REVIEW: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer [2011]

Score: 6/10 | ★ ★ ½


Rating: NR | Runtime: 4 minutes | Release Date: October 25th, 2011 (USA)
Studio: Marvel Studios / Paramount Pictures
Director(s): Leythum
Writer(s): Eric Pearson

“I also have this gun …”

Okay, it may be a glorified commercial for Acura, but A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer is like the title says: funny. Using the same crew as The Consultant—director Leythum and writer Eric Pearson—the interlude bridging Agent Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) appearance in Iron Man 2 with Thor utilizes all fresh material this time. It’s slight, goofy, and very self-conscious, but I can’t help feeling amused and satisfied nonetheless. My only qualm is in wondering why it took so long to let Coulson loose in “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” if we already knew he had a Matrix-level aerobic prowess two to three years previously.

The film hinges on Gregg’s deadpan reactions and ability to be self-deprecating as he feigns incompetence with those who are quick to dismiss him as a bureaucratic suit and little else. It is the beauty of his character and why so many fans appreciate his inclusion in Marvel’s universe. Sadly the TV show moved away from it a bit while introducing his castmates; a necessary evil that led to some boring episodes before finally getting into the swing of things late in the season. This is the Coulson we want to see on a week-to-week basis and as such the short proves a great precursor for what’s to come as long as the filmmakers understand exactly what his appeal is and don’t overuse it.

Simply looking to grab a sugary snack while he fills up the aforementioned leased automobile, Coulson unwittingly finds himself in the middle of a robbery by two shotgun-wielding assailants. Subtly interjecting when they ask if the cashier (Jessica Manuel) is alone and than again to innocently explain how he is in possession of a gun, the comedy is effective from start to finish with help from a light score. Complete with a couple oneliners that hit big, Coulson’s smug pleasure in showing “his stuff”, and an Easter Egg courtesy of Cybertek’s parent company the Roxxon Corporation’s logo, the film becomes a treat for fans willing to shell over the money to buy Captain America: The First Avenger on DVD. And that’s enough.

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