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Why Black Widow Should Get Her Own Marvel Movie

'The Avengers' proved that Natasha is more than just a pretty face; here's why we think she deserves some more of the spotlight.

By now, most of you who are reading this have already had the pleasure of watching The Avengers; but if you haven't yet don't worry, you can still read this article without any major spoilers. Like many of you who live, breathe and love comics, I too felt that The Avengers was one of the best comic book, super hero movies I have ever watched. Better than all Marvel movies that came before it, and all FOX comic book movie adaptations. It even gave 'The Dark Knight' a run for it's money, in my opinion. But this isn't an article about how much I loved 'The Avengers,' it's about how happy I felt when I left the theater thinking that after just having watched that film, there's no reason why Marvel Studios couldn't make a Black Widow movie.

If you were to have asked me before, I would have told you that there was no way that Marvel Studios could pull off a Black Widow movie -- she just didn't hold enough clout. The character, who has been around since her first appearance in TALES OF SUSPENSE #52 could hardly ever maintain her own ongoing series. At best, they would get cancelled -- not because they weren't good (because they were often fantastic) but because she simply didn't garner support of enough readers. Her appearance in Iron Man 2 when she first met Tony Stark was sub-par. She was completely uninteresting and had no depth.

Before watching the movie I was convinced that Black Widow was the only really odd part of all of The Avengers movie posters and she didn't make sense to me in the trailers because Scarlet Johansson had delivered a less than stellar first performance in Iron Man 2. I wasn't expecting a whole heck of a lot out of her performance in 'The Avengers, and that may very well be the reason why I was so blown away by her character's presence on screen. When I left the theater after having seen The Avengers for the second time the only thing on my mind was, "what the hell happened in Budapest?" I was smitten.

If you get that reference, then you probably know where I am going with this. Even though Black Widow didn't have a tremendous amount of on-screen time, the moments where she made an appearance were compelling -- so much so that I left the theater with a whole new appreciation for her character. Hawkeye and Black Widow had obvious chemistry in the film, but it wasn't sexual; and the fact that Whedon strayed away from any romantic involvement between the two characters (something that frequently appeared in the comics) is what made it so interesting to see the pair working together (and at times against one another) on screen.

What Whedon didn't touch on (which I was completely comfortable with) was the fact that Natasha and Clint Barton were lovers at one time in the comics. At that time, Barton had been working with the Avengers when Natasha was still with the KGB when he fell in love with her and whisked her away. At least that's the romanticized version. In her early appearances, Natasha left the KJB for Barton and the Avengers, although their relationship fizzled. And while there is clearly chemistry between the two characters in Whedon's film, the fact that there is no on-screen romance is a plus. The possible romance would have been distracting, first of all, and it would have ultimately taken away from Natasha's ability to be seen as an equal by her peers (the other Avengers teammates), which I will get into later.

There are some great moments between them, however, that were virtually pulled straight from the comics. In the film, Natasha emphasizes the fact that she owed Clint Barton "a debt" and that is the reason why she was so dedicated to ensuring his safety. That debt is her life, and in turn she feels obligated to save his too, because he had been sent to kill her but instead chose to save her. He (Clint) understood her struggles and all she had endured, and there were diffinitive seeds that were purposely planted by Whedon in the film that will probably be expounded upon later -- hopefully in her own movie.

Black Widow is brainwashed

In the scene where she is coaxing Hawkeye -- who is restrained after being brainwashed by Loki -- she repeats (for a second time) that she "had been compromised." This time, in a more somber tone. She states again that she "has red on her ledger." Those who have read any Black Widow comics or know anything about her history know that she was used by the Russian KGB.

At one time, Black Widow thought herself to be a ballerina, but she later discovered that she had been brainwashed. The memories she thought she had had were not her own, and they were put there by the Russian KGB. She was never a ballerina. Her husband hadn't died as she had originally believed. She was used as a pawn when she was utilized as part of the "Red Room" experiment. During that time, she did a lot of terrible things to people; and the fact that Whedon alludes to this in his film makes me think he is preparing fans for a movie of her own; which she rightly deserves.

All too often when there is a prominent female character in a cast of mostly men, the woman is often the object of affection -- she's used as the romantic interest. We saw Natasha play that role in Iron Man 2 when she was first introduced to audiences. She was there mainly for eye candy, referenced specifically by Iron Man's character.

There was none of that here. In Whedon's film Black Widow was able to play with the boys, and the fact that they never once questioned her capabilities and consistently treated her as an equal was probably the most compelling thing about her portrayal. It's so much so that you forget that Scarlett Johansson is sexy. It's never in your face. The blatant joke in the beginning of the film by Georgi Luchkov during the interrogation where he claims that Natasha is "nothing more than a pretty face" is an obvious affront to an age old cliche; that she wouldn't have such prowess without her striking good looks. This is something that both Whedon and Scarlett Johannson successfully disprove.

Black Widow naturally has an interesting (albeit, complicated) history in Marvel Comics. Born in 1928 in a small town in Russia, she is said to be the last of the Romanov's. She became a spy for the KGB, was brainwashed, and at one time she even took a dose of super soldier serum -- which explains why she still looks good after all these years. She is smart, savvy and of course, beautiful; making her deadly. In her performance in The Avengers, Scarlett Johansson and Joss Whedon proved that Black Widow can be conveyed as an interesting and compelling character.

After seeing The Avengers there is no doubt in my mind that Marvel Studios can't make a great superhero/spy movie featuring both Black Widow and Hawkeye. She has a complicated history, (and so does he) and certainly both characters have their share of demons; but that's what makes them human and easy to relate to. Hopefully we'll get to see what happened in Budapest in Black Widow's very own feature film, or at the very least find out where all that "red on her ledger" came from.

What do you think? Do you want to see a Black Widow/Hawkeye spin-off movie? Do you think that kind of a film would be successful?

175 Comments
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Posted by queenfrost_

If only it wasn't ScarJo :(

Posted by SuperDoahBoy

@MutieLover & @tg1982: I agree, Blade was relatively unknown before his movies hit but you can't seriously compare him to a supporting character like Black Widow. "Z-list character" or not the vampire aspect is what made his movies interesting and that was before the whole Twilight and Underworld fueled vampire craze hit. There is nothing interesting about Black Widow that would warrant a solo movie cause like most have said already the chick can't even carry her own book. With Jeremy Renner doing The Bourne Legacy, the Nick Fury movie, and that movie Salt being almost identical to Black Widow story I don't see a point in a spy thriller starring Black Widow, especially a Marvel spy thriller.

Posted by AskaniSon295

How about a Black Widow & Daredevil movie?

Posted by Starleafgirl

I agree, Black Widow deserves her own movie, but it'd sell better if they included Hawkeye, too (who, conversely, I don't think could support his own movie).

Posted by MutieLover

@SuperDoahBoy:

I beg to differ.

Black Widow is a superhero/spy...in the Marvel Universe. There are a million directions they could go with her. They can relate her to Soviet efforts to recreate the Super Soldier Program- there are tons of ways that they can get her out of Salt's imaginary shadow.

Posted by tg1982

@SuperDoahBoy said:

@MutieLover & @tg1982: I agree, Blade was relatively unknown before his movies hit but you can't seriously compare him to a supporting character like Black Widow. "Z-list character" or not the vampire aspect is what made his movies interesting and that was before the whole Twilight and Underworld fueled vampire craze hit. There is nothing interesting about Black Widow that would warrant a solo movie cause like most have said already the chick can't even carry her own book. With Jeremy Renner doing The Bourne Legacy, the Nick Fury movie, and that movie Salt being almost identical to Black Widow story I don't see a point in a spy thriller starring Black Widow, especially a Marvel spy thriller.

The bold is what I'm responding to.

If the only reason is because she can't hold an ongoing then it's a pretty weak reason, since as stated before by me on another thread, and implied on this thread, Blade can't hold an ongoing comic, and Widow is kinda HOT (heh, pun) right now. As far as spy movies go, I think that's pretty weak as well, first of all these movies are already out or are coming out fairly soon, if and (hopefully) when a Black Widow movie comes out these movies will most likely already be on DVD, so it's not like they're all coming out at the same time.

Posted by THEBlaqueBasterd

Ok.. first off the feminist agenda on this piece is so strong i could smell it before i even clicked the article lol..but i digress

1stly. Her cameo in IM2 wasnt subpar.. it was adequate.. she had a side role not a main or even secondary one (that went to Rourke/Whiplash) so i always thought she did alright..not stellar but she worked with the bones she was given

2ndly. I completely disagree on the "no romance" point u made.. it may not be the obvious kind but I do think it was kind of OBVIOUS that she actually had pretty deep feelings for Barton that go way beyond simple comradery.. highlighted by the Loki "interrogation scene".. &even tho she twisted the tears to her favour theres a hint of affection there.. proven when she finally gets Hawkeye back he asks what loki did to make her wana "go to war" the whole look on her face when she said she said "ive been compromised.." had MEANING.. it meant she has feelings for him.. (a real weakness in her profession&reputation btw) her sayin she needed to clear the ledger was basically both retribution for past sins &repaying the faith he showed in her

3rdly. Just because all of a sudden u or a whole buncha fickle wishy washy "fans" NOW think ScarlettWidow put in a good performance, (sumthin the girl with a predominantly indie backgrounds ALWAYS been capable of) DOESNT mean she can/should get a singular movie, for one the execs wont back it once they do the tracking figures it wont be viable anyway &script wise it would suck (Unless whedon was doin it, &he isnt)

I was one of the first if not THE first to note on this site that there should be a SHIELD movie with all the usual suspects Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Coulson (May he RIP) Hawkeye&BlackWidow etc.. with any number of cameos..&introducing HYDRA as the main enemy/plot device.. such a movie would give ScarlettWidow ample room to get her shine while giving her strong characters to bounce off as well as the double team factor of her &Barton which worked so well in The AA

THAT should be the new focus if any, not some bullshit flavour of the week vanity project that'll not only bank on her delicate shoulders for success but will probly ruin her if it flops, which it will if they dont get the right director..which they wont if they go for a solo Black Widow movie

Remeber now.. theres no "i" in S.H.I.E.L.D. ...well.... u get the idea

Posted by Aiden Cross

Meh, I felt BW was the weakest character.

Edited by THEBlaqueBasterd

@raycarter: THISSSSS

very well put, i \ctually think Babs missed a beat there tbh.. coz it was my distinct impression that shes got hidden feelings for Barton..

plus the whole strong cold/calculating uber woman harbouring unrequited &chessapeak depth hidden feelings for tough plucky flawed/honourable but completely clueless hero figures is a sort of a Whedon trademark lol

Posted by THEBlaqueBasterd

@SuperDoahBoy: THISSSSS

Posted by AmaterasuNoHasu

I'd definitely like to see it done, and I definitely think it could be. She has a rich history, and her character in the movie definitely left people with a few questions needing to be answered, her spot in the Avengers aside.

Posted by Cervantes

@Mercy_ said:

A. I WANT TO SEE THAT ANT-MAN MOVIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Dream cast is Fillion with Morena Baccarin as Janet.

This. Morena would be perfect as Wasp, and Nathan Fillion as the (Irredeemable?) Ant Man just makes sense...!

Posted by Mercy_

@Cervantes said:

@Mercy_ said:

A. I WANT TO SEE THAT ANT-MAN MOVIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Dream cast is Fillion with Morena Baccarin as Janet.

This. Morena would be perfect as Wasp, and Nathan Fillion as the (Irredeemable?) Ant Man just makes sense...!

And they do have an amazing onscreen chemistry (Inara and Mal)

Moderator
Posted by Illuminatus
@Mercy_ said:

@Cervantes said:

@Mercy_ said:

A. I WANT TO SEE THAT ANT-MAN MOVIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Dream cast is Fillion with Morena Baccarin as Janet.

This. Morena would be perfect as Wasp, and Nathan Fillion as the (Irredeemable?) Ant Man just makes sense...!

And they do have an amazing onscreen chemistry (Inara and Mal)

I like Fillion, but he'll never get the role.
Posted by Mercy_

@Illuminatus said:

@Mercy_ said:

@Cervantes said:

@Mercy_ said:

A. I WANT TO SEE THAT ANT-MAN MOVIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Dream cast is Fillion with Morena Baccarin as Janet.

This. Morena would be perfect as Wasp, and Nathan Fillion as the (Irredeemable?) Ant Man just makes sense...!

And they do have an amazing onscreen chemistry (Inara and Mal)

I like Fillion, but he'll never get the role.

Nobody asked you >_<

What makes you say that, though?

Moderator
Posted by Illuminatus
@Mercy_ said:

@Illuminatus said:

@Mercy_ said:

@Cervantes said:

@Mercy_ said:

A. I WANT TO SEE THAT ANT-MAN MOVIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Dream cast is Fillion with Morena Baccarin as Janet.

This. Morena would be perfect as Wasp, and Nathan Fillion as the (Irredeemable?) Ant Man just makes sense...!

And they do have an amazing onscreen chemistry (Inara and Mal)

I like Fillion, but he'll never get the role.

Nobody asked you >_<

What makes you say that, though?

Bah, I started getting the mail that you and Cervantes were discussing it, so I'm allowed. :p 
 
Too old, for one. Not nearly enough star-power is another detrimental factor. Plus, fans were asking him to play the character and I'm fairly sure he respectfully declined, although that was back when he was campaigning for the role as Nathan Drake, I think.
Posted by Illuminatus
@Mercy_: Here's the video: 
 
  
Posted by Mercy_

@Illuminatus said:

@Mercy_ said:

@Illuminatus said:

@Mercy_ said:

@Cervantes said:

@Mercy_ said:

A. I WANT TO SEE THAT ANT-MAN MOVIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Dream cast is Fillion with Morena Baccarin as Janet.

This. Morena would be perfect as Wasp, and Nathan Fillion as the (Irredeemable?) Ant Man just makes sense...!

And they do have an amazing onscreen chemistry (Inara and Mal)

I like Fillion, but he'll never get the role.

Nobody asked you >_<

What makes you say that, though?

Bah, I started getting the mail that you and Cervantes were discussing it, so I'm allowed. :p Too old, for one. Not nearly enough star-power is another detrimental factor. Plus, fans were asking him to play the character and I'm fairly sure he respectfully declined, although that was back when he was campaigning for the role as Nathan Drake, I think.

Blegh, fine.

Here's a mindfck for you. Nathan Fillion is younger than Jeremy Renner (only by two or so months, but still).

Disagree with not having enough star power. He has a really solid following from Castle and a quite large following from his projects with Joss (Firefly particularly, but also Dr. Horrible), the following is especially large in the comic book community niche. Cobie Smulders doesn't have that much star power in comparison to the others, either.

Thanks for the video. Of course, that was about two years ago, so it's quite possible that things have changed. And we do know that Joss has a propensity for re-using his actors.

Moderator
Posted by jnw93

I can see it being just like the Electra film :/

Avg2 or new x-men film would be better. But an X-men film that goes by earth 616

Posted by shackle

@THEBlaqueBasterd said:

@raycarter: THISSSSS

very well put, i \ctually think Babs missed a beat there tbh.. coz it was my distinct impression that shes got hidden feelings for Barton..

plus the whole strong cold/calculating uber woman harbouring unrequited &chessapeak depth hidden feelings for tough plucky flawed/honourable but completely clueless hero figures is a sort of a Whedon trademark lol

And not one that needs to be repeated in an Avengers sequel. Whedon succeeded with the Avengers because he got away from the small screen dippy melodrama that he shoved down your throat in his Buffy/Angel days. He's got a better formula now, one that is shattering box office records. The Avengers was distinctly Whedon, but more importantly it was a BETTER Whedon. If he goes back to the trite, precious formula of his past, his sky-rocketing ride to the top of filmdom will only be surpassed by the speed at which he would crash and burn. Whedon has evolved; I suggest the hardcore Whedonites do the same.

Posted by Illuminatus
@Mercy_ said:

Blegh, fine.

Here's a mindfck for you. Nathan Fillion is younger than Jeremy Renner (only by two or so months, but still).

Disagree with not having enough star power. He has a really solid following from Castle and a quite large following from his projects with Joss (Firefly particularly, but also Dr. Horrible), the following is especially large in the comic book community niche. Cobie Smulders doesn't have that much star power in comparison to the others, either.

Thanks for the video. Of course, that was about two years ago, so it's quite possible that things have changed. And we do know that Joss has a propensity for re-using his actors.

Yes, but Renner plays completely different roles from Fillion, and Hawkeye wasn't really a central character to The Avengers.  
 
Colbie Smulders had like 20-25 minutes of total on-screen time tops. She wasn't the star of the film, and I can't even recall seeing her on any of the posters.  
 
Back in '06 or '07, Jon Favreau talked about how Marvel chose actors that were right for the roll, instead of choosing characters for a certain actor to play. I'm not so sure if that's how things work over there now. I think an Ant-Man film would be interesting, and Fillion wouldn't hurt, but I just don't see anyone over at Marvel going, "Umm...how about that guy from Firefly and Slither?"
Posted by Cervantes

@Mercy_ said:

@Illuminatus said:

@Mercy_ said:

@Illuminatus said:

@Mercy_ said:

@Cervantes said:

@Mercy_ said:

A. I WANT TO SEE THAT ANT-MAN MOVIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Dream cast is Fillion with Morena Baccarin as Janet.

This. Morena would be perfect as Wasp, and Nathan Fillion as the (Irredeemable?) Ant Man just makes sense...!

And they do have an amazing onscreen chemistry (Inara and Mal)

I like Fillion, but he'll never get the role.

Nobody asked you >_<

What makes you say that, though?

Bah, I started getting the mail that you and Cervantes were discussing it, so I'm allowed. :p Too old, for one. Not nearly enough star-power is another detrimental factor. Plus, fans were asking him to play the character and I'm fairly sure he respectfully declined, although that was back when he was campaigning for the role as Nathan Drake, I think.

Blegh, fine.

Here's a mindfck for you. Nathan Fillion is younger than Jeremy Renner (only by two or so months, but still).

Disagree with not having enough star power. He has a really solid following from Castle and a quite large following from his projects with Joss (Firefly particularly, but also Dr. Horrible), the following is especially large in the comic book community niche. Cobie Smulders doesn't have that much star power in comparison to the others, either.

Thanks for the video. Of course, that was about two years ago, so it's quite possible that things have changed. And we do know that Joss has a propensity for re-using his actors.

I still firmly agree with you, Mercy_, Fillion is an inspired choice. Asking an actor on video whether they want to play a role is like asking a senator or congressman whether they want their party's presidential nominee to pick them as their vice president: they'll say no a thousand times politely because if they say yes once and aren't asked they look snubbed. What I get from the video -- which, good going finding that Illum -- is Nathan being his charming, self-deprecating self; Greatest American Hero, indeed, funny guy...

You're double right because Castle is such a clever show. It relies on comedic timing in their back and forth dialogue over every crime. It would be great to see Dr. Hank Pym (is this your choice? I assume not the Irredeemable Ant Man...) having genuine onscreen chemistry with his wife and also sounding believably intelligent enough to be a genius. Jessica Alba is many fine things, but as Sue Storm? Sorry, she didn't sound like someone who could discuss quantum mechanics with her husband.

So he has name recognition, but fortunately not so much that a studio might balk at his price tag. There is that one director who really badly wants to make an Ant Man movie, anyone who's seen Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog knows "Captain Hammer" can pull off comedy all by his lonesome, Joss Whedon is prolly a lock to make the next Avengers movie and as you and I know he loves to bring back actors he knows got swing... Plus, shrinking effects are also somewhat economical (big sets, big props, and far better CGI since Honey, I Shrunk...), and people enjoy movies from that perspective because then the everyday becomes dangerous.

Really good idea, Mercy_! I had been wondering who they'd add to the team for the next flick (I'd been thinking Carol Danvers as Miss Marvel), but this is the best idea I've heard! Plus, imagine Morena with wings! She has that calm intellect that she showed in 'V' that will make her believably intelligent enough for the Wasp, and she will no doubt change her uniform three times a movie, just like in the comics :P

Whoa, now I'm going to be sad if it doesn't happen! Because I just remembered Ultimate Avengers, the animated movie, with Hank Pym and the Wasp, and watching Pym go Giant to take down the Hulk... Man, it would be great to have him on the team!!

I think I'm gonna blog on this... :)

Posted by lenaga

@The Lobster : there will be a SHIELD movie, it will be called Nick Fury, look it up on IMDB! :)

Posted by Masterpiece

She'll never get her own movie, but i believe that she will be on CA 2

Posted by renatasvitalkova

My first thought what happened in Budapest. I thought of that. : D