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Film / The Consultant

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The Consultant is a 2011 short film directed by Leythum and written by Eric Pearson.

Set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Consultant is the first installment of the Marvel One-Shots series, and was included in the home video release of Thor.

After the events of Iron Man 2 and The Incredible Hulk, the World Security Council wants to release Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) —The Abomination— from prison to recruit him for the Avengers Initiative, against the wishes of S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).

Because of this, it's up to Agents Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Jasper Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernández) to brainstorm a way to keep Blonksy's recruitment from happening.

The Consultant is notable for being the first of the Marvel One-Shots, and it further establishes Coulson's character ahead of his death in The Avengers, and eventual resurrection and starring turn in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..


The Consultant contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Bar Brawl: It's subtly implied this might have been the result of General Ross and Stark's argument.
  • Batman Gambit: The short has Agents Coulson and Sitwell get out of the WSC's request that the Abomination be placed on the Avengers instead of the Hulk by having General Ross refuse the request. They send Tony Stark, in the hopes he'll piss Ross off and get him to refuse to release Blonsky. It works.
  • Brick Joke: When Coulson enters the diner at the beginning of the short, Sitwell casually recommends their pancakes. Guess what Coulson's eating when Sitwell comes in the next morning.
  • Classified Information:
    • Coulson asks Sitwell about his clearance level and as a result he's either he's high enough (the lower range of "Top Secret" in the Marvel Universe) or he didn't think it was important, since he tells him the information he needed to anyway.
      Sitwell: It's Level 6. Like you. ... Come on, there's a Level 7?
    • Advertisement:
    • Sitwell's crack about a "Level 7" could be Foreshadowing to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which gives the concept of Level 7 clearance a more proper introduction. By this time, both of them are at least Level 8.
  • A Day in the Limelight: For Coulson and Sitwell.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The WSC have a big mention (and are a major part of the plot) in The Consultant before their main appearance in The Avengers.
  • Expert Consultant: This is the one thing we see Tony do as a consultant. The next time we see him he becomes an Avenger.
  • Get Out!: According to Coulson, Ross's reaction (as predicted in the Batman Gambit) to Tony was to try to have him removed from the bar when he became too irritating.
  • Gilligan Cut: Two.
    • From the first talk between Coulson and Sitwell about the situation... to the below.
      Agent Coulson: You know, I'm thinking for this we need a slightly different skillset [than a patsy]. If we want the General to refuse this request, then we have to send someone that will truly annoy him. Someone arrogant and abrasive, with an utter disdain for authority, someone who will offend the general to his very core—
      Sitwell: You're talking about the consu—
      Agent Coulson: No I'm not.
      Sitwell: You just described him to a T.
      Agent Coulson: I'm telling you right now, stop it. I am not calling the consultant.
      [cut to (a clip of) the The Stinger of The Incredible Hulk; Tony Stark — not Iron Man — was the consultant, hired as such at the end of Iron Man 2]
    • Then, from the end of that scene to this:
      Tony Stark: I hear you have an unusual problem.
      Ross: You should talk.
      Tony Stark: You should listen.
      [cut to Sitwell and Coulson at the restaurant again]
      Sitwell: So, how'd it go?
      Coulson: Mission accomplished.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: The World Security Council thinks of Blonsky as a war hero and pins the blame on Banner for the Harlem incident. Thankfully, everyone else involved know better.
  • I Am the Noun: Inverted. Coulson tells Sitwell that his patsy act "is legendary. In fact, when I think of the word 'patsy'..."
  • Idiot Ball: The whole reason they're even in this situation is that the World Security Council wants Emil Blonsky in the Avengers roster, considering him a war hero who's been wrongly accused and pinning the blame on Banner. Everyone in S.H.I.E.L.D. from Fury on down opposes.
  • Noodle Incident: What exactly went down between Ross and Tony that enraged the former so much is never even discussed. Only the result of the sabotaged negotiation is discussed.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Sitwell says he does "a great patsy", and offers to do it so S.H.I.E.L.D. can sabotage General Ross's meeting with Fury.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: We don't get to see much of Tony and Ross's argument, since it's Stock Footage.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: The scene with Tony Stark at the end of The Incredible Hulk gains some context thanks to The Consultant.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: In reaction to Ross's Get Out! (see above), Tony buys the bar where they had been talking, and schedules it for demolition.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: After being informed of the World Security Council's decision to put the Abomination on the Avengers, Sitwell and Coulson start plotting a way to stop this.
  • Stealth Insult: Coulson's reaction to Sitwell's talk about his "patsy". The "stealth" part isn't very heavy, since Sitwell gives him a Preemptive "Shut Up".