Black Widow

Black Widow in Captain America The Winter Soldier

For a while now, a storm’s been building. Comic book movie fans are wondering why we have yet to see a female-lead superhero film despite being in the middle of a boom of comic book movies that show virtually every other kind of superhero film getting made. The knee-jerk answer is “sexism,” but I think it’s more complicated than that. We might not have gotten a Wonder Woman movie yet, but you also have to remember that Warners has thus far balked on films about the Flash, the Justice League, and took forever to decide if it was going to do a sequel to Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns. All three of those projects spent a lot of time in development before being abandoned. (Though all signs are that Warners is moving forward on a different Justice League project at some point soon.) Since Marvel has put out a lot more product over the last several years, it’s harder to give them the same excuse. Thus far, Marvel Studios’ films have only featured one female superhero – Black Widow. With appearances in Iron Man 2, The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Scarlett Johansson’s depiction of the character has become quite popular. While she’s not the only Avenger to miss out on a solo shot (Hawkeye being the other one), you don’t have to go too far on the internet to find fans taking umbrage that Black Widow is “only a sidekick” in the Captain America sequel. However, if the choice was between having Black Widow in The Winter Soldier and having her in a solo film, […]

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Culture Warrior

Crowding a movie with talent often seems like a good idea only in the abstract sense. In practice, such films can easily feel overstuffed. For example, the basic conceits for both The Expendables and Grown Ups sound like products of wishful thinking held during a drunk conversation between a group of 19-year-olds at 3am. Yes, in theory a movie featuring all of the action stars of the 80s or the most successful SNL cast since the late-70s would be great – however, a bunch of famous people do not a seminal action film or great comedy make. What’s most surprising about Joss Whedon’s The Avengers is that the whole somehow proved greater than its parts. A movie with this quantity of iconic superheroes runs the incredible risk of being overstuffed and only half-cooked. The standards created by previous Hollywood films indicate that studios would be happy enough allowing the conflagration of bankable characters stand in for (or, more accurately, distract from the lack of) actual entertainment value; mammoth opening weekends, after all, are always more a sign of effective marketing than good filmmaking. But The Avengers not only stands as an equal to some of the stronger entries in Marvel’s 4-year, 5-film multiverse-building, but is arguably superior. Some of these characters came across more fully-fleshed and three-dimensional as part of an ensemble than in their respective standalone films.

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Reel Sex

To turn a phrase from my favorite family of Northerners, “Summer is Coming.” And by coming, I mean today. After waiting what felt like an eternal Westeros winter, Marvel Studios will finally reward us with the release of Joss Whedon’s take on The Avengers. If you haven’t already, take a moment to read our review of the film, re-watch the trailers, and then meet me back here for some fireworks and sno-cones. People have been saying for weeks now that the film is pretty great, and thankfully that is true. Whedon built a rich world for these Marvel characters; putting so much detail into their stories and their lives that it’s virtually impossible not to get wrapped up in the battle trickster Loki (Tom Hiddleston) wages with his brother Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the rest of the Avengers gang. But there is one surprising element lacking from The Avengers—pivotal women sharing scenes. Shocking considering Whedon has always been an advocate for female role models and has fought TV and film studios for years over the way he prefers to portray women in his cannon. Yes, he had huge pressure on his shoulders to craft a stellar superhero film, but of all the things Whedon could have done wrong why did he have to separate his two major women characters from each other? It’s a bit troubling to say the least.

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In a New York living room, sometime in the early 1970s, a young boy is sitting in front of his television (possibly watching an episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus) and playing with plastic toy figures of Earth’s mightiest heroes. He smashes The Hulk into Thor, zooms Iron Man around at incredible speed and makes Captain America leap over an H.R. Pufnstuf doll. Because, you know, he’s got one of those too. Forty some odd years later, that same little boy named Joss Whedon got a chance to slam those toys together again, and he achieved something that’s made up equally of the magic of childhood and the craftsmanship of a seasoned filmmaker. It was an impossible dream, a crazy call-out to the far left field bleachers, but The Avengers is the best movie that Marvel has made.

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Not to say that Robert Downey, Jr. and The Hulk aren’t sex symbols. They are. A huge portion of the population probably sees the battles of wit and weaponry in The Avengers trailers and gets a special tingle, but the other stereotypical side of the population that’s already (stereotypically speaking) in the bag for Marvel‘s new movie might be more inclined to see Scarlett Johansson in a low-slung black cocktail dress beat a bunch of guys with broken chair legs. Ask, and ye shall receive. After the adrenaline rushes, Marvel has released a brief scene aiming to get a different kind of bodily chemical flowing:

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Since moving to Germany, I’ve gotten used to watching movies overdubbed in Deutsch (last night was Charlie und die Schokoladenfabrik). Still, there’s no amount of dubbing that could prepare me for hearing Samuel L. Jackson say “We get ready,” in a deep, Russian baritone. Мы получаем готовый! The Russian trailer for The Avengers is essentially the same one from our shores, but they shine a bigger spotlight on Black Widow (which means extended footage of Scarlett Johansson looking like an ice-veined killer in black latex while explosions happen all over the place. It’s no surprise they’d treat native daughter, and former KGB operative, Natasha Romanoff with such respect. Now check it out for yourself:

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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IronMan2Header

You’ve been clamoring for non-grainy images, so we’re delivering them to you. Free of charge. (But please tip your waitstaff).

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WHY?

Scarlett Johansson is at the top of the list as Emily Blunt’s replacement as The Black Widow. Why this is the case, I have no idea.

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eliza-blackwidow

Eliza Dushku is interested in the role of Natalia Romanova, aka The Black Widow, in Iron Man 2. Do you think she’s a good fit? The discussion starts here.

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Emily Blunt as Black Widow?

The Devil Wears Prada actress might be pulling double duty as the Russian bad ass we know and love as Black Widow.

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blackwidow-hawkeye

Now that everyone has had time to calm down over the casting of Sylvester Stallone as The Riddler in Batman 3, it’s time to move on to some fresh rumors for other superhero films. Namely, an important and plausible casting rumor for Iron Man 2.

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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
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published: 12.12.2014
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