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Archive for August, 2014

Why Marvel’s next female superhero film should be about anyone OTHER than Black Widow

I know there’s this tremendous cumulative desire out there for a new Marvel female-led superhero film but I really think Black Widow is exactly the WRONG character for it. Her whole appeal — as a character — I don’t mean as Scarlett Johansson in a leather catsuit — is as an ex-KGB spy. The problem with that is that the Cold War is long over. Without the Cold War, being an ex-KGB spy is really irrelevant. She could just as easily be an ex-Italian secret agent or an ex-Swedish one. Who cares? We picture CIA and KGB agents fighting this awesome secret war in the shadows DURING THE COLD WAR, which ended decades ago! The actress herself was born in 1984. The Berlin Wall fell in 1989. Blindly making the assumption that Black Widow and Scarlett Johansson are the same age — I don’t think Black Widow went on too many super-cool hot and sexy secret missions when she was FIVE YEARS OLD!

No. Ms. Marvel is a MUCH better option for a female lead. She has powers for a start and is a full-fledged superheroine not just a martial artist in a catsuit and she has connections to alien races and would neatly bridge the Avengers with Marvel’s new film franchise, the Guardians of the Galaxy. We can get a much better film from that character than we ever could from Black Widow. All we can get from her is a sob story about how she did things she’s not proud about — but without the drama and urgency of the Cold War as a backdrop for it. What did she do? Terrible acts of killing and treachery against drug pushers and other criminals? Coup plotters who were silenced before they could do anything interesting? Intrigues in the Middle East? Again — the Russians pulled out of Afghanistan in ’89. There are possibilities — she could have been fighting AIM or HYDRA — but they seem weak compared to the powerful dramatic backdrop we’ve already lost. There’s a reason Black Widow’s never held down her own long-running solo comic book — it’s because she doesn’t have the depth of character and the interest to support it.

She-Hulk would be a much better character to give a movie. Storm and the Scarlet Witch both have tremendous potential although that potential is currently constrained by Fox having the X-Men film rights. Spider-Woman, Moondragon, Gamora, Valkyrie, Sif — anyone of these would make a much better solo heroine than Black Widow. Valkyrie offers the possibility of a Doctor Strange tie in that might lead to a Defenders movie and a third superhero movie franchise for Marvel. There has to be SOME reason Marvel’s digging out Doctor Strange again after all this time — not that I’m complaining. Anyway — my point is simply that all Black Widow’s got going for her now is martial arts and a leather catsuit costume and Gamora can do that better AND she’s got a bitchin’ backstory! We don’t have to settle for the Widow just because she’s been a sidekick in previous movies. We can find a better, more interesting character.

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