The spy movie genre still remains popular amongst film goers even in this age of superhero dominance. To demonstrate that, here are three upcoming spy movies that fans should pay attention to.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION
Tom Cruise and company are back to save the world and this time, they face their most formidable challenge ever – a nation of enemy spies (!) and Cruise himself has to up the ante (performing some very dangerous stunts) to provide that box office spark! Opens on 31st July.
THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.
Now, the original TV series meant quite a bit to me when I was a kid in the 60s – though to be honest I can’t remember a thing about the show – so I suppose I have a certain stake in wanting this to be a success. That said, the trailer looks quite silly but am hoping that the charisma of Henry Cavill (as Napoleon Solo) will carry the movie through. Opens on 14th August.
The grandaddy of all spy movies is still going strong. The James Bond franchise has outlasted all pretenders and this time round the Daniel Craig-Bond finally encounters his arch-nemesis SPECTRE. Opens on 6th November.
… still there’s more …
Things are finally cooking in Agents of SHIELD! Asgardian Lady Sif returns chasing a Kree warrior (in disguise) and the latter explains Kree history regarding the Diviners, Terragenesis and (without saying the word) the Inhumans. Also, Skye is outed as an Inhuman and Coulson, May and team do their best to protect her but things are not peachy within the ranks. Mack and Bobbie are working against their team-mates and whilst it seems par for the course for a spy drama, it is an annoying plot device after all the HYDRA nonsense.
What is significant is that it is obvious that the Agents of SHIELD will feature strongly as a lead-in to the Inhumans movie – which is still years away though. It is great though that the MCU continues to be brought more into play – just resolve that Mack-Bobbie conspiracy ASAP!
After the shocking (literally!) events of the mid-season finale, the Agents of SHIELD have to re-group and figure out how to move forward in light of Tripp’s death. Even as Skye is stuck in quarantine, Raina has been transformed into a spiky Inhuman (although she seems more like a typical Marvel Comic Mutant – Damn you, Fox) and is struggling to adapt to her new body and abilities. We are also given more information about Gordon, the teleporting Inhuman who will probably end up as Raina’s mentor.
As for Coulson, he takes lethal action against HYDRA as revenge for Tripp’s demise and it is ruthlessly effective, to say the least. Mac and Bobbi seem to have a shared secret (Are they HYDRA agents? That would be boring!) whilst Fitz helps Skye to keep her own transformation a secret from their SHIELD team mates. Interesting set ups for the conflicts to come. I do hope that more tie-ups with the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be seen in the coming episodes.
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve Rogers speaks to an aged Peggy Carter and tells her “knowing you helped found S.H.I.E.L.D. is half the reason I stayed”.
When Agent Carter was first announced, perhaps many thought that the story of how Carter “helped found S.H.I.E.L.D.” would be told. Instead, what we got was how Carter was marginalised at the SSR but still ultimately played a major role in stopping Leviathan from executing a diabolical plot to kill thousands of innocent people and take revenge on Howard Stark.
This final episode of the mini-series does what one expects it to, and with much aplomb. Hayley Atwell, Dominic Cooper and James D’Arcy provide the star power as Carter, Stark and Jarvis as required, whereas Chad Michael Murray (Agent Thompson) and Enver Gjokaj (Agent Sousa) are functionary at best. So while Agent Carter was a fun ride into the post-war MCU, hopefully subsequent mini-series will explore more seriously the founding of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Carter’s role in the same.
Agent Carter has done well to make connections with MCU films (unlike say, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and has exploited well the strengths of having a shared universe. Let’s hope there’s more to come.
Things are looking grim for Peggy and the SSR. She has been captured and accused of high treason whilst Dr Ivchenko is free to work his manipulative hypnotism and instruct fellow Leviathan agent Dottie in his evil schemes. Jarvis tries his best to assist but ends up making things worse. Thompson and Souza have mixed emotions about Peggy as the evidence conflicts with their experience of Peggy himself. Chief Dooley has no such qualms and falls prey easily to Ivchenko’s machinations.
Slowly but surely, Thompson and Souza come to their senses and realize that Peggy is telling the truth but it is too late for poor Chief Dooley and pays the ultimate price for trusting Ivchenko. This episode also reveals what Ivchenko’s plans are and it is surprisingly similar to that of Richmond Valentine’s in Kingsman: The Secret Service. Great minds think alike? Or is there a paucity of ideas in the ‘genre’?
Either way, it sets up brilliantly for the final episode. Considering how long it took Agents of SHIELD not to suck, I say give Agent Carter more episodes!
Peggy is in big trouble and so is the SSR. The agents of Leviathan have the upper hand and SSR is not even aware of this. SSR wrongfully accuse Peggy of being a spy and most of the episode is spent demonstrating Peggy evades capture until the end where she is subdued in unique fashion, to say the least.
With only two episodes left, it will be intriguing to see how Peggy and the SSR get out of this mess.
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Written by Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn
Starring Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Taron Egerton, Michael Caine.
This movie adaptation of the Mark Millar – Dave Gibbons comic (co-plotted by Vaughn) has a lot going for it. Strong cast, comic timing and fantastical settings. Underpinned by Millar’s stock in trade themes of the unlikely hero being thrust into an unimaginable new world (previously explored in Kick Ass and Wanted).
Finally, Peggy Carter gets the respect and credit due to her in the SSR. “Iron Ceiling” finds Carter traveling into Eastern Europe to team up with The Howling Commandos (from Captain America: The First Avenger) and also introduces to us the Soviet program that made Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow.
Now, this is what you do with a TV series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe! It’s a pity that there are only 3 episodes left as Agent Carter has proven itself more viable than Agents of SHIELD, thus far!
As predicted last time out, the suggestion that Agent Keen would be spilling the beans about her childhood trauma and the location of the Fulcrum was really a cock tease. It was very much back to the status quo after the events of this Luther Braxton two-parter. And is anyone else getting annoyed by the Illuminati characters that are lurking ubiquitously in the background? Although, to be fair, the ending was intriguing enough to keep things boiling nicely in The Blacklist till the end of the season.
The mid-season premiere opens with Reddington being arrested by the CIA as The Who’s “Magic Bus” plays. But of course, nothing is as it seems as the show introduces us to Luther Braxton (Ron Perlman), a high stakes thief incarcerated at a CIA black site – whom Reddington is trying to get to (by getting arrested).
All par for the course for The Blacklist but this time, the plot gets into the whole mystery of Reddington’s connection with Elizabeth Keen. Finally! Of begins to as we can expect that the rest of this season will devote time and effort to revealing the deep secrets that underpin the series. Or be a massive cock tease. We shall see!