'Movie' Review | The Consultant
One-Shot summary: Phil Coulson informs Jasper Sitwell that the World Security Council wishes that Emil Blonsky should be released from prison to join the Avengers Initiative. (Wikipedia)
It might be hard to believe, but The Consultant contains even less story than Coulson's previous One-Shot appearance, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor's Hammer. Here, it's just SHIELD agents Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernandez) discussing the World Security Council's desire for the Abomination to be included in the Avengers Initiative.
All it really does is tie in the last scene of The Incredible Hulk and explain why Tony Stark even showed up in that movie considering General Ross was going to play no part in the Avengers being formed by Nick Fury. On a surface level, that's all The Consultant is there for: to tidy things up and make sure continuity doesn't get messed up.
The fun thing is, thanks to the movies Marvel Studios have released since - and other rumours too - The Consultant can now be seen as a little more involved than it was ever intended to be. Spoilers for other MCU films ahead, so zip to the bolded summary at the bottom to make sure you don't have plot details spoiled.
The first thing that comes to mind is Sitwell not believing that Coulson has a higher clearance than him, or that said higher level even existed in the first place. Considering he turns out to be a HYDRA agent in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it's amusing to see him confused and unaware of something existing inside SHIELD that few others know about.
It also reinforces how correctly paranoid Nick Fury is (with clearance far higher even than Coulson), but it could also be seen as Fury already suspecting something is wrong within SHIELD and beginning to combat it as best he can by elevating a trusted ally (a working relationship whose beginnings are shown in Captain Marvel), eventually leading to hiring Batroc to attack the boat Cap and Black Widow assault at the start of Winter Soldier.
The other detail that might pay off actually concerns the Abomination: the World Security Council wanted him for the team, and Agents of SHIELD revealed one of the Council members to also be a member of HYDRA, which we know still exists in the MCU even after Winter Soldier thanks to the finale of Ant-Man.
Rumour is that James Gunn, recently re-hired by Disney to make Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, is also extremely interested in making a Thunderbolts movie. Also, it's likely to be a while (2023 at the earliest) before we see another Avengers movie after Endgame is released next month. Just speculation, but could we see a Dark Avengers movie instead of Thunderbolts? Abomination could certainly fill the 'Hulk' role on either team.
All of this just goes to show how much material Marvel Studios had to play with, even before Disney acquired Fox and set up the possibility of the X-Men, Deadpool or the Fantastic Four entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe. None of that speculation might pay off, but One-Shots like The Consultant allow you to do this as a fun exercise - and is why they need to be brought back!
The Consultant is a fun filler that further fleshes out the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while tying The Incredible Hulk into continuity further and smoothing over what could've been a couple of dangling plot threads. It also benefits from other movies released later to add a little more to the (very) short story being told, but that's more praise for the MCU and not The Consultant.