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Black Widow: Why Is The Standalone Not As Celebrated As It Should Be?

by Arthur Flank about a year ago in Fan Fiction
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Natasha Romanoff, aka the first female original Avenger, finally got a movie of her own. Great! But all it took was her death.

This had been one of the most awaited standalone in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And after all the men in the team got one, like Ironman had one, Thor had one, Captain America had one, Doctor Strange had one, even Ant-man had one. And so Black Widow needed to have one too. But the first female superhero of the MCU had to wait nearly a decade to get a standalone.

Black Widow first appeared in Iron Man 2 (2010) as secretary to her boss Tony Stark, since then the fans have been begging for a Black Widow standalone movie. Which they finally got. But, was the wait worth it?

A quick reminder to the readers that this article contains spoilers, if you don’t want any so immediately go check the movie out in theatres or on Disney Plus Premier Access. Numerous streaming services in Australia, US, UK, Canada, and others have begun premiering movies straight on their platform, making it easy for the users to stream them whenever they want. And trust me, it is a super budget friendly option. Anyways, back to the topic, let’s start from the top.

Standalone Comes When Everything Ends

First things first, previous standalone Marvel movies were complementary to the other bigger Marvel movies. For example Ironman series was an ignition to the Avenger series, along with Thor and Captain America. These singletons helped in introducing and building the characters for the bigger and much more complicated main picture.

So when The Avengers rolled out, all the characters were established, their background and current storylines were set in motion bringing it all together. All the stories complemented each other to result in one of the best Marvel (Avenger) series of all times.

But for Black Widow, the standalone comes when Marvel bid farewell to the character. The people wanted to know about Natasha Romanoff before she joined the Avengers, not after everything had ended.

Was More Of A Launch Than A Farewell

Secondly, the movie felt more like a launch to new Marvel characters than a farewell to our beloved Black Widow.

Yelena Belova, the younger adopted sister of Natasha Romanoff got more limelight in the movie, as she is one of the newest characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and will be featured in their upcoming movie.

The character of Yelena had more depth, personality, emotions and integrity. Everything that Natasha Romanoff deserved in her farewell.

Atonement Of The Past

Black Widow’s character, instead of being celebrated (considering this was a send off) was busy in atoning it’s past the whole time.

Yes, Black Widow was an assassin who had done dark things in her past, but being hell bent on atoning for her past even after (redeeming herself) by saving the people and earth (not just once, but multiple times) does not seem to be a suitable trait of a superhero character.

Where Are The Cameos?

This is where the fans really missed our old pal Stan Lee. His cameos (even though not more than a few seconds) were definitely the highlight of the Marvel movies. Considering that Black Widow is one of the original Avengers, some major cameos were expected. Sadly, there were none.

When Action Was Chaotic And Not Coherent

According to Vulture, the action sequence of this movie was more visually coherent rather than being a chaotic norm. Which is opposite to what we normally get from Marvel movies.

Just imagine, a movie about a female assassin, an expert in martial arts, trained to fight. Seems like the action is going to be bone breaking (pun intended)?

But to our disappointment, the action seemed more like forced choreography with rapidly shifting camera angles making things worse.

What Was The Genre Again?

The NYTimes labeled Black Widow as an uncomfortable mashup of a heart-warming family reunion movie with a spy thriller.

The movie felt like it was set in comedy mode, where the director was more interested in exploring the family dynamics between Natasha and her adoptive family rather than the action part.

Not only this, but even the action felt more like a Bourne or Bond movie (Moonraker to be exact) rather than a movie that belonged to one of the largest superhero franchises, Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Confusing Timeline

One of the major problems with releasing a standalone on a character’s farewell is the timeline. The timeline has been a bit confusing in the movie, more so with the ever confusing Marvel one.

The movie starts with young Natasha Romanoff being trained in the Soviet boot camp to become the Black widow, then jumps immediately after Captain America: Civil War.

Not only this, but the movie ends in Avengers: Infinity War with a post credit scene that again jumps to Black Widow, who has freshly dyed her hair blonde. What happens in between is skipped altogether.

Getting Outshone In A Standalone

Other characters, quite evidently, outshone Black Widow’s character. Not just Yelena Belova, but Alexei Shostakov, the adoptive father of Natasha and Yelena, and a mutant hero who is Russian equivalent to Captain America and Melina Vostokoff, a genius scientist and also adoptive mother of Natasha and Yelena; were over shadowing the protagonist.

Summing up, with such a strong character and impactful presence in other movies, the Black Widow standalone felt more like a footnote and forced ending to the character. Except that the same movie can be considered to be a great setup for Yelena.

A better send off to the first female superhero and one of the original Avengers was expected, but despite the hype and the popularity, the movie lacked the essence of it all, and critics were all over it as well. Guess it just doesn't hit the nail sometimes.

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Arthur Flank

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