Too Little, Too Late For Black Widow

Last week, the first trailer for the Black Widow movie dropped, after YEARS of fans asking for a Black Widow movie since her first appearance in Iron Man 2 in 2010, and thus far the response is a resounding… meh.

It was also interestingly pointed out by Ashley Lynch, a really good film editor and commentor on Twitter, that they had released the trailer at midnight.

Of course, this film comes too little too late for me and a number of other people, due to circumstances surrounding both Scarlet Johannson as well as executive decisions within Marvel Studios itself.

In order to really start this article off, I have to talk about one of the two studio heads of Marvel from when it was first formed, Ike Perlmutter.

Ike helped head up Marvel Studios for a number of years alongside Kevin Feige, and it’s in thanks to him that there was not a single leading lady superhero film during his tenure as well as why Terrence Howard was replace with Don Cheadle after Terrence asked for more money to be in Iron Man 2.

He’s also cited the failure of Supergirl and Catwoman as reasons as to why female lead superhero movies fail, while disregarding the fact that they were simply bad movies, thus feeding into the long fed self-fulfilling prophecy of women not being successful stars in areas normally dominated by men.

Of course, we all know what a falsehood this is, with TV series like Buffy and Alias, and movies like Aliens, the Resident Evil series, and others thus proving how false this view is.

So with Ike gone now, and Kevin Feige fully in control, we see now why there’s more diversity in the line up of future Marvel shows and movies, from sequels to Captain Marvel to Scarlet Witch getting her own series as well as one of the newest and most popular Marvel Characters Kamala Khan a.k.a. Ms Marvel.

However, because of what Ike believed in, outdated modes of thinking and sexist self-fulfilling prophecies, we were never given a Black Widow movie in Phase 1 of the MCU, nor Phase 2… or even 3.

I know being really hyped at the thought of a Black Widow movie when ScarJo first appeared in Iron Man 2, handling a squad of private security most excellently while Happy Hogan could barely tackle one, and saving Iron Man from fatally injuring War Machine in the process. That excitement merely grew with her role in the Avengers movie, where many a person was begging the question of just when Black Widow would be given her own movie.

It reached a fever pitch when Captain America – Winter Soldier came out, as once again we were shown an awesome, capable female action hero with different sides to her we hadn’t been seen previously.

Imagine a Black Widow movie by the Russo Bros, who treated her so well!  was the thought me and many others shared.

And still nothing, all because of Ike.

So, now we are finally getting one, and I could not care less. For starters, Black Widow is dead in the here and now, so the movie is set in her past, which does a lot to kill any drama or suspense of the protagonist facing any kind of danger. What does it matter? We know she survives only to be fridged in Endgame, because hey, she can’t have children and Hawkeye has a family, so her death is worth more… thank you for that terrible piece of writing, Age of Ultron.

And the other part are the actions that Scarlet Johannson herself has taken to erode any kind of enthusiasm in seeing a standalone Black Widow movie.

For example, there was the time she took on the role of Major Mokoto Kusanagi in the live action Ghost in the Shell movie, continuing a tradition in Hollywood of casting white people in the roles of Asian characters. While the controversy that arose over this lead to further discussion of this problem in Hollywood as well as Ed Skrein exiting Hellboy so as to make room for Daniel Dae, the fact that ScarJo herself saw no problem with the role was definitely a stain on her character.

Then there was the time she took on the role of a trans man, in a biopic about real life trans man gangster, Dante Tex Gil, who lived and operated in Chicago in the 1970s. While she later apologized and said she learned a lot, her initial response to tell people to go to Jared Leto, a sexual molester who received an academy award for playing a trans woman, did not go unnoticed, and further soured people’s views of her.

And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention her friendship with Woody Allen, long suspected of sexual abuse of his daughter, Dylan Farrow, and her comments that she’d  work with him again.

In this age of #MeToo, it comes off as reprehensible that she’d work with someone who the systems of patriarchy and nepotism within Hollywood protects, especially after actresses and actors have come out against the abuse they’ve suffered under such people.

All in all, I feel no urge to see this movie, which does bring me to something I know from long experience will happen.

Say a lot of other people don’t see this movie as well, and they’re well within their rights not to, and it fails at the box office. In this scenario, you will see alt-right grifters trumpet the falsehood that women can’t lead successful action films, in spite of reality saying otherwise. I can also see heads of Hollywood nodding along, as though to say that yes, of course it failed, it starred a woman.

This doesn’t mean I’m going to see it, far from it, but it’s a scenario I can see arising.

Because reality doesn’t factor into such people’s worldviews.


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