Marvel One-Shot: Item 47 (2012)

2013 #75a
Louis D’Esposito | 11 mins | Blu-ray | 2.35:1 | USA / English | 12

Item 47Included on the Blu-ray releases of both The Avengers and (unlike Joss Whedon’s commentary or the tip of Loki’s spear) Avengers Assemble, Item 47 is the only of Marvel’s One-Shot shorts to date that’s actually connected to the film it’s released with.* It was greeted with great interest from fans due to its length — after the insanely short first two films, this was of such a length that it mattered; it felt like it was practically its own feature. Perhaps the memory cheats, though, because in reality it’s all of a whopping 11 minutes.

The other, more pertinent, reaction was to its quality: some fans seemed to hate it; nay, despise it. Only in geek/comic book communities could a short bonus feature inspire such vitriol. Personally, I thought it was quite good. I don’t really know what some fans expect from these short films — they’re not very long, so you can’t dig into a complex story, and they don’t have an enormous budget for big-screen spectacle (recently, director/producer Louis D’Esposito answered a question about if they could do a short starring Loki or someone by saying they could do one set in Asgard or with a super-powered character, but it would be about 30 seconds long before the budget was used up).

With that considered, the story is quite solid: after the Battle of New York, an alien gun falls into the hands of young couple Benny (Jesse Bradford, TV’s Guys with Kids) and Claire (Lizzy Caplan, TV’s Masters of Sex). When they use it for nefarious purposes, it attracts the attention of S.H.I.E.L.D., who send in Agent Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernández, TV’s The Americans… and also Thor, Marvel One-Shot: The Consultant, Avengers Assemble, and next year’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier). Lizzy Caplan grips the big weaponThis is exactly the kind of tale I presume the imminent TV series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be telling. Considering fans seem ultra-hyped for that, I’m not sure why they dislike Item 47 so much; or, alternatively, what they think MAoS will contain that this doesn’t. Well, character development and Agent Coulson, of course — but then your average episode of MAoS will run about five times longer than this short, so (again) what do you expect?!

Item 47 is precisely what I think you should expect from these short films: a fun little bonus tale set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s an entertaining few minutes that aren’t going to change anyone’s world, but are worth a fan’s time.

3 out of 5

* Previously: The Consultant, released on Thor, connects Iron Man to The Incredible Hulk; the lengthily-titled second short, released on Captain America, connects Iron Man 2 to Thor; and the new one, Agent Carter, released on Iron Man 3, is connected to Captain America. Got that? ^

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