3 Things to Ponder About Phase 2 of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe
Where the Frak Was S.H.I.E.L.D.?
Phase 1 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe provided us with some of the finest examples of what a superhero movie is capable of, and, to a greater extent, how to craft an entire filmic universe. Sure, there were issues along the way — some unanswered questions (how are Black Widow and Hawkeye qualified to fight aliens?) and bizarre plot threads that seemed to abruptly evaporate (the Mandarin’s rings were introduced in Iron Man, I didn’t forget). Overall, however it was an amazing accomplishment. Now as we gear up for Phase 2, there are a few things we need to address:
1. S.H.I.E.L.D. takes Christmas off
S.H.I.E.L.D., the all-powerful intelligence and military guardian of the United States, cannot be bothered at Christmas time; at least, according to Iron Man 3. The movie, much like Lethal Weapon and Gremlins, falls into the modern criteria of being an honest-to-goodness Christmas movie — it takes place during Christmas, ’nuff said.
The U.S. President is kidnapped, terrorist attacks are on the rise, and people are being murdered left and right by a mysterious supervillain who hates America. Doesn’t this fall under S.H.I.E.L.D. jurisdiction? Sure, War Machine/Iron Patriot was there to help Stark wage his Charles Bronson-esque, one-man war against the bad guys — but couldn’t S.H.I.E.L.D. at least dust off Captain America to lend a hand? How about Hawkeye or Black Widow? Did everyone use up their vacation time altogether?
Then, there’s the lackluster (but admittedly hilarious) Iron Man 3 post-credit sequence, where we see Bruce Banner providing mock therapy to a mentally-wounded Tony Stark. So now we know that Bruce Banner, who seems to now have some control over “the big guy” in Avengers, is around and, quite frankly, not too busy. Couldn’t the good doctor be bothered to get a little pissed off for even 10 minutes? All we need is 10 minutes with the Hulk or a half hour with Captain America, Black Widow and/or Hawkeye (or even five random, nameless S.H.I.E.L.D. equivalents of Star Trek red-shirts) and the Mandarin (both the actor and the actual bad guy) would have been toast during the second act.
Tony Stark deserves a little more. Sure, he’s a smarmy jack with Bruce Wayne-level bank accounts and eyes you can get lost in for a week, but the guy flew up a wormhole with a nuclear bomb to save a major metropolitan city!
Whomever processed all these holiday vacation requests at S.H.I.E.L.D. should probably be fired…when they get back from vacation, of course.