Hello and welcome to In Too Deep Into Marvel, where I go through the Marvel properties over… however long I do this blog.
Marvel Agent Carter aired in NZ over February and, well, it was so good it made me stop watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D due to how inferior the latter was (well that and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D just wasn’t that engaging to start with). Now since it’s unlikely the show will get a second season, lets stop and look at what we did get, and examine why more people should be watching it.
First off, lets start with the main character. Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter is pretty much a Godsend. She’s a simply fantastic character. Smart, sophisticated, capable of holding her own in a fight while also playing the femme fatale role when need be. An all round good character, is what I’m basically trying to say. She’s very good and interesting to watch… but more important than that, she’s a good female character. And Lord knows we need more decently written female characters out there, just for a bit of variety. But at the same time, the fact that she’s a good written female character is just as important as he being a good character in general. A lot of feminists come up with tests to judge fiction in some sort of objective way, when the simplest test needs to be â€œIs this character a good character?â€ In Peggy Carter’s case, yes, she is a good character. If for no other reason than watching a show featuring a good lead character is a must.
But then there’s Jarvis and no not that one. The ‘original’ Jarvis, Howard Stark’s (aka Tony’s dad) butler. James D’Arcy plays the put upon British butler perfectly (to the point where I think he plays a better Alfred than Michael Caine played Alfred), but more importantly, it shows a relationship between a guy and a girl that isn’t romantic or sexual in any way. Those who will remember the last time I did this series will recall how I talked about how Captain America didn’t have any romantic plots or sub-plots. While not strictly true here, it’s nice to see two characters of the opposite gender just be friends and partners in a work of fiction. It happens so rarely it’s worth pointing out. But again, that’s two great characters.
However, the biggest reason why I think the show deserves more recognition is the time period it’s set in. Simply put, the late forties aren’t something we often see a lot of when it comes to fiction. Sure we have our war dramas, especially around World War Two. We have our fifties dramas, examining life in the time period of the nuclear family before those dastardly hippies took over. But the late 1940s, just after the war ended but before things started to get back together, we have that uncertain time in American history. The country was still recovering after a pretty big war, and still wasn’t quite sure who was on their side once all the dust settled. I mean they still thought of Soviet Russia as sort of allies, it’s not surprising that they were still a bit cautious. But more than that, there’s the treatment of women in this story. On the whole it’s bad because, well, women really were treated that badly during that period of time. I mean they still are, but it’s interesting here given the character we’re given. Agent Carter saved the day countless times and helped set up the organization with Howard Stark… and now she’s treated as nothing more than a glorified receptionist. Even when she saves all their collective arses yet again, she doesn’t get given any credit due to the pig-headed nature of those in charge (though she does deliver a good moral on it, so that helps a lot). But what’s really interesting is that we’ve never really seen this sort of story before. We don’t often see stories where great heroes are subsequently ignored or put down solely because of their gender. It’s not a very common story, since a majority of fiction tends to involve guys in the lead. It’s a refreshing change of pace, to see a former important hero be reduced to secretary by the people around her, even if she’s still just as badass as before. If nothing else it allows for some variety, which is reason enough to watch the show. Mostly because it’s somewhat new.
So there you have it. My quick look at Marvel’s Agent Carter. If you disagree with anything, or have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment. Till next time.