It’s a great time for girl (super)power. We’ve finally seen tangible proof that Wonder Woman is starring in her own movie, and Marvel has cast the incredible Brie Larson as its first solo female lead, Captain Marvel.
Unfortunately, there’s still that little spider in the corner of the room who’s never stopped spinning her own Scarlett’s Web.
She’s been spelling it out. Black Widow movie Black Widow movie Black Widow movie.
No matter how hard we tried, no matter how many Change.org petitions we signed, and toys we demanded in stores, we’ve never been able to get a solo Black Widow movie. Even though just about every other person on her team has gotten his own flick. Except for Hawkeye, but let’s not kid ourselves.
Well, it looks like the Black Widow movie has a new champion: The Avengers director Joss Whedon himself. In an interview with IGN at San Diego Comic-Con, Whedon said he would love to helm a Black Widow solo project. He’s talked about doing a female-led superhero film before, but this time he specifically went Team Widow.
“If somebody pointed to me and said, ‘You want to make a Black Widow movie?’ the answer would be ‘Duh.’ For two reasons: I think that character really is very interesting and very earthbound and so it’s the kind of action that I got to do less of with somebody like Thor or The Vision. When you get into your Superman territory it’s harder to maintain that sort of gritty action that the Russo brothers do so beautifully. And she’s got that kind of thing… and really do a spy thriller, really do a good, paranoid sort of John LeCarré on crack sort of thing. Also, Scarlett Johansson is just delightful. She works really hard, but she just spends most of her time cracking me up, so it would be a fun shoot.”
While I will gladly shout from the rooftops how much I want Black Widow to have her own movie, which I absolutely do, I’m curious if Whedon is the right person to helm it. Scarlett Johansson took the role of Black Widow and made it her own, especially in Captain America’s films like Winter Soldier.
Unfortunately, she didn’t get the same treatment in the ensemble flicks. In The Avengers, she is often reduced to the “token girl.” She doesn’t get a lot of development or screen time, and her needs are often defined by the needs of others. You can’t put all of that on Whedon’s shoulders, but some of it is his responsibility.
This was especially noticeable in Age of Ultron, where Black Widow’s primary source of conflict was feeling like a monster because she couldn’t have children. She substituted some of it by mothering her male Avengers, like when she says “I’m always picking up after you boys” while tossing Captain America his shield. This even bled over into her relationship with The Hulk, which seems to get into some serious Oedipal issues.
It’s sad, because Whedon has such an amazing track record with female representation. Buffy Summers is still one of the most dynamic heroines of the past 20 years.
Since Whedon has turned Black Widow into the motherly type in his films, he would really only have three options with what to do with her in a solo film. He could either ignore it, which would ruin the continuity he established (and we all know how dedicated he is to continuity). He could embrace it, making her a pretty boring protagonist. Or he could do a prequel.
The biggest problem with prequels is when the end result isn’t interesting, there’s little to no reason to care about where the character came from. Anakin Skywalker comes to mind. Not because Darth Vader isn’t awesome, he totally is, but because we already know when and how he dies. For me, the best way to give Black Widow what she deserves is to put her character in the hands of someone new, who won’t be tied down to Whedon’s scripts.
I would love to see Whedon become involved in a Black Widow film, but more as a producer. Someone who knows the Marvel Universe, and Black Widow herself, but who won’t have final say over what she does or where her story takes her. Who do you think would be a great pick to lead a Black Widow solo movie? Leave your thoughts in the comments.