I'll be totally honest—the first time I met Agent Coulson, I didn't really pay attention to the man. When someone is in the overwhelming presence of one Tony Stark, it's hard to make any sort of effect, unless, say, you're wearing mother's drapes. At the start of his appearances in the Marvel universe (in Iron Man), Coulson is quiet and understated, the kind of man who works behind the scenes while the (not really so) super-secret boy band gets all the credit.
When we met again in Iron Man 2, Coulson had grown some, along with his organization. In Thor, he was even more present, but it wasn't until I watched "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer" that Coulson's position as a Fictional Fancy was cemented. (I'll wait while you watch it. Yes, even if you have already.)
I mean, really. The man is often relegated to the background, and yet: He can turn a bag of flour into a weapon.
I'm not a fan of Coulson for his witty quips or his flowing locks; for me it's his wonderfully understated personality that makes him such a great character. He can be completely overlooked by most people (i.e., "Phil? Uh, his first name is Agent.") and yet there's just so much more to him (i.e., his being a total Captain America fanboy).
By the time ... that thing ... happened in The Avengers, Coulson had grown to become my favorite Marvel movie-verse character. With the exception of Loki (which is a really strange other choice, considering), he still is—a large part of me has never bought in to him actually dying.
I, for one, can't wait to see where we'll meet next.
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