Bad Penny Films of Vimeo has found and physically connected all of the interrelated cause and effect events shared between Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It’s over four hours long, but if you can get past the juxtaposition in production budgets, it works great as a storytelling device, and highlights what Marvel has been doing right the past several years.
Bad Penny Films’ extended fan edit of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Marvel’s ongoing cinematic success is due in large part to the careful orchestration of a shared universe. Prior to its numbered phases, characters and storylines in comic-book movies were self-contained events. Then Nick Fury appeared in Tony Stark’s living room after Iron Man’s credits, and Marvel changed the game. With baby steps that included Thor hammer-stingers and Stark family cameos, we were prepped for the idea of a movie setup like The Avengers, which would have seemed like a jumbled mess of fan-service a few short years ago. Marvel’s success isn’t solely due to creating fun, reliable (if a tad safe and formulaic) movies; its genius is in carefully constructing properties that are distinct, yet intricately related. They’ve turned their movies into the cinematic equivalent of similarly-themed LEGO playsets that snap together.
Bad Penny Films underscores this relationship, in a way that’s entertaining to watch. Start with last year’s Captain America: The Winter Solider (if you haven’t gotten around to seeing it, but preserving the plot’s shroud of secrecy is still of paramount importance for some reason, please stop reading). The big reveal that S.H.I.E.L.D. was infiltrated by Hydra worked because it had real consequences for the story. The movie closed by thrusting its heroes into an Empire Strikes Back-style retreat. More than that, it also had an impact on the Marvel Cinematic Universe that played out on the small screen. Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. got off to a rough start, not knowing how far into the periphery to place its superheroes, and was mired in the type of clichéd banter that could be found on Hawaii Five-0, or any number of other shows. It had already started to find it’s mojo, but The Winter Soldier was the super-serum shot in the arm it really needed. Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. was gifted a threat both existential and organic. Most fans of the show are likely fans of the MCU phases, and left The Winter Soldier eager to see what would happen. What’s more, knowing how Marvel operates, they wanted to go back and see what clues and easter eggs were put into Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. before Winter Soldier was released.
It’s arguable that the enjoyment comes from the same place as the success, and to really get the full experience, it’s best to consume these two separately. That being said, having a fan go in and pluck all of the related material to create as complete a Hydra mosaic as possible is pretty entertaining… if you’ve got four hours to kill.