Revisiting Agent Coulson's Death
Are we SURE Phil Coulson was killed in The Avengers?
Like millions of Marvel fans I raced to the store yesterday to grab a multi-disc copy of The Avenger's. I wasn't home from work for 10 minutes before the Blu Ray disc was playing - first deleted scenes, then the gag reel, a few of the other extras, and finally, my 7th viewing of the film.
Perhaps others have written about this on CBM in the past, I honestly don't recall, but I don't remember seeing any detailed critiques of the subject of Agent Coulson's "death." Yes, there have been interesting theories about Phil-as-Vision and so on, which are compelling. I was especially intriqued by the artist's rendering of Clark Gregg in the image of Vision. But, after my latest viewing of the film, I was left wondering: WHY HAVE SO MANY ASSUMED AGENT COULSON TO BE DEAD?
To make my case, I'd ask that you consider the following points:
1) Clark Gregg has a multi-film contract, and has not satisfied his remaining commitments with Marvel films. It may be that his character will pop up from time to time in flashbacks, but that seems dull, at best. Or, which I admit is somewhat exciting, perhaps it will be revealed that "Phil," as Tony Stark refers to him, is, in fact, the android Vision, and his character will assume an entirely different story arc. Maybe Loki, or some other alien/god/creature will reappear in Avengers deux in the image of Phil Coulson in an attempt to trick the team. But none of these scenarios seems likely, right?
2) When Coulson is stabbed by Loki, Fury reports that Agent Coulson is "down," but he is never declared DEAD. We aren't shown a body, there isn't a memorial service of any kind, and virtually all subsequent references to his death are subtle. No one, for example, explicitly states anything like "You killed Phil Coulson!...." So this leaves an opening.
3) Rather than relying on traditional comic book magic and, say, having Coulson's life restored on Asgaard by Odin's hands, wouldn't it just make sense to reveal in the second Avenger film, or in one of the solo projects, that Coulson, in fact, survived? There wasn't time or need during the war to tell the others he lived.
4) Fury's trickery. The Captain America cards weren't in Coulson's jacket when he was killed. Agent Hill questions this - they were in his locker. Fury did this to motivate the team, smearing blood on the cards before tossing the stack at Rogers. But, if he was willing to go to this extreme to pull on the crew's emotions, why not go one step further and hide Coulson's survival? Before Thor is launched out of the Heli-Carrier, he sees Coulson's apparently fatal wound. But, couldn't he have been rushed away and eventually revived by the medical team?
5) Coulson is wildly popular and one could argue a formidable and much needed character in the MCU. Imagine the joy of audiences in Avengers 2 if it is revealed the has lived to fight another day.
And, finally, my 6th piece of evidence: After the war, as the team assembles in the park, they give ceremonial good byes. If Coulson is dead, isn't this the perfect spot to show them remembering him, at a grave, or in some sort of ceremony?
I may not be the first, but I'd like to argue that there is a gap in this storyline, that a lot of assumptions have been made based on comments made by the cast OUTSIDE OF THE FILM ITSELF. One need look no further than TDKR and the John Blake character to see that sometimes audiences are deliberately deceived. I look for Agent Phil Coulson to return, either in Captain America: Winter Soldier, or more likely in the sequel Avengers 2.
Apologies if this thesis has been offered by other contributors to this site. But, after viewing the film again and enjoying the release of the disc set, I wanted to throw my hat in the ring, to lay down a marker re. the sequel.
So, Puny Gods, am I wrong?
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