The truth is we should already be on a third installment of a Marvel Studios backed Black Widow film. Think about it for a minute. We’ve gotten three different Hulks, three Punishers and two Daredevils. We’ve had three Iron Man films, three Captain America films and we’re getting a third installment in the Thor series, which admittedly is getting a HUGE boost thanks to Taika Waititi but still, three Thor movies, zero Black Widow movies.
For a long time, the argument was risk. It was too much of a risk to ask audiences, presumed to be male-dominated, to pay money to see a female action star. Like, girl I guess if this was 1745 but welcome to the 21st century, where women not only are allowed out of their homes to hold jobs but they also buy comics and see films. Pair that alongside the fact that Scarlett Johansson was named Hollywood’s highest grossing actress of all-time and that she was the top grossing actor in 2016 and well, that argument starts looking a little rickety.
Now, all of this made the lack of a Black Widow film seem foolish and conspicuous. Natasha’s solo film could be the perfect spy thriller, in the vein of Salt or even James Bond. Exploring her dark past, the Red Room Academy and her past with the Winter Soldier, would make for a great introduction to the character outside of the Avengers setting. Johansson has proven herself deftly capable of embodying the character’s lethal combat and espionage skills and her star power would have helped propel the character’s popularity even further. Plus, we have a goddamn Ant-Man film already so you can’t really argue about it being too risky.
But then Ghost in the Shell happened. I won’t wade into the whitewashing mess but it’s very clear that the film should have been led by a Japanese actress and the film’s ham-fisted explanation of why Johansson’s Major looked like her wasn’t just troubling but it was indicative that the studio knew better but chose to whitewash the role anyway. But Ghost in the Shell isn’t the only reason why a Black Widow movie shouldn’t happen, the truth is it’s just too damn late. A Black Widow solo film should have happened in 2011, just after the character was introduced in Iron Man 2 and before The Avengers in 2012. Now, in 2017, what’s the point?
Okay, inclusion, of course. And the chance for female character in the MCU to take the reigns, absolutely. But it also feels like Black Widow’s time has passed and now with Captain Marvel on the horizon, it’s time instead to look towards some of the comics other female characters to lead the charge. Should Marvel Studios still make a Black Widow movie? Sure, but they would probably do better to boost other properties in the meantime. If they can throw their weight behind a talking raccoon and a baby tree, I think we’re overdue to see Scarlet Witch’s powers in full (and sometimes terrifying) bloom, to see Spiderwoman, She-Hulk, Black Cat and Ms. Marvel and so many of the kick ass women we love on the page come to life on the big screen.