Agent Carter, a spin-off of Marvel's best One-Shot short film of the same name and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., takes place about a year after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger and follows that film's standout character, Agent Peggy Carter. Carter, a war hero of the highest order, is now forced to find her way and try to do her job as a spy while stuck in a chauvinistic, male driven world keen to keep her serving coffee and answering phones. So yeah, it's like Mad Men meets Alias. Truthfully, the series gives Marvel a real opportunity to flesh out the Peggy Carter character. Thus, bringing more understanding as to why Cap' still pines for her and why she would be the one chosen as the first Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Carter has got the no nonsense determination of a Nick Fury and the beautiful but deadly charm of Black Widow.
|"Love The Hat."|
Hayley Atwell seems to be born to play this role. You can see why Marvel had the confidence to give her a big showcase show like this that she has to practically carry alone. She not only nails every countering line to the volley of sexist insults hurled her way, she seems to have the ability to share an instant chemistry with whichever actor they put across from her. She fortunately gets to separate herself from Scarlett Johansson and Ming-Na because they both play very guarded characters. Peggy Carter is guarded in a different way in my opinion. While Melinda May and Black Widow use lies to protect themselves, Carter, armed with truth, almost dares anyone wanting to crack her shell to step up try. Her confidence as a character and Atwell's portrayal of that confidence is perfect.
Dominic Cooper, although having a minor role, is still great as Howard Stark. He does not take the easy way out by doing a Robert Downey Jr. impersonation. He leans more toward the Howard Hughes/Citizen Kane type of billionaire-genius-playboy-philanthropist. My one tiny gripe would be the Edwin Jarvis character, played by James D'Arcy. D'Arcy is a great choice for the role and plays Jarvis well, but I hope the writers turn up his snark a bit more. I realize I am contaminated by Paul Bettany's brilliant A.I. version, and I know they are utilizing the role reversal of Peggy being tough and Jarvis being foppish. I just want the banter between the two of them to be a little more biting, much like it is with Downey Jr. and Bettany. It is there between the two...but I'm greedy for more.
The rest of the supporting cast is fine in their roles, more or less not getting in the way of the story. I say that hoping the Lyndsy Fonseca waitress character Angie either amounts to something much bigger or falls a little more to the wayside. Shea Whigham's character Roger Dooley is a preferable boss to Peggy Carter than Bradley Whitford's Agent Flynn from the Marvel One-Shot. Dooley seems to fit better in the era than Whitford's Agent Flynn did. Now, that may just be because I'm used to seeing Whigham on Boardwalk Empire. However, I like to think it's his gruff and unapologetic use of chauvinism as apposed to Flynn's snarky approach. Whigham is clueless to Carter's activities, but I don't see him as a cliched idiot.
While staying up to see a humdrum Ant-Man trailer, I managed to find something even better cooking right under my nose. Agent Carter is a show that hits the ground running with a quality to it that might catch you off guard. It is a welcome addition to the Marvel universe and seems to bring hope that Marvel shows to follow will also learn from its predecessors mistakes. Scan yourself for vita-rays...have someone tie you to a chair...turn on some Benny Goodman...oh and tip generously...watch it...then tell me I'm wrong.