I discovered that I had unwittingly missed the last four episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I had been following this and, much like Doll House, the series had gone from being a bit crap to actually quite good. Joss Whedon is a bit of a slow burner, and I have learnt to give him time in a series to really show what he can do. It has, at times, felt like S.H.I.E.L.D. was being made up as it went along, without any major plot arcs to keep the viewer engaged. More recently with Skye and Coulson's Origins story lines and the main antagonist, The Clairvoyant bringing the intrigue the series has improved in quality and has kept me hooked. Unfortunately I had to stop watching it. Cleverly, Marvel are weaving the plots of their latest film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier into the S.H.I.E.L.D. series. I couldn't keep watching it without the pang of not knowing what was going on or seeing some spoilers to the film. So I went to see the film that very afternoon.
It all started with Jackson's Nick Fury 'dropping in' on Tony Stark at the end of Iron Man quipping, “Mr. Stark, you’ve become part of a bigger universe. You just don’t know it yet.” and he finishes off by saying, “I’m here to talk to you about The Avengers Initiative.”. This followed with references in the Hulk film showing a connection between Stark and the Super Soldier Program, Coulson finding Mjolnir (Thor's Legendary hammer) at the end of Iron Man 2, the Tesseract cube and Loki both appear at the end of Thor, hinting at further trouble. They also feature in the first Captain America film and is a pretty obvious reference to the Avengers movie. Nick Fury appears yet again at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, dropping hints about 'saving the world', and finally the final scenes of the Avengers movie hints at some sort of confrontation with Thanos. I'm not sure about this one, but it probably has something to do with the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film. Or something.
Before you glaze over, do go and see Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It's actually a good film even if Marvel isn't your bag, baby. There is plenty of useful exposition, that doesn't seem forced, to help the viewer understand the back story. This means that non-Marvel cognoscenti can still enjoy the film as it stands. It is also not all bangs, crashes and fireballs, although there is still plenty to keep the adrenaline junkie happy. The characters are believable, which is pretty good considering the plot matter, the story is well written and drawn out nicely to maintain suspense, and the acting is good. Certain parts were still predictable, but heck it does have to cater for 12 years olds as well as old farts like me. I do also now wonder what will happen next in the S.H.I.E.L.D. series...