The show Agent Carter is another aggressive move by Marvel Studios in order to expand the reaches of their cinematic universe into television, just like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the various Netflix series such as Daredevil coming soon. Here we go back in time to the 1940s where we find ourselves on a journey with protagonist Peggy Carter. Carter, played by Hayley Atwell, is an espionage agent who made her debut in Captain America: The First Avenger way back in 2011 and in the Tales of Suspense comics in the 1960s. She was formerly the love interest of Steve Rogers but now she finds herself navigating through the 1940s and becoming a hero and an example of a strong female character in her own right.
First off, I’d like to praise the visually impressive set pieces in their attempts to build the world that was in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They really do take you back to the 40s with the impressive costuming and props. Audiences and fans alike can be pleased with the great production value placed into the mini-series.
By the end of the mini-series, Atwell brilliantly portrays a character who heroically endures the struggles found not just in the missions she undertakes, but also the great obstacles the context of the 1940s provides such as the treatment of women in a post-war era. This was seen as she plays off the rather jerk-ish supporting cast members, S.S.R. Agent Jack Thompson (Chad Michael-Murray) and Chief Roger Dooley (Shea Whigham) with a cool, calm, collected demeanour fitting for a strong female role character.
A show that surrounds a particular hero needs a strong supporting cast to create favourable character moments such as seen with other comic book adapted shows like Arrow and The Flash. Agent Carter is not different in that regard as Atwell surrounds herself with a cast that raises her character up and thus encourages her to continue to fight another day. Such was seen with Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy). D’Arcy portrays the butler to Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) and eventual inspiration for Tony Stark’s A.I. inspiration. It was rather pleasing and humourous watching the witty banter between Carter and Jarvis as the comic relief. It was a departure for D’Arcy from normally playing psychopaths in his previous works but he played an entertaining likeable English butler in the end. Contrasting this, the friendship between aspiring actress Angie Martinelli (Lyndsy Fonseca) and Carter provided very endearing character moments as their friendship grew, with Peggy growing to trust Angie as a bestie and confidant.
Each and every Marvel Film/Television venture never fails to deliver with great action and always make their hero the most important character. Agent Carter was no exception. Atwell, continually throughout the 8 episode run, never failed to reinforce the image of a strong female action hero as she demonstrated her credibility. Noticeable instances ranged from fight scenes in the early episodes with back and forth play between the fight to a 1940’s radio play, thus establishing her as her own hero, as well as scenes in the episode “The Iron Ceiling” where she shows she can play alongside the boys and tell others to “man up”.
The elements within the show all marvelously pay off in the finale, as the overarching themes finally come to a head with the fight to stop Leviathan shows to the world about just how awesome Agent Carter’s character is and just how invaluable her actions are to her world. It was nice in the end to see every male office worker in the S.S.R. finally give her the standing ovation for saving the day, even if she didn’t want the credit. It just reminds you that this universe is full of different heroes, not just the super-powered ones in the movies.
In the end, I personally would love to see a season 2 of Agent Carter. There are more plot threads worth exploring such as how HYDRA as seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier was conceived, as well as the villains still unaccounted for such as Dottie and the burgeoning relationship between Peggy Carter and Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj). It would also be great if they promoted a greater tie-in to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as glimpsed in the show to further reinforced the interconnectedness.