Updated: Nov 4, 2022
I love pop culture and I think most of us do and I have to hand it to the Marvel writers of Iron Man 2 and Agents of Shield for two fantastic comments about Ulysses in the MCU.
In an episode of Agents of SHIELD we see information hidden in a copy of Ulysses and a nice comment about wanting to take the time to one day read Ulysses in bars in Dublin.
Agent Phil Coulson played by actor Clark Gregg, turns and says, "I never read Ulysses. I always wanted to take a month off, go to Ireland, read it in pubs." With plenty of chemistry his partner Agent Melinda May played by Ming-Na Wen says, "Maybe we should go together." It is a nice light romantic upbeat moment in a series where both characters rarely reveal such intimate feelings or longing for a simpler life.
Some of the script writers might have an interest in James Joyce but it might just be a cute reference back to comments made earlier in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) about Ulysses but I absolutely love this Season 4 scene of Agents of SHIELD.
Prior to that scene, in the 2010 sequel Iron Man 2, the villainous business man Justin Hammer played by the fantastic actor Sam Rockwell describes just how smart his smart munitions are by saying, "It will make Ulysses look like it was written in crayon."
Tony Stark rival, Justin Hammer is more of a businessman than real weapon designer but he gives a great speech, well sales pitch about how good his weapons are and beautifully compares his smart munitions to Joyce's genius and masterpiece.
Selling his wares, Justin Hammer claims that if his weapon "was any smarter, it would write a book. It would write a book that would make Ulysses look like it was written in crayon."
It's a fun comment of course for anyone who has heard of Ulysses before but it is nicely layered as James Joyce's eyesight had deteriorated so much over the years that he wore an eye patch like he was running S.H.E.L.D. himself, and I believe he had to write part of Ulysses in large writing and in crayon so that he could see it better.
UNESCO City of Literature