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SEASON PREMIERE REVIEW: Agent Carter 1×01 “Now is Not the End” & 1×02 “Bridge and Tunnel”

Tonight, we had our first look at Agent Carter, Marvel’s second live-action television series that acts as a companion to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Many people were skeptical about this show when its premise was revealed earlier this year. I mean, what’s so special about Agent Carter? Why can’t we have shows focused on more prominent characters to further the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s storyline?

Even though Agent Carter is not as focused on the intense action aspects of the Marvel films and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it is still an entertaining ride that is sure to attract the attention of both new and old fans.

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Let’s start with the premise. Just to refresh your memory: Agent Peggy Carter first made an appearance in Captain America: The First Avenger as a leading member of the Strategic Scientific Reserve, a top secret agency that pioneered the Super-Soldier Serum that gave Steve Rogers his powers. Agent Carter picks up shortly after the film left off with Carter trying to move on with her life and her work.

The two episodes that aired tonight focused on weapons that Howard Stark was building for some unknown purpose. After someone steals one of these weapons from Stark, Carter hunts them down and tries to find out what the deal is, all while avoiding the rest of the agents at the SSR. She uses clever tactics such as secret disguises and handy gadgets to make her way through the case. Aiding her is Edwin Jarvis, Howard Stark’s butler, who seems to act as her voice of reason and her trusty sidekick of sorts.

I just want to go on record as saying that I truly admire Hayley Atwell‘s acting skills. I did not give her enough credit when I first saw her in Captain America: The First Avenger. It wasn’t until I viewed tonight’s airing (and after watching her brief yet impactful appearances on several episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) that I realized she is actually a unique and talented actress. She almost conveys a James-Bond-esque aura in the way she carries herself as well as how she interacts with other people. She’s viciously beautiful and yet she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty when necessary.

Remember: this is the first female-led production by Marvel Studios. Up until now, fans have been pushing for more stronger female characters. Although Marvel has thrown in some kick-ass women such as Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Mockingbird, and Agent Melinda May, this is the first time that a female is leading the show on her own merit. Of course, virtually every other main role is played by a male in this show, but Atwell’s performance outshines almost them all.

When I first saw the cast list and production details about the show, I was excited to see that Dominic Cooper was reprising his role as Howard Stark. I automatically assumed that he would be a main character and that he would be working side-by-side with Carter on most of her missions. However, he makes a very brief appearance in the first episode and then disappears for the remainder of the night.

My guess is that Cooper will pop in and out of the show throughout the season. His brief role on Agent Carter was pretty entertaining, and there was one instance where you see an uncanny resemblance between his performance and that of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark.

Another actor who deserves credit is Chad Michael Murray, who portrays an antagonistic rival of Carter’s named Agent Jack Thompson. I didn’t even recognize that it was Murray until I got a closer look. He’s really changed in both his looks and his acting talents over the years. His performance reminded me of Jim Gordon on Gotham. He was stoic and firm, yet gave off an uncertain vibe. I’m not too sure about his character. I feel like there is more to Thompson than meets the eye.

Once again, I can’t help but compare Agent Carter to Gotham. However, I think this show is slightly more enjoyable, mainly because of the excellent writing staff at Marvel Studios. I can’t wait for the rest of the series, and I would not complain if Agent Carter gets renewed for a second season.

 

Final Grade: A

+ Amazing acting from everyone, especially Atwell and Murray.

+ I liked the vintage sights and sounds, and how they made the show really fit the era.

+ The plot was solid, though it reminded me a little too much of Gotham (but in a good way!)

 

– I liked both episodes, but a two-hour premiere may have been a little too much for some people.

 

Extra thought:

– Agent Carter is set to appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron. I’m wondering at what capacity she will appear, and whether this show will hint at the movie.

– It has been confirmed that certain characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be making appearances on this show. I’m assuming that Hank Pym may show up briefly, but who else could we see?

What did you think of the Agent Carter premier? Was it worth the hype? Do you think it’s strong enough to carry on its own merit? Let us know in the comment section or on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!