help found S.H.I.E.L.D.

The closest we'll get to seeing the founding of S.H.I.E.L.D., sadly. #SaveAgentCarter!
And when that took off, it became pretty clear that the Marvel One-Shots were on their way out, since the Netflix shows were picking up. If all these One-Shots were launching shows, then why not just make shows? And there were probably some thoughts along the lines of “You want to tell a One-Shot story about Damage Control? But what if Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has a better idea for Damage Control?”

So the final One-Shot was nothing more than a way to try and appease people who didn’t like the big twist of Iron Man 3, as opposed to telling a new story with new characters.

Though I'm not complaining.
Would I like to see the One-Shots come back?

Maybe. Maybe not.

If Marvel feels as though these One-Shot ideas should be involved in the movies or TV shows, then so be it. I’d rather see these characters on the big screen than see them relegated to Blu-Ray bonuses. I mean, if they had gone through with their idea for a Black Panther One-Shot, would T’Challa have had his interesting subplot in Captain America: Civil War? Maybe not.

But I can’t even say for sure if that would be a bad thing. Maybe it could have been an amazing, award-winning One-Shot. Or it could have been crap. Who knows?

But I can definitely say that I enjoyed them while they lasted.

Best One-Shot: "Agent Carter”
I know I said it doesn’t hold up as well as it used to, but it was still good to see her again. And now that her show’s been canceled (#SaveAgentCarter) I’ll take what I can get of her. And while the show had pacing issues, the short is perfectly paced with humor, butt-kicking, and a look at the founding of S.H.I.E.L.D.

But if you want me to pick a One-Shot that’s still actually canon, then I’d have to go with “All Hail the King.” Because I love Ben Kingsley and Sam Rockwell, and it was good to see Trevor Slattery and Justin Hammer have one last moment to shine.

Worst One Shot: "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer"
It's 90% fight scene. Seeing Coulson fight off some bad guys was cool at the time, but it doesn't hold up in the wake of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. since there's little else to it.

He buys donuts. Riveting.
Most "Meh" One-Shot: "The Consultant"
It's got its moments, but it’s very short and part of it is just the recycled post-credits scene of The Incredible Hulk.
Even though the scene looks a bit different after seeing Captain America: Civil War.
Final Thoughts
The Marvel One-Shots were interesting looks into the unseen side of the MCU. And even though the deluge of Marvel TV shows means that we get a lot of that now, I still value these first, tiny glimpses into a larger world. And if they ever make another, you can bet I’ll see you then.

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