Phase three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is officially coming to a close with the upcoming release of “Spiderman: Far From Home.” While rumors have been circulating about what the next phase of the MCU holds, including “Doctor Strange 2,” “Black Panther 2” and “The Eternals,” filming has already begun on the long-awaited “Black Widow” solo movie.
The movie will not only give the MCU its second — and much needed — female protagonist, but also feature a hero with a dark and controversial past.
Black Widow first appeared in “Iron Man 2” as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent working undercover to monitor Tony Stark. The red-headed hero is played by Scarlet Johansson, who continued to appear in nearly every MCU movie since her debut.
Her intense close combat scenes, computer hacking abilities and her all-around bad—s personality led to Black Widow quickly becoming a fan favorite. Her status as one of the original Avengers also made Black Widow an integral part of the MCU up until her (SPOILER) death in “Avengers: Endgame,” where she sacrificed herself to retrieve the soul stone in order to stop Thanos from wiping out half of all life in the universe.
Making a solo movie featuring Black Widow is a great way to keep the character going while the rest of the MCU movies go on and will surely appease fans. Watching her beat the crap out of 15 dudes at once truly never gets old. A “Black Widow” movie also allows Marvel to feature a woman as the lead protagonist, something that should be happening a lot more going forward.
As of right now, there have been 23 movies in the MCU. Of those, only “Captain Marvel” has featured a woman as the main character, with Brie Larson playing the titular character. For 20 movies, the MCU has virtually been all dudes and it’s starting to get a bit old. It’s about time women started getting more representation in the MCU.
Having so few female superheroes comes across as a bit misogynistic. There’s nothing new to this argument though, and I’m sure you’ve heard it before, which makes it quite sad that it needs to be repeated. It seems as though Marvel is finally listening as they finally made “Captain Marvel” and are in production for “Black Widow.” Also, who could forget the “girl power” moment in “Avengers: Endgame.”
Having a woman protagonist is also a great opportunity for the superhero movie giant to change things up. As said before, the MCU has been dominated by guys. I mean, their male to female ratio doesn’t stand a chance at getting into a frat party. Putting a woman in the lead will simply be more interesting at this point, as it gives Marvel the chance to explore different storylines, issues, themes and contain different personalities.
Black Widow’s gender isn’t the only thing that will allow Marvel to break away from some of its overused tropes. Almost all of the main characters in the Marvel movies have outstanding morals and are always trying to do the right thing. Black Widow, on the other hand, has a very complicated past.
Prior to Black Widow joining S.H.I.E.L.D. and becoming one of the good guys, she was a lethal assassin for the Russian KGB. Not much is known about her past in the MCU — her past is detailed much more in the comics — although it is referenced throughout the films, and you can see flashbacks of her training in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
Other than that, what she did as a Russian KGB agent is very vague, but she has admitted to doing some pretty bad things, including murder. She once even said she didn’t care who she took out or why.
Considering Black Widow met her demise during “Avengers: Endgame,” her solo movie will most likely be set prior to the events in that movie. Whether or not it will be an origin story showing how she left Russia to become a member of S.H.I.E.L.D., the movie should show her KGB past and some of the terrible things she has done.
Until this point, all of their protagonists have been the good guys from the start. Sure, Ant-Man went to jail for burglary, but his movie started with him being released from prison with the desire to turn his life around, and his crimes don’t compare to what Black Widow has most likely done. Anyone else in the MCU with improper morals is either a villain or a side character.
“Black Widow” could give the Marvel movies their first look at a truly immoral protagonist, which can lead to a more interesting and distinct movie from what Marvel has done. It can create a more complex character by showing her guilt and regret or lack thereof.
New storylines can be explored such as redemption or the struggle between doing what you are trained to do or what is right. It can also humanize and create sympathy for the bad side, while also causing conflict in the audience from seeing a character they love do terrible things.
No matter what Marvel decides to do with the upcoming “Black Widow,” fans will rush to theaters to see it as they do with every movie they make. But the opportunity they have to break from the mold is one they shouldn’t pass up.