Marvel’s Agent Carter Does It Right

Tuesday’s two-part premiere of the new Marvel series Agent Carter brought everything you’d want from a female led Marvel television show set in the 1940s, including Captain America and some serious spy action. I would liken Agent Carter (Hayley Atwell) to a female 007, minus some of the devil-may-care attitude. She especially cares about being taken seriously as a woman in the post-WWII era workforce, where women were expected to abandon the jobs they held during the war and kindly make their way to the kitchen. Luckily, Agent Carter gives zero f*cks. And when her male counterparts at the super-secret Strategic Scientific Reserve ask her to make coffee and do their filing instead of joining them in the field, she takes matters into her own hands, going out on her own.

The great thing I saw in this two hour premiere, is that the story has some layers to it. Not only does Peggy Carter have to deal with bad guys as they try to destroy the world, there’s also a lot of subplot dealing with her personal life. Agent Carter lives in a studio apartment with a roommate and eventually finds herself in need of a new pad, a diner waitress gives her encouragement and Carter defends her from sexist male customers. Agent Carter is also mourning the loss of boyfriend Captain America, who died in a plane crash. Those surrounding her push the question of marriage and finding a man, but Carter’s interests lay in being a great S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.

Carter also teams up with Howard Stark’s sidekick/butler Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy)… who I guess eventually inspires Tony Stark’s A.I. butler. Together, Jarvis and Carter help protect Stark’s reputation after he is suspected of selling WMDs to Nazis. Sounds familiar enough. Jarvis’ character is that of a sheepish man with no field experience, who would prefer to be home with his wife, whom we never see, and in bed by nine. However, Jarvis gives us the sense that he is more than meets the eye. Agent Carter fights a nightclub owner and crazy brainwashed men who need a voice box to talk, while evading the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who are also at work on the mission.

I’m excited for what’s to come with series. It’s nice to see a female Marvel lead, and not one who’s a swooning ninny. No, I have high hopes for this show. Perhaps now that Marvel has a few TV shows under its metaphorical belt, its powers to entertain become stronger. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. certainly hits the entertainment nail, but it falls a bit flat for me in that you don’t really care that much about the characters. Probably because there’s so many. Agent Carter has just the one and she’s very interesting. You root for her. Just from this first episode, I am already more invested in Agent Carter than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Let’s hope these next six (only six!?) episodes continue strong.

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