Welcome to VOCIFERY, my attempt to re-watch every piece of media in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – every movie, every television series, every one-shot, every web series, and every tie-in comic book, using the Wikipedia entry on the MCU as a guide, before the release of Avengers 4 in May 2019. Join me as I write my thoughts about what I’m seeing, as I see it!
Also, spoilers follow – if you’re worried about that kind of thing, view before reading.
The Consultant one-shot (2011)
A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Thor’s Hammer one-shot (2011)
I’ve always been a bit confused by these one-shot short films – firstly by their purpose in the wider cinematic universe, then secondly why they stopped making them at all; in all, five were created, but the last one appeared almost five years ago.
For now, we’re talking about the first two produced, both of which centre on Agent Phil Coulson (the connective tissue of the MCU), and both of which were released in 2011 on the Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger blu-ray discs respectively.
The Consultant is set between the end and the post-credits scene of The Incredible Hulk, starts with Coulson wandering in to a diner and sitting in a booth with Agent Jasper Sitwell. The pair discuss “the team” – presumably referring to the Avengers Initiative – and Coulson describes how the World Security Council has ordered S.H.I.E.L.D. to add Emil Blonsky, the Abomination (and Banner’s primary foe in the third act of TIH), to their ranks.
One problem though: Blonsky is in the custody of General Ross, and Coulson has been tasked with sending someone to meet with Ross and request Blonsky’s release into the hands of S.H.I.E.L.D. Thus, the pair are meeting in private to discuss how best to derail this plan, settling on sending in someone so abrasive that Ross will say no. They settle on The Consultant.
Thus, we see The Incredible Hulk’s post-credits scene again, Ross inevitably says no (thus explaining why he didn’t appear in the MCU again until Captain America: Civil War), and Blonsky never makes it to The Avengers, leaving the angry, giant green guy duties to Banner.
A fairly straight forward little short, well executed, and providing a little bit more connectivity between the various films. And it certainly plays into fan speculation; the fact that Blonsky is alive means he could come back later – and the reappearance of Ross in Civil War (alongside Zemo, no less) sent fans into a frenzy as they imagined some kind of Thunderbolts film joining the MCU in the future (the Thunderbolts are a team of reformed villains that often includes Ross and Zemo).
A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Thor’s Hammer, meanwhile, is a remarkably disconnected short that only serves to fill in a little of Coulson’s time between his departure from Stark’s estate in Iron Man 2 and his arrival in New Mexico at the site of Thor’s Hammer, shown in the Iron Man 2 post-credits sequence and again in Thor.
The one-shot finds him foiling an armed robbery at a gas station and, as far as I can tell, only exists to show how kickass Agent Phil Coulson is, as he uses his SHIELD training to disarm the robbers with only a packet of flour.
So, overall, a mixed bag – one film that adds something substantial and one that does not. But both of them serve to show ways that Marvel Studios could expand the reach of the cinematic universe, filling in gaps and adding detail that makes the world feel alive and vibrant and big.
Next: Fury’s Big Week and Black Widow Strikes tie-in comics!