Let’s just get this out of the way: Black Widow is probably the worst film in the entire MCU. Down there with the various Hulk films, but at least still better than other non-MCU turds like Ghost Rider and all attempts at The Fantastic Four. But that’s not saying that much.
The point is, Black Widow was not that great of a film, and probably should not have been made. Its existence serves no benefit to the equity that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has built, and has in fact added unnecessary weight to the cash-printing spaceship the MCU franchise has been throughout the last decade, having produced and actually released such a turd.
Needless to say, before I proceed with this post, in the event that any of my zero readers have not been privy to the happenings of the MCU, I will put the rest of this behind the cut, because that’s just the kind of guy I am, act as if the whole world is reading, even if I know that nobody is.
For years, I’ve stated that among the greatest strengths throughout all MCU productions has been their ability to take properties that were weak during the primary millennial target audience while the X-Men were running roughshod through comics, and turn them into compelling, palatable, easily digestible films and television shows.
Iron Man was a series that I did follow fairly closely, but when I was actively following the Avengers, they were comprised of all sorts of characters never even touched by the films, like Black Knight, Cersei, Crystal and an evil Vision. Going back in time, and when Iron Man captured the attention of the entire world, with all the seeds spread for what would ultimately become the MCU phase sequence, it was clear that they were basically going classic Avengers in modern times, in terms of cast and members.
Along the way, they made Captain America, Thor and Ant-Man compelling and interesting. Hulk was still OP and kind of boring, but they made the smart play to more or less stash him in other films as a supporting character and not necessarily standing alone. Doctor Strange was made digestible, and Black Panther was basically a renaissance on its own.
Even the loosely-associated series that went television, like Netflix’s mini Daredevil-verse were all pretty good, and those showrunners deserve Oscars for making Iron Fist not be completely lame. The jury’s still out on shit like Cloak & Dagger, but that’s clearly the attempt to reach out to a younger audience while still having a sliver of connection to the rest of the MCU through passing remarks.
What I’m trying to say is that the MCU has done a stellar job of taking all sorts of franchises and IPs and making them interesting and remotely worth spending time and money investments on, and I would dare say that they had the proverbial midas touch in NOT making any genuine stinkers.
Which is why it’s all the more unfortunate that such a notion in my opinion has come to an end, by the seemingly forced release of a stand-alone Black Widow film, that frankly didn’t need to exist at all.
I mean, it’s probably safe to say that a noteworthy percentage of the entire planet saw Avengers: Endgame, and probably knows exactly what happened to Black Widow. So I have to wonder why anyone would really care to see a film about a character that everyone knows is just going to end up dead anyway, especially when it’s released after the fact? The only thing that could really throw a monkey wrench into things would’ve been the small chance that maybe like Doctor Strange or Loki would show up at the end, and drop the mic on the fact that what we all watched was an alternate reality in the multiverse that things inevitably are headed towards, but I’ll save everyone the trouble and spoil that such does not occur.
The reality is that Black Widow probably came to fruition because:
- Love her or hate her, Scarlett Johansson is an A-list actress
- Everyone else got a titular show/film
- Combination of both
But just because something could exist, doesn’t mean that it should exist. Make no mistake, Black Widow was a rare clunker from the MCU.
It was a film that had very little plot, a lot of brainless action sequences, and provided next to no advancement of the overall MCU timeline. The worst part, it genuinely feels like everyone involved with the production of this movie felt this too, as if they half-assed their way through the entire film, producing something that even they in their hearts felt probably didn’t need to exist.
Really, the only bright spot about this film was probably Florence Pugh, introduced as Yelena, the sister to Natasha Romanoff, who acts as the oft-comic humor that exists mostly to make fun of and point out tropes. But that’s really not saying that much given how weak this was as a whole.
Frankly, I feel kind of bad for actors like David Harbour and Rachel Weisz, because they’ve burned their one MCU participation tickets on a stinker like Black Widow. Whereas Pugh might get some second life in the future, there’s very little reason for any property to go back and re-visit the Black Widow’s adoptive mother and father, especially when the character is fucking perma-dead.
The absolute only thing this entire film serves to the overall MCU timeline is in the requisite post-credits scene that all Marvel films are expected to have, where Julia Louis-Dreyfus shows up in the last 30 seconds, reprising her role as Valentina Fontaine from Falcon & The Winter Soldier, and makes a play to possibly recruit Yelena for whatever shadow mercenary team she appears to be trying to assemble.
But that’s literally 30 seconds out of a two hour and eight-minute film that serves any purpose, and it’s literally at the very end of the entire reel, and worst off, the only thing it really sets up is an eventual Hawkeye show, and if there’s literally anyone less interesting and useless to the Avengers or the MCU, it’s fucking Hawkeye.
I didn’t have much expectation for Black Widow going into it, and watched it from the comfort of my own home, and I still feel like I wasted my time and wish I got my money back, and I didn’t even pay anything. It was bound to happen eventually, that the MCU would deliver a turd, but considering how many IPs they’ve spun into gold, I hoped such could be the case with Black Widow, but nobody goes undefeated forever.