A Movie/Comic Book Entry – Where’s my Black Widow Movie?

Buckle up and keep hands and feet inside the ride at all times because you’re in for a seriously bitter and cynical nerd rant.

Ant-man hit the theaters a couple of weeks ago and while was no Avengers, it was No. 1 at the box office opening weekend and is doing about as well as anyone could expect from a movie concerning a hero no one really knows or cares about. Not that I’m bitter. I haven’t seen it yet, although some friends tell me it’s a decent movie, and that the focus is thankfully on Scott Lang rather than Henry Pym and his significant baggage (to the degree said baggage is pretty much erased). Fine by me; by making Henry Pym so straight-laced and righteous, he has been rendered boring and thus no one will care that the far more interesting Scott Lang will appear in the next phase of the MCU.

But Ant-man? Seriously? No one cares about [expletive] Ant-man. Hell, most of the writers don’t care about Ant-man or his character wouldn’t have been screwed up so badly. Why did Ant-man get a movie before Black Widow? Why isn’t Black Widow getting a movie? Hells bells [expletive] Gambit is getting a movie after all of 10 minutes of screen time in “Wolverine: Origins.” Ten [expletive] minutes, a nearly complete lack of accent, and being totally pwned by Wolverine gets Gambit a movie. Black Widow has been a major secondary character in two hero solo movies and a co-star in two ensemble movies. In the world of movie-goers, I am pretty certain there are far more Black Widow fans than Gambit fans.

I am so sick of this. The guy heading up the MCU, says, “Yeah, sure, we want to do a movie with a female lead, but you know, how are we going to do that?” You [expletive] do it, you [Denis Leary]! You’re the guy in charge! You can add another movie! This sounds exactly like the last CEO of WB’s DC division who said, “Yeah, sure, we’d like to do a Wonder Woman movie, but we’re just going to have to take it slow and be careful.” [Expletive].

This is not hard. If Marvel Studios doesn’t want to mess with the timeline of the MCU, simply make an origin story movie for Black Widow. Normally I’m not a fan of origin stories, but I think in this case it could work. We already know Black Widow was an elite Russian assassin who was trained and brainwashed from a very young age to be a soulless killing machine. We know from “Agent Carter” that even pre-WWII this was an extremely effective program and no doubt made more effective over time. I am genuinely curious how Black Widow came to see the error of her ways and decided to repent. I am curious about her relationship with Nick Fury and how any kind of trust was forged between them.

And if Marvel Studios is worried this doesn’t fit into the mold of a summer blockbuster, then don’t make it a summer blockbuster. This could be an amazing spy-noir thriller. Marvel can do noir; I’ve seen Daredevil (I mean the good one here, not the bad one). The studio is planning to continue the gritty noir theme with future installments of the Secret Defenders. This kind of tone is not outside their wheelhouse. And in that case, don’t release the movie in the summer. It turns out there are actually 12 months in a calendar year, not just five. There is a terrible dearth of any watchable movies around November and February. Yeah, I get Disney wants no competition for “Star Wars” so just move Black Widow: Red Ledger (it’s a working title) to a February release. All that’s in theaters at that time is usually Oscar-bait dramas or low-brow, low-budget comedies the studios need to unload at some point.

Everyone would watch this. Everyone, not just men, not just women, not just fans. Everyone. Hell, Lucy made decent money at the box office and that was almost a superhero movie (perhaps the closest to a live-action cinematic version of the Phoenix Saga we may ever see). What’s wrong, comic movie studios, do you not want our money? Surely that’s not the case.

Here’s the truth, and everyone in charge is just too cowardly to say it – Gambit gets a movie before Black Widow (and potentially Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel) because Gambit is a dude. That’s [expletive] it. That’s why Ant-man hit theaters this summer. Because Ant-man is a man, and it says so right in the title. The upcoming Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel (coming in 2017 and 2018 respectively) are concessions to a rising tide of rage that the studios aren’t really taking that seriously. Why they don’t want to make a female-led superhero movie is the matter of some debate, but honestly the motivations are irrelevant. People want to see these movies; people want to throw money at the studios to watch female superheroes like Black Widow and Wonder Woman kick some solo ass. It’s the studio heads and marketing departments that are sticking their fingers in their ears and going, “La la la la can’t hear you!”

I know that isn’t actually the case. I know there aren’t a bunch of shady characters in the executive boardroom of the movie studios cackling to each other and saying, “Muhahaha!! I shall personally see to it there will never be a female-led superhero movie!” True, I have speculated perhaps supervillains do run the movie studios, but I am aware that such decisions are made in what seems to be a logical sequence carefully considering the information presented. But, to quote a cliché/meme – garbage in, garbage out.

Eventually the studios will make female-led movies. The cynical part of me (okay, me) thinks this will happen not because they want to, not because they think they’ll make any money off of them, but just to shut up the critics and say, “Hey, there’s a female-led movie, now leave us alone.” Yeah, because one Captain Marvel totally makes up for 19 previous male-led superhero movies, and totally allows for another 19 male-led movies before She-Hulk gets her day in the sun. By the by, I recognize that a lack of diversity is not limited to a lack of women. How long until Black Panther is released? Oh, right.

Cynicism aside, actions speak louder than words. And the actions of Marvel Studios and WB/DC say that they don’t want to make a female-led superhero movie. That’s the whole truth of it. I don’t care why; I just know the people in charge condescendingly lie to us every single time they say they want to make a female-led superhero movie and then just shrug and add, “But whatcha gonna do?”


Black Widow: Red Ledger. Not coming to any movie theater near you any time soon, and it is long past time the studio heads were called out for this [expletive]. There is no excuse.


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S. J. Drew is an aspiring writer who finally entered the blogosphere to shamelessly promote that writing (as evidenced by the title of the blog). Whether or not this works remains to be seen, but S. J. hopes you are at least entertained. And if you're actually reading this, that's probably a good sign.

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