And really, I don't even want to review The Winter Soldier. Yeah, it was a kickass movie. Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie were totally on point as Winter Soldier and Falcon. Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow got a lot more depth. The political intrigue angle mirrored the real-world threats of NSA spying and drone strikes. It was a damn near perfect film. There's my review.
In actuality, I really just want to focus on Marvel's knack for continuity.
This is no surprise to anyone who reads comics books. Marvel has a rich history with characters, spanning in excess of fifty years. For the most part, those decades of story-telling still affect the characters today. Spider-Man's biggest influence in fighting crime is his perceived penance for his Uncle's death...in 1962. Marvel has always done a great job of laying the groundwork for characterization and making it matter, with a few exceptions of ret-conning here and there. And they're bringing that skill to their Cinematic Universe.
Back in November, Marvel's Thor: The Dark World opened and with it came a tie-in to their small-screen narrative Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Basically it was a way to say "Hey, your favorite show is going to cross-over with this big-time movie so make sure you buy your ticket before Tuesday 8 PM, 7 Central". All it was, though, was the team cleaning up Thor's mess and Peter MacNicol as an ancient, angry deity. It was...substandard at best. So when they announced the same thing happening around the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the eye-rolling could be heard 'round the world.
Well, something like that and bound to affect a show called Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. And it did. Far more than I expected.
By tying the show so closely to the movies, Marvel has invariably made the Cinematic Universe a parallel to their comics universe (or 616 for your comic geeks). It's basically what comic folks, like me, have been clamoring for since the show premiered. Sure, it and the movies have been linked since their inception, with Coulson leading the team and Fury and Hill both making appearances. But short of that, they've both seemed to exist on their own accord. But now that the ripples made by the films have actually been shown to affect the show and (hopefully at some point) vice versa, Marvel has a deep, imaginative playground that fans can get lost in.
|Even this guy became more interesting.|
|And the guy that talks to birds? Strangely, bad ass.|
By the end of it, though, all that matters is that Marvel continue to leverage the synergy they created between their movies and television shows. They've taken some big risks, and I haven't even mentioned the series soon to premiere on Netflix. They are scoring touchdowns all over the place and I really hope they keep it up.