After literally 20 films, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is only just getting around to releasing Captain Marvel, its first female-led superhero movie in 11 years of churning these puppies out. However, now that it’s free from backward-ass Trump stooge Ike Perlmutter, Marvel Studios seems to be getting its ass in gear on the lady front, and it finally pulled the trigger on a solo Black Widow movie that fans have requested for years. At last, Johansson’s KGB assassin-turned-superhero would get her due, and young girls wouldn’t have to content themselves with Black Widow playing second fiddle to male franchise-leaders who need lots of screen-time to expand said franchises. (Not to mention avoiding another subplot where her character spends half of a film wishing the Hulk would be her boyfriend, brought to you by feminist champion Joss Whedon.)
A solo movie would also sidestep the embarrassing PR problem that Disney stepped in during not one, but two Avengers movie when it dropped the ball on creating toys and merchandise of Johansson’s character. The situation was so bad that even Mark Ruffalo called his corporate overlords out.
Now, one way to avoid a similar problem is to just make the movie Rated R, but that would cut off thousands if not millions of young fans who’ve been patiently waiting for Black Widow to have her own adventure. That would be some cold shit, so naturally, it’s on the table.
I'm not saying it will be for sure (no way to know what they will settle on at this point), but they have recently said that R-rated MCU films ARE a possibility, so it is a possibility. So if BW ends up R-rated, don't be shocked.— Charles Murphy (@CharlesMurphTHS) January 12, 2019
For the record, this is just a rumor. But Murphy has a decent track record with Marvel scoops, and CinemaBlend notes that studio head Kevin Feige has said an R-Rated Marvel movie isn’t out of the question. (To clear up some confusion, while Deadpool is technically a Marvel movie, it was made by Fox, so it doesn’t count as an official “Marvel movie.”)
Story-wise, though, an R-rated Black Widow movie does make sense. The film is a prequel that will focus on Natasha’s transition from ruthless KGB assassin to S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. But again, that would cruelly cut off young fans who have been starving for female-led Marvel movies and would essentially get stiffed right on the heels of Captain Marvel. One was enough for them, apparently.
On top of that, Marvel proved with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which coincidentally featured one of the best Black Widow performances, that it doesn’t need to go Rated R to pull off an intense, visceral spy thriller. Granted, it is definitely one of the more violent installments that might not be the best for young kids — Shameless plug for my Parent’s Guide to the MCU here — but it did thread the needle of badass action while still coming in at PG-13 and full of that Marvel charm.
At the end of the day, I think Marvel Studios will err on the side of not cutting off a buttload of tickets by walling off its only second female-led movie. But if they do, allow me:
Header Image Source: Marvel