Marvel One-Shot: Item 47 (2012 short film)

Posted: October 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

**A few years ago, Marvel made the decision to create short films set within the MCU that would tie into previously established plotlines and flesh-out their world a bit more. The first two, The Consultant and A Funny Thing Happened on the way to Thor’s Hammer, were set between the scenes of movies. Item 47, however, is the first to create a new story that spins out of an established film. This trend would continue in the other shorts that Marvel produced and, in a way, their television series that succeeded these One-Shots. Here’s Brian Baer to talk about why Item 47 is the best of those shorts. Enjoy!**
47
One of the true highlights of the “Marvel One-Shot” series was Item 47, a  ground-level short film dealing with the ramifications of The Avengers’ finale. After the destruction died down and invading aliens dropped dead, what happened to their stuff? In the clean-up, SHIELD rounded up all of the Chitauri technology with the exception of one laser rifle. The alien tech fell into the laps of a troublemaking young couple, who decide to rob banks. This, of course, puts them on a collision course with SHIELD, who aren’t about to turn a blind eye to a couple of losers firing alien weapons during a daylight robbery.

“Hands up or we’ll…do what ever this thing does!”

The short was thrown together by two MCU mainstays: producer Louis D’Esposito directed a script from Eric Pearson, who wrote most of the One-Shots. Both men were also heavily involved in Marvel’s next short, Agent Carter, and the TV series it spawned (season one is out now on Blu-ray!). Because of this, Item 47 thoroughly feels like a Marvel movie, despite its limited budget and running time.

It follows the MCU formula perfectly: There’s the focus on continuity (tying up the loose ends of The Avengers), the all-star cast (Lizzy Caplan and Jesse Bradford), all the sweetness, humor, and fast-paced dialogue, and even a fun, frenetic action scene towards the end.

This is worth mentioning because, like Agent Carter, Item 47 was used as a pilot and proving ground for a Marvel TV series. When Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD debuted, however, all of the concepts that worked so well in the short film had been jettisoned. Caplan and Bradford were never seen again. (Agent Blake popped up once or twice, and Sitwell cameoed before the events of The Winter Soldier.) The AoS show runners, who did not include Pearson or D’Esposito, instead made the problematic decision to resurrect Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and skewed towards the more “safe” television formula of shows like Criminal Minds.

I kinda hoped Sitwell would become the next Coulson...

I kinda hoped Sitwell would become the next Coulson…

As such, Agents of SHIELD has struggled to feel tonally connected to the greater MCU. While certain episodes have reacted to the movies, they’ve never filled in blanks or answered questions. The fight scenes, humor, or dialogue have never felt completely, authentically Marvel, and the show has never felt wholly necessary. This disconnect is palpable and disappointing, and despite the resurrected rumblings of its spin-off, Marvel’s Most Wanted, response has never been more than lukewarm.

“See you soon on Agents of SHIELD!”

“Nope!”

It’s a shame, because we’d already seen what small budget SHIELD exploits can look like. If the studio had delivered an Item 47-style TV series, the breadth and interconnectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe could look very different right now.

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