Mission BriefingThat conniving ne'er-do-well, Ian Quinn is up to no good once again, so it's time for the S.H.I.E.L.D. team to put a stop his plans in their tracks, and maybe catching Quinn will get Coulson that much closer to finding the Clairvoyant. The team goes undercover on a passenger train traveling through the Italian countryside, in order to intercept a costly package that Ian has ordered from a tech firm called Cybertek, the belief being that Quinn wouldn't pay a whopping 10 million dollars for something that didn't do something super evil.
The AgentsEveryone's on deck for this week's mission. Each member of the team infiltrates the train with a different alias: Fitz and Skye are backpackers making their way through europe on couch at at time (Instead of both sticking to their respective nationalities, they both try on terrible accents, before deciding in favor of Fitz's awful John Wayne impression over Skye's Lucky Charms rendition of a Scottish accent), Ward and May are lovers (oh, that's a little uncomfortable), and Coulson and Simmons are an estranged father and daughter, whose relationship was broken due to distance, infidelity, and many, many prostitutes.
Mission FalloutThe S.H.I.E.L.D. team boards the train with their new undercover identities, and begin working to locate the package which is encased in a black box and guarded by a security detail, but things go south quickly when it's revealed that the Italian authorities that gave S.H.I.E.L.D. the intel are in Quinn's pocket. In a bit of narrative trickery, the story ping pongs back to the moment where things go wrong for each group of the team, and shows the mission from their perspective. Ward dresses up as a conductor to infiltrate the train and find the package, but is made by the guards. He bumps into Coulson, and both go tumbling out of the train, but not before getting hit with a fancy grenade that uses the same technology as the night night gun. May traverses to the top of the train to track the package, but has to bail when one of the guards start shooting at her. Once on the ground, she finds a frozen Ward and Coulson. She tries to help, but is captured by the corrupt Italians.
Meanwhile, Fitz and Skye hide out in a deserted luggage car to run communications, but are caught in a shootout that ends with Simmons getting hit with the same grenade that hits Coulson and Ward earlier on. Skye and Fitz track down the package to Quinn's hideout. Skye infiltrates Quinn's compound where she finds none other than Mike Peterson in a hyperbolic chamber. The Cybertek package turns out to be a fancy cybernetic limb that replaces Mike Peterson's missing leg. Peterson has been tasked by the Clairvoyant to kill someone, and goes off to slaughter the Cybertek agents. Meanwhile, Quinn, doubtlessly tired of S.H.I.E.L.D. meddling in his plans, shoots Skye twice in the stomach with a pistol. The rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. team finds an injured Skye at the compound. She's clinging to life, but just barely, and agent Ward is looking to blame Coulson for what happened. Why is an untrained hacker doing field missions in the first place?
The Most Valuable Agent AwardSkye gets the Most Valuable Agent Award this week for taking two bullets for the team. We're sure she'll survive but getting shot is nothing to sneeze at.
Mission Highlights and Other Observations — For an undercover mission, the team seems to be doing a lot of talking about the fact that they're on an undercover mission at full volume on the train. No wonder they were made. — Simmons' elaborate backstory for her undercover alias should be it's own Lifetime movie called My Dad and His Prostitutes. — Mike Peterson is now officially the Marvel villain called Deathlok.
Mission BriefingThis week on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the terrorist organization Centipede pops its furry little legs into the mix once again. Three of its Extremis powered muscleheads break into a high security prison to extract an inmate named Edison Po, a former marine and tactical expert that can help Centipede go up against S.H.I.E.L.D. The S.H.I.E.L.D. gang decides to fight fire with fire by enlisting Mike Peterson (guest star J. August Richards) in his first appearance since the show's pilot.
The AgentsGuest agent Mike Peterson gets the spotlight this time. Since his near-explosive stand off with the team in the premiere, Mike has been spending his time pushing bulldozers across football fields under S.H.I.E.L.D’s watch. Coulson recruits an eager Peterson for his first special ops mission, but he’ll have to take on three other Extremis powered foes without much help from the other, more fragile members of the team.
Mission FalloutThe team tracks down Centipede to an abandoned shipping warehouse and the two sides do battle. Peterson proves his usefulness by holding his own against the three soldiers, even though he’s outnumbered, but is wounded when one of the enemies stabs him in the side with a nasty piece jagged metal. S.H.I.E.L.D. is able to take down one of the soldiers, but the man is killed remotely by the same cybernetic eye device that the organization has used previously to dispatch its cornered agents. A wounded Peterson calls his son, but discovers that he has been kidnaped by Centipede. Centipede wants to trade Peterson for his son’s safety, and S.H.I.E.L.D. sets up the trade, realizing there’s nothing they can do. During the fateful trade, Centipede reveals that they really want Coulson, and that Peterson was in on the gambit. Coulson gives himself up for the boy’s safety and Centipede whisks him away in a helicopter while the rest of the team can only stand back and watch. Peterson tries to save Coulson, but is presumably killed after Centipede lets off an explosion that rips through the night (though there is no body shown, which means, by comic book rules, that Peterson will most likely show up again at some point in the future). While flying to safety, Centipede reveals to Coulson that they are looking for the same answers that he himself has been searching for all season: How did he come back from the dead?
Mission Highlights and Lowlights— Can this be the very last “He’s standing right behind me, isn’t he?” scene in anything forever? Pretty please?
— What kind of shoe string budget are S.H.I.E.L.D. missions running on that they can’t be bothered to send more forces after three soldiers juiced up with Extremis? I guess the economy has hit everyone pretty hard. Even the massive clandestine government security organizations need to pinch their pennies.
— The scene with Peterson getting measured for his super suit by Fitz/Simmons was cringeworthy for all the wrong reasons.
In Marvel's ongoing attempt to fill every single part of your life with superheroes comes their new series, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (the most annoying title to type ever): a new series from Joss Whedon that promises to downsize all of the superheroics of the films and focus on a team of S.H.I.E.L.D agents tasked with investigating and protecting the world from super-powered threats. While this sounds great in practice, the formula definitely needs some tweaking going forward.
After being killed by Loki in The Avengers, Agent Coulson is back, and while Marvel fans everywhere were eagerly waiting to find out how exactly he survived a god's knife through the back, his explanation of his rebirth is surprisingly un-mystical. It turns out that he was just healing up in Tahiti of all places. Of course, that can't be the only explanation. We later see Maria Hill and Dr. Streiten staring out into the distance mysteriously while talking in hushed whispers about what really happened with Agent Coulson. I guess you need Level 8 clearence to know all the details about the agent's sudden reappearence.
Coulson and his new rag tag group of agents are tasked with finding Mike Peterson, a factory worker who uses a mysterious set of powers to save a woman from a burning building, but when Peterson’s powers start to mess with his head — and worse, threaten to turn him into a bomb — the team might need to kill him in order to save innocent lives. Of course, they eventually manage to stop Peterson without killing him and the crew is off to investigate a 0-8-4, whatever that is.
The biggest crime that S.H.I.E.L.D. commits is that it feels way too safe and particularly un-Whedon-esque. It's as if someone put Joss' work through a couple of distillations, and the outcome is flat, indistinct and a little tasteless. Whedon's characters, which usually crackle with wit and charm, are completely dull here, and it is hard to tell whether the writing or the actors are the problem. None of the characters are particularly interesting and are just simple archetypes — like "gruff agent guy," and "gruff agent girl," and "wacky scientists." Clark Gregg's Phil Coulson is the only standout there.
The story feels too much like a standard procedural. If you replaced the explosive super-serum with a pipe bomb, then it would just be an episode of Criminal Minds or NCIS. You might as well call the show Law and Order: S.H.I.E.L.D. When a show like Fringe handled the sci-fi procedural, it wasn’t afraid to get weird and freaky with its material. S.H.I.E.L.D. simply feels way too tame, at least in this first outing.
With all of the bad news out of the way, there are a few inspired moments and nice touches where you can see the show loosen up a bit and get a little more adventurous. We just hope the show finds it’s groove.
More:Why Do We Love Marvel's Agent Coulson So Much?Marvel is Planning a Female Superhero MovieMarvel Needs to Get a Little Crazy With It's Future Films
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Well, it seems that a bona fide New Yorker, Edward Burns (born and raised in Queens, folks), will be putting his own finishing touches on the classic New York film festival come May 1. Burns' latest, Newlyweds, will be the film that closes the Spring festival and seeing that he is so well-versed in the language of New York City on film and the fact that the film was made in Tribeca, where the festival is held, I doubt they could find a more fitting end.
Read the press release here:
2011 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL TO CLOSE 10th EDITION WITH EDWARD BURNS’ NEWLYWEDS
Writer-Director’s Latest Work to Have World Premiere on April 30
New York, NY – March 28, 2011 – The Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), presented by American Express, announced today it will close its 10th edition with the world premiere of Edward Burns’ Newlyweds. The film will premiere Saturday, April 30, at BMCC TPAC.
Newlyweds is the tenth film written and directed by Ed Burns and the sixth to premiere at TFF. Burns, who wrote, directed and stars in Newlyweds, has had a strong connection with TFF since its founding. Ash Wednesday world premiered as part of the inaugural TFF lineup in 2002, and Looking for Kitty, Purple Violets and Nice Guy Johnny have also been Festival premieres over subsequent years.
The film, shot almost exclusively in New York City’s TriBeCa neighborhood, is a chronicle of modern marriage, pointing out an essential truth: When you get married, you’re not just getting a husband or wife—you’re getting the family, the friends, and even the exes. With crackling humor and sharp insights into contemporary relationships, Burns tracks a newly wedded couple whose honeymoon period is upended by the arrival of the husband’s wild-child baby sister and the crumbling marriage of the wife’s meddlesome sister. The cast includes Burns, Caitlin Fitzgerald, Max Baker, Marsha Dietlein Bennett and Kerry Bishé. Burns produced the film with producing partner Aaron Lubin and William Rexer. Mike Harrop served as executive producer.
“There is no better way to close this year’s festival than with this film, Newlyweds by Edward Burns,” said Nancy Schafer, Executive Director of TFF. “He is one of Tribeca’s best friends. He lives in our community, and this film, which is exceptional and may very well be his best, was both shot in the neighborhood and captures the zeitgeist of a community and its relationships that is intimate and fun and so true. Closing night will be like coming home for all of us.”
“Tribeca is my home in every sense—it’s where I live, and it’s also the place where I have been so proud to show my work,” said Burns. “And from the beginning, the Festival has been a wonderful place for me to showcase my films and enjoy the kinds of conversations that I love as a filmmaker and a New Yorker.”
The 10th annual Tribeca Film Festival will take place from April 20 through May 1, 2011.