I would not fault anybody for not watching or liking Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. due to its hot mess of a first season. However, it has improved. Does it still have issues? Indeed it does. But with those issues comes the fact that it still remains one of the most diverse casts on TV. Though aside from showrunner Maurissa Tancharoen, I wonder what that diversity looks like behind the cameras. Anyway, now there is Gabriel Luna. With his head on fire. There was a lot of hype about the Robbie Reyes incarnation of Ghost Rider leading up to the season 4 premiere. By and large, it held up. Here are just a few points I remember and talked about with friends in person and via the internets.
The opening scene was the best to date, due in large in part to the tone. For a few minutes, it almost felt like the dark and violent Marvel world found on Netflix. There was likely more blood in that first Ghost Rider take down than all of last season. Speaking of the opening — okay, the Quake getting dressed scene — Ms. Bennet doth have nice buttocks, but it felt forced. Like a monster truck announcer screaming “Welcome to the later time slot!” followed by a hair rock guitar solo. Take it easy production team. It all would have worked without it. We all have Netflix too.
That scene aside, Quake does look good embracing the darkness, ready for action. RIP Daisy. May’s first appearance training her crew was also spectacular as she (and her stunt double) casually lands the flying armbar. Ming-Na Wen don’t quit. The more Mack the better. Henry Simmons just owns his scenes. And, look; it’s Yo-Yo! I’m there for whatever is happening between those two. Now, hopefully Joey gets back in this. Hear me writers?
Coulson seems to be struggling getting used to his new role as just another agent having fallen down the S.H.I.E.L.D. ladder, while Simmons has climbed up. The tension in scenes with Simmons and May over their security clearances were the best dramatic moments. The Weird Science all the way to Ex-Machina trope with Fitz, Radcliffe, and the lady robot didn’t work for me, though. I guess we’ll see where it goes. Sigh.
Okay, let’s get to the man of the hour… season. I think it’s too early to judge Gabriel Luna’s acting and I’m not too familiar with his work before this. However, with the little I’ve seen, I feel like I’ve Listerined the Nic Cage taste out of my mouth. His short battle with Quake was cool, too. (Please don’t turn them into a couple, writers.) Holy shit on the effects though. The “Hell Charger” (a ’69 Dodge Charger, not that I want one or anything…) looked great and Robbie’s transformation was way better than I expected.
By the way, Luna is pretty active and responsive on Twitter and I got to compliment the show’s VFX supervisor through him:
Watching a badass Latinx superhero take down Aryan Brotherhood fascists kind of made my day. It was cool to see Luna’s awareness of the weight and importance of his role in terms of diversity and inclusion too.
Not sure what all is happening with the new villain, but I’m interested. Nice cliffhanger ending related to her, too. I read that AoS will tie into Doctor Strange like it has with other past Marvel flicks. I wonder how deep this whole darker more mystical AoS goes? Are we getting Mephisto up in this? If you’ve been consistently watching the show, it’s been an evolution from few super-powered folk, to the introduction of Inhumans, to now being a vehicle for new (bigger name) Marvel characters. If you haven’t watched and are curious, now would be the time to check it out.
P.S., is it Friday, September 30 yet? It’s a holiday, right? Hopefully, we’ll be seeing the live action version of this soon: