What to Binge: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

It surprised me when they announced season two of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was going to be out on Netflix earlier this month. Usually I have to wait until the fall before I can start to binge watch a show that just aired. However, I feel it was a smart move because now it gives people a chance to start watching the show before season three airs. There is no longer an excuse of not having time to watch it all.

Summer is the time for binge watching. Where fanatics of shows yell at friends to watch something they love because they care. This is me yelling at you to watch this show. It may start off slow, but IT GETS BETTER! WATCH IT!

The show had a slow start. In some ways it reminds me of Arrow’s first season. Both shows got better as their first season went on. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was finally able to go full speed after Captain America: Winter Soldier. The show was leading up to the film, and the ramifications from the film impacted the show greatly. For me this show is like a roller coaster it took a while for the build up, but the pace finally increased.

This show has been enjoyable for many reasons, and it is why I’m giving you 10 reasons why it needs to be binge watched this summer.


1. Phil Coulson

Clark Gregg gives Phil Coulson life. The man passionately believes in S.H.I.E.L.D. and his team. One of Gregg’s greatest moments was the scene up above. There was despair in what the group had lost. Hydra had been with them this whole time. However, Coulson carried on. He kept his beliefs, and it made you want to stand with him (In Coulson We Trust). Gregg’s performance made you want to hug the man, and tell him you would follow him anywhere.           

But then there is also more playful side of Coulson. The one you want to keep in your pocket because he is adorable.


2. Captain America: Winter Soldier

Season one was tightly connected to this movie. The season was leading up to the revelation Hydra had been implanted in S.H.I.E.L.D. It was the catalyst for how the organization dealt with the after effects of Hydra being revealed. Steve Rogers may have said no more S.H.I.E.L.D., but the organization was huge. Someone had to make sure the agents were taken care of. Someone has to find and fight Hydra. Yes, S.H.I.E.L.D. fell down, but the belief for what it stood for never died. They were able to keep it alive.


3. Guest Appearances

The show never lacks in good guests. For instance, the show finally introduced Phil’s cellist played by Amy Acker. Other actors from both the Whedon Universe and Marvel Cinematic Universe have popped up from time to time. The second time Samuel L. Jackson appeared as Nick Fury was everything I wanted and more. Then there are other actors who don’t belong to the universes like Lucy Lawless, Patton Oswalt, and Edward James Olmos.


4. Villains

Agent Dale Cooper played a excellent, unhinged villain in season two. He knew how to balance the craziness and violence. Then there are the Team Hydra players. They know how to comply on being the bad guys. One of my favorites is Raina. She joins any team that will give her what she wants at the time. She will forever be in the morally grey area, and enticing to watch.


5. Fight Sequences

The combat is fun to watch especially with season two. Melinda May has been kicking butt since season one, but season two showed more of the team in action. A beautiful thing to see is Bobbie Morse and Lance Hunter fighting each other, but then being in sync while fighting the bad guys.


6. The Characters Added On The show started off with only six members of the team, but the team has evolved over the past two seasons. It has added new characters. Antoine Triplett was the who brought the funk to the group, and he will forever have a piece of my heart. Then there were more additions is season two. My favorite being Bobbi Morse a.k.a. Mockingbird. As soon as she and Jemma Simmons bonded, I knew I was hooked.


7. The Number of Women One thing that sets this show apart from other shows is the number of women. Generally I find a show to be lacking with women. The men always outnumber them. This group usually has the same amount of men and women. We also get women who have questionable morals. The women on this show are not there to help a man’s story line along. They have their own stories. They will also protect the others, if you even try to mess with one of them.


8. The Characters Before the first season is over there will be at least one character to fall completely in love with. You will find yourself worrying about the character, and wanting to protect them at all costs (my favorite is Jemma). It is more than probable to fall in love with more than one of these characters. They all have differences, but they work brilliantly as a team. They also grow over the series. The character growth and evolving of this series is a beautiful thing. The best example would probably be Leo Fitz who was the child of the group in season one. Fitz has grown up, but is still this caring man you want to hold and protect.


9. The Friendships Friendships are a key factor for me watching a television show. I love seeing camaraderie between two people who will be there for the other person. This show has multiple friendships. All the members of the team are friends, but the bonds between certain people on the team are different. They each bring their own value and interest. I cheered when Mack and Leo became friends. I encourage a friendship between Bobbie and Jemma while I still love the Jemma and Skye dynamic.


10. The Family The core group became a family during the first season. They will protect each other at all costs, and consider wherever the team is home. It isn’t S.H.I.E.L.D. that is home for them, it is the people they love.


Bonus: It is all connected. I had a better understanding of the films with how they connected parts the show and films like Avengers: Age of Ultron together. It has also already started what will probably be the basis for Captain America: Civil War.


Mad Pitch: A Review of Pitch Perfect 2 and Mad Max: Fury Road

***Warning: This post contains spoilers for Pitch Perfect 2 and Mad Max: Fury Road***

Last weekend, my drive-in put together Pitch Perfect 2 and Mad Max: Fury Road on the same screen. At first glance, it may seem odd these two were put together. One film is a comedy and the other is action packed, but the main commonality of these two films are ladies dominating the screen time. They show a variety of ladies in these films because not every single woman is going to be the exact same copy of each other. There will always be differences in personality alone. If we only have ladies who take charge and look hot while doing it, then a film becomes a copy of films before it.

Pitch Perfect 2 is all about the ladies. They are facing the the problem of the Barden Bellas becoming a thing a of the past, and the only way for them to survive is winning the World Championship. All through out the movie I kept thinking about Community‘s Christmas episode, “Regional Holiday Music,” where the study group had to become the glee club. I knew the stakes were supposed to be high, but I wasn’t able to be fully invested in it. It was the same plot with the original movie. The Bellas had to win again. They kept talking about the World Championship and met their enemy, but it was a background plot. I didn’t care about who won this time around. I cared about the interactions of the characters.

The film did a good job of making the first part disjointed. It didn’t flow, and it showed the group was no longer together. They had lost who they were as a group. Instead we were getting individual stories of Beca, Amy and the new girl, Emily.

For me, the best part of the film was when they went on the retreat. It is where the synchronization started because they were becoming a group again. Before this happened, the tone of the Bellas had changed (not for the better). Yes, they were a group who was trying to get back to the top, but the heart was gone. It came back when they started to open up and supporting each other.

This movie felt like a sequel. Someone would not be able be able to come into the movie without seeing the first and understand everything that was happening. It is a continuance of the story, but the problem with sequels is the first movies are well loved it is hard for the second film to live up to the first.

A sequel doesn’t always have to be bigger to be better, and Pitch Perfect 2 movie had this example with the Bellas trying to be bigger in order to be better. However, I don’t think the movie necessarily lived up to their own example. They added more characters, but the some of the characters felt typecast. They went for the easy jokes.

Then there is the music. While I don’t hate the majority of songs on the film, it did not make me want to buy the album immediately after I left the theater. The first film had me jumping up and down singing right along with the songs. I got into the film. This time I left the theater questioning the credibility. Why would the majority of groups from all around the world be singing an American song? If it was a national championship, it would be comprehendable for multiple groups singing the same song, but this was a World Championship. I know timing is a factor, but the movie failed for me with this part.

Overall it was interesting to see a film take a reverse stance from several other films. The ladies were the main focus, and the only times the guys were on screen they were playing the love interest for the girls. They were the supportive cheerleaders.

Mad Max: Fury Road didn’t get the guy cheerleaders. What they got was Imperator Furiosa saving the ladies from Immortan Joe. While this movie was the fourth Mad Max film, no one had to see the first three films in order to know what was happening with this film. This film is a simple action flick that will give the audience an adrenaline rush.

There were no long explicative scenes of what was happening. The film didn’t need them. It let the audience know what they needed to know piece by piece. It was fluid this way, and comprehensive. There didn’t need to be any scenes of Joe treating the women as sex slaves. The “We are not things” written on the wall was enough to understand what was happening. There were no scenes of rape happening on the screen because a person does not need to be shown the act actually happening in order to process a person is being raped. They are able to grasp it from what the ladies wrote and then later seeing them cutting off their chastity belts with bolt cutters. We know the ladies were treated as objects, and they were proving to themselves and us they were human beings who were not inferior.

The women held so much power in this film. Max and Nux had to become accepted by them, or they would not have been able to join forces with them. They wouldn’t have earned one of the few motorcycles because they would not have deserved them.

It was a “lovely day” when I watched this film. Joe and his brothers had made everyone inferior to them, but this film showed the ones considered inferior were in fact superior. The most beautiful part was Max and Furiosa not falling into the concept of the guy and girl hating each other at first, and then falling in love by the end of the film. They were comrades in arms, both of them seeking redemption.

The film didn’t give deep depth or draw out the characters, but it didn’t need to. It gave a good adrenaline rush. It succeeded my expectations, and was very tactful. The film is rated R and George Miller could have gone all Game of Thrones with graphics, but he kept it tasteful. After all, the film is mainly for the car chases with drummers and a guitarist with a flame thrower guitar thrown in.

The most beautiful thing about these two films is they would not have been better if the genders have been reversed. They proved women can be a major factor of a film without always being sexualized. They can be equals. They can be the ones in the driver’s seat with the guy in the passenger’s seat supporting them.