Black Widow’s introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe took place 11 years ago. And, in a way, she mattered a lot. She was the first character crossed in another Marvel character’s film. Yes, we had seen Tony Stark in a post-credit scene from “The Incredible Hulk” – a Marvel movie that many forget – but Black Widow’s appearance in “Iron Man 2” showed us that any hero, at any time, can appear in another character movie.
For a while, Black Widow – real name Natasha Romanoff – played this role. She, like Samuel L. Jackson’s Nicky Fury, would appear in different films and add an element of surprise. She also woven the MCU, although she did so subtly. She was still there, still in the background. Hidden in the dark, but still weaving its web. She has become a staple character in the entire MCU without ever having her own movie, unlike her male counterparts.
Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy (led by Star-Lord), Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, Spider-Man, all have seen movies before Black Widow.
When Marvel released their first female-centric solo film, it wasn’t Black Widow at the center. It was Captain Marvel – a character who had never appeared in an MCU movie before.
And then, finally, we learned that a “Black Widow” movie was due out in early 2020. All eyes were on May. Black Widow in her first solo film – a film about a superheroine to kick off the next phase of MCU projects. The first film of the post-“Avengers: Endgame” era. While it takes before “Endgam” and “Infinity War,” it’s still considered a Phase 4 movie, ushering us into a new era of Marvel.
The pandemic has struck. And the film was delayed. Delayed. Delayed.
But it has always lingered in the background of our entertainment minds. “Black Widow” hid in the dark, weaving its web of hype and buildup this time around.
For so long, fans wanted this movie, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said at a press conference last week on “Black Widow.” And now the time has finally come. The movie is here. And the cast and crew have a simple message: it’s special.
But not all spinoff movies, especially ones like “Black Widow,” have been successful, according to Kendall Phillips, professor of pop culture at Syracuse University. Movies like “Electra” and “Catwoman” are great examples of female-centric superhero movies that didn’t garner massive audiences and fell into the depths of history. (Okay, DC Comics movies have never been as well received as Marvel movies – at least in recent years at the box office. The original “Justice League,” for example, made $ 229 million at the US box office in its first four months. At the time, “Justice League” sold less at the box office than 13 of the 18 Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Solo films such as “Doctor Strange” ($ 232 million), “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” ($ 259 million) and “Iron Man 2” ($ 312 million) topped the film’s sales. )
“Black Widow” does, however, provide another opportunity for a female-centric film to achieve box office success.
And there’s a lot to do with this success because “Black Widow” kicks us into a new era of Marvel. Could a movie like this – about an older supporting character – attract Marvel fans to future stories? Will a Phase 1-3 character story get people excited about Phase 4?
“The key question is whether this will attract a new generation of fans who will engage in Marvel’s next phase,” Phillips said. “Setting up ‘Black Widow’ as the Phase 4 opening makes a lot of sense if it can successfully draw existing fans into the next big story arc.”
How “Black Widow” bridges the gap between the old and the new
Black Widow entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a boxer capable woman in “Iron Man 2,” one of the first MCU films. She then showed that she was a part of SHIELD – surprising even Tony Stark, who simply saw her as an attractive woman. But she proved him wrong. She was a superhero with strength, power and wisdom. But she was seen as – well, let’s let Johansson explain it.
“You think back to Iron Man 2 and even though it was really fun and there were a lot of good times, the character is so sexualized, you know?” Johansson said, according to HelloBelle.com.
Black Widow was “spoken as if she was a piece of something, like a possession or a thing or whatever,” Johansson said, per HelloBelle.com. Stark flirts with her often in the movie. It is only later that the film shows that she is a true heroine.
But times have changed, and so has Johansson. She said at the time that self-esteem was “probably measured against this type of comment.” Now she has a higher opinion of herself.
“Now the people, the young girls, are getting a much more positive message, but it’s amazing to be a part of this change and to be able to come out to the other side and be a part of this old story, but also to move on.” , she said. told reporters, according to Collider. “Evolve. I think that’s pretty cool.”
The role of Black Widow always helped Johansson grow too. She said at the “Black Widow” press conference I attended that she is now “definitely more comfortable taking risks and more comfortable jumping into … the unknown. “because of the role.
She grew up. His role has grown. And Marvel has grown up too. “Black Widow”, in a way, it’s Marvel saying “my bad”. They’re honoring their greatest MCU female superhero with her own film as a way to kick off this diverse new world of characters. For a film that has been delayed for a long time and a hero lurking in the shadows, this is a truly special moment.
They rule with a strong, female-centric hero – who has been benched in the past. She is lucky to start. And expectations come with it.
Johansson, although the star of the film, doesn’t think of herself with “Black Widow”. She understands that this bridges the gap between two different eras – the original era of Iron Man, Captain America, and Thanos. Now, she’s excited to bring new people to the MCU and expand the world. This includes Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, Rachel Weisz as Melina.
“It’s very exciting,” Johansson said.
She added, “It’s wonderful to see people walk into something with gusto and wide-eyed and experience the amazing world of Marvel and make these huge productions.”
One of those people is Weisz, who plays Natasha’s mother Melina who said she liked stories of women, by women, with women. This is what made the film so special to her. Everything revolves around women, and that empowers women.
“It was wonderful to tell a story with three complicated and strong women,” she said.
The past and future of the MCU
“Black Widow” may seem like an odd movie choice to kick off the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Why is the story of a dead Avenger directing the next phase of MCU projects? Should we be worrying about a character that we know won’t make it past “Avengers: Endgame?”
Phillips, the professor from Syracuse, has said that “Black Widow” is a film that will fill the gap between phases of the MCU.
“‘Black Widow’ is a chance to reconnect with one of the original main Avengers and potentially move the universe forward, ”he told me in an email. “It also seems likely that this movie will be doing the fans a real service. To many fans, the death of “Black Widow” seemed underestimated, especially in light of Tony Stark’s passing. So, here we get a victory lap for a crucial female character who has never really been featured in the previous films.
This explains another reason why “Black Widow” is actually the perfect movie to kick off the new MCU movie series. Marvel embraces diversity. Captain America is black. ABlack Widow, a female character, has her own MCU movie. Elizabeth Olsen is a popular star with “WandaVision”. Marvel is releasing “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” – a film about an Asian-American superhero. “Eternals” will have a large and diverse cast of characters. Natalie Portman as Jane Foster will direct “Thor: Love and Thunder” as the new Thor. There is so much diversity to come, and it all starts with “Black Widow”. It all starts where it should have started.
Marvel is also returning to a less cosmic world with “Black Widow,” Phillips said. The project is a bit more grounded in normalcy, similar to “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” rather than a space-centric battle with Thanos in “Endgame” and “Infinity War”.
Things are going to get weird in the MCU in the future. We know it. Just watch “Loki” or “WandaVision. “And don’t forget the upcoming movie” Eternals “, which will be about cosmic forces.” Shang-Chi “seems to be centered around the mystical arts and 10 legendary rings of power.” Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness “is ready for multiverse and madness.
So can “Black Widow” prepare people for these movies? Will that be enough to bring people back to the movies to see it?
“The big question is whether the audience shows up for ‘Black Widow’ will come back to the cinema to see ‘Shang-Chi’ or ‘Eternals, ‘” said Phillips. “I suspect that receiving these films will really tell us if the Marvel Cinematic Era is going to continue.”