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Why Black Widow Needs Her Own Movie

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Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow character has become one of several fan favorites in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, to the point that many have declared it's about time she lands her own standalone film. The counterargument is that Black Widow has already become a central member of the Avengers, and her multiple roles in ensemble films amount to just as much exposure as she'd get from a solo movie. But the fact that this debate even exists pretty much answers the question: Black Widow needs her own film, simply because people are talking about it.

That's not to suggest that Marvel should cater to every desire or discussion its fans have among themselves. Rather, it's a point about the fact that Marvel has a little bit of a problem with female leads. A Yahoo article summarised this issue pretty thoroughly, acknowledging the fact that the Marvel films have largely failed to recognise female heroes, but also rightly pointing out that the studio is finally taking steps to address the issue. However, the way things have gone, Black Widow remains the most prominent woman in the MCU. And as long as fans are debating the merits of a solo movie for the Johansson character and Marvel doesn't make it happen, the studio is going to appear defiant, if not sexist.


In a way, the issue of Marvel not supporting Black Widow with a solo movie has been emphasised by the announcement and rollout of a few projects that do feature women in the lead roles. For instance, Netflix's Jessica Jones series was viewed as a landmark event for Marvel, as it was by far the most the studio has yet relied on a central heroine. There's also been a lot of excitement about the introduction of Elektra, another popular female superhero, in the Daredevil series. And we've even heard that in a few years the studio will produce a film about Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel, which will be their first feature film primarily about a woman. It's good progress, but it still feels a little insulting to Black Widow. Imagine for a moment that The Avengers was the first Marvel film, with no Iron Man- or Captain America-based movies before it. This is like if that were the case and then Marvel rolled out a H awkeye movie and a TV show about a new character like Black Bolt, before giving Iron Man his due. It just doesn't make much sense.

Oddly enough, a similar dismissal of Black Widow as a worthy solo heroine can be found in some of Marvel's video game-based marketing. Some fans may be aware that over the years Marvel has maintained a consistent presence at casino sites, allowing game developers to use official Marvel character images in order to expand its brand. You can find games for the Avengers, the X-Men, and a few other heroes. And then, at Gala Casino's platform, you can find a Black Widow slot machine game that appears to be a nod to the comic character. The big difference, however, is that this particular slot game is not stamped with the Marvel brand, meaning it's really an imitation of the other games. It certainly appears that even in this sort of side entertainment marketing, Marvel doesn't have time for a hero the public is dying to see more of.

The point is that Marvel has been almost bizarrely resistant to the expansion of Black Widow's role in modern entertainment, and that's going to start looking pretty bad if it's not addressed in the near future. Fortunately for those in the camp calling for a solo movie, it does look like the studio—or at least some creative individuals with some serious pull there—is beginning to shift its tone.

According to Comicbook.com, the Russo brothers, who just finished directing Captain America: Civil War are interested in the idea of putting together a Black Widow movie. The brothers acknowledge that she's one of the "richest" characters in the MCU, and also state that they love working with Scarlett Johansson. None of that amounts to a green light from the studio, but it's a nice push in that direction at the very least.

Now it just has to result in a movie being made. Because if that doesn't happen, Marvel's recent nods to the female population through characters like Jessica Jones will look hollow in the long-term. The signature female Avenger of the MCU needs her own project.

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The Movie Bit: Why Black Widow Needs Her Own Movie
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