The Marvel Cinematic Universe has some big things on the horizon - Iron Man 3, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Thor: The Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy and possibly Ant-Man - but to tide fans over until those feature films arrive at a theater near you between 2013 - 2014, we will also be getting some new Marvel "One-Shot" short films, a la The Consultant and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer - the "Phase One" shorts featuring Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg).
The newest short - entitled Item 47 - tells the story of what happens when a couple - played by Mean Girls star Lizzy Caplan and Flags of Our Fathers star Jesse Bradford - who discover one of the otherworldly weapons left behind by the Chitauri (the alien hordes in Avengers) after they attacked NYC.
The clip shows Claire (Caplan) and Benny (Bradford) sitting in a car - presumably somewhere in NYC - debating the course of action they are about to embark upon. If you are not yet aware, that course involves using the Chitauri weapon - which Benny has apparently had a hand in unlocking - to commit a string of brazen crimes - that is, until S.H.I.E.L.D. comes calling. Two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents (Thor's Maximiliano Hernández and Lost's Titus Welliver) are the ones handed the task of stopping Benny and Claire (like "Bonny and Clyde," get it?).
These Marvel One-Shot shorts have been almost universally lauded as a fun addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while the "Phase One" shorts did the job of keeping fans connected with one of their favorite characters (Coulson), this "Phase Two" short seems to be doing the work of actually expanding the scope of the universe while simultaneously grounding things in a more realistic world, by giving us relatable human characters to interact with all the superhero fantasy elements.
Marvel has done something similar in their comic books in recent years, with reoccurring installments of titles like Frontline, Embedded and (to lesser extent) Home Front being employed during various Marvel crossover events - "World War Hulk," "Civil War," "Secret Invasion," "Seige," and "Fear Itself" - in order to provide a more grounded (usually journalistic) perspective on all the superhero craziness taking place. While those titles have been of varying quality, it's good to see that Marvel Studios is investing legitimate effort (and budget) into making their one-shots as effective and enjoyable as possible.
Item 47 will be included as part of The Avengers Blu-ray, which hits store shelves on September 25th, 2012.