500 Reasons Why There Should Be a Black Widow Solo Film

black widow1) As Scarlett Johansson rightly stated, Black Widow’s history is rich, and steeped with great stories to tell. As a spy, she has been involved in so many organisations, and this has been touched on by the MCU, which uses her as a bridge to connect HYDRA and the Red Programme, The Winter Soldier and SHIELD. Exploring her past in a more comprehensive manner would have the advantage of revealing her associations to each, as well as weaving a complex web of relations.

2) Natasha Romanoff is a Russian woman. To have her star as a protagonist would be a huge leap for Marvel, as characters of non-American ethnicity, when featured, are generally played as villains or thugs, rather than with heroic story arcs. This is superbly illustrated by the fact that the woman that Marvel has picked up to title the first solo superheroine film is Carol Danvers, a white American woman with a military background, despite Natasha’s pre-existence as a popular MCU character.

3) The Black Widow is very popular (and the lone Marvel superheroine). She has an avid and dedicated following, who would be more than willing to watch and applaud a solo film, as seen from demonstrations, tweets and general comments made since Natasha Romanoff first appeared on the big screen. Furthermore, there is no disagreement from higher levels such as Kevin Feige. It would be a very easy sell.

4) There are already fanmade title sequences and trailers of the film! Beautifully made, one has tricked many an unsuspecting Marvel fan that a Black Widow film was on the table. In fact, given the quality of the trailer, if the film was made, it might outstrip the rest of Marvel’s creations so far. Additionally, there’s no shortage of actor, writer and director enthusiasm – a treatment of the film was written back in 2010, and many celebrities have been quoted as saying that they’d be on board with the enterprise.

black widow

This is, along with the top-most image, is a screenshot from a superb title track you can find here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhR6eZWOMeU

5) If a movie were to be made, it would give audiences the added pleasure of potentially delving into Hawkeye and Bucky Barnes’ histories as well, uncovering more backstory and spy shenanigans.

Reasons 6-500) Natasha Romanoff is one badass lady, and on top of that, she is a chameleon. She evolves, constantly. Wouldn’t it be awesome to watch those metamorphoses on screen? (the answer is a resounding YES).

The Potential of Jane Foster

I recently watched Thor: The Dark World, which I’ll be getting to in a later post (I felt that this deserved its own, because it’s more encompassing than Jane’s character as seen in Thor: The Dark World).
Jane Foster, reincarnated anew for the Marvel films, could have been the greatest woman to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date. She truly could.
In various of the Marvel comics universes, Jane is usually depicted as a nurse who works for, and who quickly becomes romantically entangled with Thor’s human alter-ego, Dr. Don Blake. In some more recent cases, she has been a doctor who works alongside Dr. Blake, as Marvel has begun to give more women positions of authority, but one thing remains true: she is always the supporting character, the love interest who is usually seen in conflict with Sif from Asgard, and who enjoys the excitement of the forbidden love trope due to Odin’s disapproval.
For what I believe could have been a multitude of reasons, Marvel decided not to use the concept of a hidden identity with Thor at all, and the character of Dr. Don Blake, the form into which Odin forced Thor into when he was sent to Midgard (Earth) when exiled, has yet to be mentioned at all. It is my belief that he may be referred to as the persona Thor takes on Midgard in the announced Thor 3, but it seems that Marvel has scrapped the entire storyline thus far. This renders Jane Foster, as she appears in comic-verse, completely obsolete. Hence, when Marvel started its new film franchise, it had to re-create her character – find her a new job in this new world that would mean she could easily get into contact with Thor upon his arrival on Midgard, and thus retain her role as a main supporting character.
This, in my opinion, could have been Marvel’s biggest chance to create a modern, truly identifiable woman and push the depiction of women on screen to a higher level of realism. And, to be quite frank, in my (biased, subjective) opinion, Marvel did not do this completely. Maybe mostly. But definitely not in the elegant way that I had hoped for.

Right now, in films, the only strong women are those who are seen picking up a weapon and fighting – becoming ‘one of the guys’. This seems to be following Germaine Greer’s interpretation of women as effectively having to become transvestites and lose their status as a woman in order to succeed in a man’s world. For example, to take the character of Pepper Potts; many people commented that in Iron Man 3 she becomes a strong woman and gets to “do more”. Well. Yes, she gets more action, but does that make her a stronger woman? Why does she have to pick up the suit and kill Killian to be justified as a strong independent woman who saves Tony, when she’s done so hundreds of times in her role as PA, friend and CEO? Why can people not see Pepper as she is; a powerful, articulate woman in her own right, who steps up and helps Tony in any way she can because she is a loyal friend and lover?

Marvel does have a spectrum when it comes to level of physicality shown by its female characters, ranging from Jane on one end of the extreme, to the likes of her intern Darcy Lewis and Dr Simmons, who are occasionally handy with a tazer, to Pepper Potts, who engages in violence in Iron Man 3 and displays the capability of violence way back in Iron Man 1 (she kills Obadiah Stane, remember?) to women who have made fighting their career, and are the epitome of the ‘attractive woman warrior’ – Natasha Romanov (the Black Widow), Agent May and Sif. However, the majority of the women do use weapons, and are inviting the view that the only women who deserve to be on screen are those who can be labelled as ‘bad-ass’, or who have successfully negotiated their sexuality in order to integrate themselves into a patriarchal society. The problem with so many ‘strong warrior women’ is that they set unbelievable expectations for women. So girls end up thinking that they aren’t good enough, that they can’t succeed as women, because they don’t have the ability to fall down four stories and shoot out all the guards in the process. It also means they now don’t identify with any of the characters, since the male characters are also depicted as very physically capable and strong (not to mention the under-representation of racial and sexual diversity).
This is where Jane comes in. Jane is given a position of relative authority: she is an astrophysicist, which suggests her high intellect, capacity to imagine and innovate, and determination in a hard science field that is male-dominated. She has an intern. What’s more, Marvel spends quite a bit of screen time on Jane in both Thor and Thor: The Dark World. I believe that in Jane’s character, Marvel has begun to show one of the newer strands of feminist movement, wherein a woman does not have to adopt a man’s role in order to succeed, but should be accepted as herself, as a real, happy, successful woman, not because she “can do anything a man can do” but by accepting everything that she is, whether she’s a warrior or an accountant or a stay at home mum. Because compared to the other women in the MCU at the moment, Jane is the only woman who does not fight physically. Yes, there are other characters who are similar to her, such as Dr. Jemma Simmons in the Marvel T.V. spin-off Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but even she renders a man unconscious in Episode 7.
I think it’s great that we have Jane’s intelligence and physical normality (also why I think a lot of people picked up on Darcy – she’s just a normal early 20s student concerned with her iPod and matchmaking her friend with this hot dude that she likes), rather than another super-capable spy/assassin/fighter like Natasha Romanov. Natasha is amazing, but not all women are like her. Jane isn’t that tough. She can’t kill a man with her hands and she doesn’t have a ninja move like the thigh strangle-hold. The point is, neither can I. Neither can any of the women I know.
Jane Foster enters the MCU and shows girls that their brains can be just as heroic as their bodies. That intelligence is strong as well. She’s (mostly) realistic. Being a strong woman doesn’t mean giving up sexuality and not being attracted to men at all. In order to appreciate ourselves, we don’t have to be blind to the other sex. One can point out aesthetically pleasing men, can date men, can interact intimately with men and marry men, and still be an independent woman. It is possible, and many women do it. Jane does this, to some extent. Yes, she giggles when she sees Thor. Yes, she’s attracted to him. But what often gets overlooked is that Thor is also her science project. She has spent her entire life studying space, and then suddenly, she literally bumps into an alien from another realm. Thor becomes the biggest bit of proof she’s ever gotten – of course she’s going to try to stay close to him. He IS science. In Thor: The Dark World, this is expanded upon, as Jane is now placed in an unfamiliar environment and has the opportunity to explore Asgard and experience the ‘magic’ of the Aesir.
Now, where Marvel stumbled, in my opinion: firstly, in pushing the agenda of the Hollywood romance, and secondly, succumbing to the bad-ass trope.

In a way, I believe that Jane Foster is the truest depiction of a scientist that is given in the MCU. Bruce Banner, Tony Stark; while being scientists, they have motivations other than the desire to learn; to gather more knowledge, and they are both, at the end of the day, very self-serving. Meanwhile, Jane has studied astrophysics all of her life, without being able to verify if she was getting anywhere, if her assumptions were right, for the sake of the science itself. She is characterised by her determination and perseverance in the face of obstacles such as S.H.I.E.L.D. and a broken Bifrost. She doesn’t give up after Thor goes back to Asgard, she continues her research.
In Thor, we don’t get this impression strongly enough. In Thor, most of what I saw was Jane apparently falling deeply in love with someone whom she’d known for, what, 2 days? I felt that was unrealistic. I felt that Marvel, instead of focussing on Jane as a character, stretched the romantic love story aspect of the plot to such an extent as to render it unbelievable. In trying to provide for a Hollywood romance, Marvel flattened what could have been a magnificent three-dimensional depiction of a woman, of a person. They do rectify this somewhat in Thor: The Dark World, but the result is a character without a strong foundation to build on.

 

Secondly, in Thor: The Dark World, I thought that Marvel fell into the trap of trying to force Jane to be a bad-ass. The slaps, an overused trope of female indignation, didn’t quite fit into the film, in my opinion, and seemed to be an attempt to satisfy the demographic that thinks strength can only displayed in physical shows of violence.So by the end of Thor: The Dark World, we are left with all of this potential, all the beauty and strength and awesomeness of what Jane Foster could be, and it is overlooked by the romantic aspect of Thor and her relationship (as well as the frankly uninspiring plot). Which, to me, was extremely disappointing.

Cliched as a Girl in the Flower Dress

I have been neglecting this blog a bit.

Sorry.

(I had lots of excuses here, but they were all clichéd and useless and really, who wants to read those anyway?)

However, as the Armageddon Expo is this weekend, and I am attending for the first time ever, I will definitely be blogging on how that goes, after the whole event is over. I promise 🙂

November is almost here, and with it comes Thor: The Dark World (expect for in France, which gets it on October the 31st) and, on the 23rd, The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special; The Day of the Doctor.

December brings, on the 11th, The Hobbit:The Desolation Of Smaug,

January the 19th is the newly announced Season 3 Sherlock premiere date.

There are also the weekly previews of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show.

Then there’re The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Antman, Guardians of the Galaxy and so forth…

I have decided not to watch any of the trailers that have been released, which is kinda why I’ve been a bit silent – if I’m not watching them, I can’t very well write about them, now can I? But I am very much looking forward to them, especially since Thor: The Dark World is meant to be very promising since Joss Whedon fixed some problematic scenes. I very sincerely hope that Jane is going to be a stronger character than in the first film, not just a besotted damselish scientist who gets the buff guy unexpectedly.

And all off my friends have been going on and on about the wondrous growly voice of the magnificent Cumberdagon – Smaug – who speaks in the new trailer. I haven’t seen it, but you can below 🙂 I think that I want to wait and see if the anticipation is worth it. That way I will have tried both methods; the wait and see, and the watch all you can beforehand, so I will know exactly what to do for the final installment in the trilogy.

However, I did recently see the Iron Man 3 blooper reel and how they did the ‘barrel of monkeys’ sceneit is absolutely incredible – the amount of people who worked on that scene to get everything to match up what with all the layers of CGI. And the fact that it’s REAL! Real skydivers doing the action sequence! REAL!!!!!! (yes, I am very impressed, can you tell?)

Also, on my quest for an identification card for Coulson, I discovered the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D website, which has some other handy accessories and a bit of info on the characters so far.

However, I have to say, I am not convinced with the show itself. Really, this is what we’re doing, Whedon? Really? Inserting a bundle of clichés into every episode and not even making them well-executed clichés? The internet told me that The Girl in the Flower Dress is the best episode yet. I will have to respectfully disagree with you on that point, internet. I am not seeing the show increase in quality, let alone in the bounds and leaps described by others. It’s okay. It has a couple of characters that I like, it has a plot line that I find intriguing because of the Project Centipede thingy (not because of Skye), and I’m trying to like it because it might have promise. Hopefully this will be revealed before the penultimate episode.

Also, I really want to know how Coulson lives.

What say you?

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is a TV Show…(right)

I don’t have a TV, okay? So when I watch TV series, it’s either with friends who have taped the episode or on a DVD. I therefore don’t really have any experience in the weekly anticipation game.

Basically, I forgot that Agents of S.H,I.E.L.D. is a current show, and that there would be a new episode every week. I was very pleasantly surprised 😉

The second episode? Was great! The ending was especially brilliant – the whole Samuel L. Jackson cameo deserves all the hype that it seems to have gotten from fans. Personally, I think that the episodes will get even better after the universe and characters are more firmly established, although they’re pretty good already.

Characterwise:

FitzSimmons: are the ScienceBros of SHIELD, it seems, and have already received the affectionate nickname of ‘Science Babes’. If they end up a couple, I will not be happy – I am getting a sense of best friends here, and I don’t want that ruined.

SkyeWard: has had a couple of ‘moments’ already; it seems as if the tension between them is gearing up into a relationship. Please, please, I don’t want that to happen! Way too obvious a pairing, and also, it would detract considerably from the team element the show seems to be about. Skye’s machinations are casting her in a dubious light, but so far I like her much more than Gwen from Torchwood, whose character is similar but annoyed me much more. Ward is okay, I guess. Not my favourites.

Melinda May: Is the one I’m really interested in, apart from Coulson. She has an interesting and mysterious backstory, and a BAMF-ness to her – I mean, the cavalry? that definitely implies single-handedly saving lots of people – that I find admirable. Not to mention it looks like even Coulson is wary of her. Legend!!

Coulson: Wow, dude, I did not expect that, I have to say. For some reason, I simply can not picture Coulson dating! And, did you hear? Again with the “Tahiti. It’s a magical place”. I wonder if they’ll fit that in into every single episode…

We’re putting the fishtank on hold until next week, everyone,

Let’s call me Lily

Life Decoy For Coulson: Activated

As everyone in the Avenger’s fandom already knows, COULSON LIVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In the new spin-off TV show, directed by Joss Whedon, we get to see “Clark Gregg repris[ing] his role of Agent Phil Coulson from Marvel’s feature films as he assembles a small, highly select group of Agents from the worldwide law-enforcement organization known as S.H.I.E.L.D. Together they investigate the new, the strange, and the unknown across the globe, protecting the ordinary from the extraordinary.”

Set post-Avengers (but, from what we can tell, pre-Iron Man 3), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. brings back Phil Coulson, who in the Avengers supposedly died…Fans have come up with theories as they analysed these suspicious statements after Coulson describes his death as being “shanked by the Asgardian Mussolini and you can tell it your way. I was looking at the big bright light and it felt a lot longer than 8 seconds”  and then recovering in Tahiti, a ‘magical’ place:

Doc: Tahiti. He really doesn’t know does he?

Maria Hill: He can never know.

Some common theories out there are

  1. Cloning
  2. A robot/Cyborg (either the Coulson of the show is, or the Coulson who died is)
  3. A Life Model Decoy
  4. Dr Strange heals him with magic
  5. Coulson volunteering to trial the government’s attempts at the Super Soldier Serum trials, or being injected with a variety of the serum after ‘death’,

Meanwhile, a friend of mine thinks that the fanfiction idol scifigrl47, who is the authoress of the Toasterverse (which has its own trope page and is one the  MOST popular and well-known Stony fics ever), hit it right on the money her fanfiction Hollow Your Bones Like A Bird’s, where she writes that Asgardian healers were working on Coulson until he finally pulled through, because of the magic-related injury he received from the staff in The Avengers.

We’ll have to see – maybe what Coulson says happened really did happen! Only Joss Whedon and Clark Gregg know, and they sure ain’t telling.

The agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (minus Maria Hill :( ) From the left: Skye (Chloe Bennet). Agent Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), Agent Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg),  Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) and Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton).

The agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (minus Maria Hill 😦 )
From the left: Skye (Chloe Bennet). Agent Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), Agent Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) and Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton).

The show in itself, which I saw a couple of days ago, is certainly exciting, although there are a few minor things that suspended belief. Personally, I felt that some of the technology, such as the little robots (The 7 Dwarves), should either be stamped with Stark Industries on them or be experimental Stark products, as they were pretty advanced stuff, which didn’t seem in keeping with The Avengers and the Iron Man arc that informed the audience of the level of technology in the Marvel Phase universe, and suggested that it was only Stark Industries who was on the level shown in the episode. Also, don’t try to tell me that the flying car wasn’t made by Tony himself, because I will not believe it. Stark Resilient, anyone?

Also, while some people have been complaining about the state (or lack thereof) of various people’s (nominally Skye) hair when living in a van, I am more concerned with the fact that she is living in a van. If she is so good at hacking, why hasn’t she been snapped up by some agency, or, hell, by Stark Industries? What’s she doing in a van? Rising Tide employee, I get it, but surely she could have done that as a side project, since it seems she has so much spare time on her hands?

Apart from that, and the massive amount of back story that the pilot was trying to set up and fit in, I am very excited and cannot wait for more episodes.

What are your thoughts on the episode? Have you starting rooting for a ship, or have a favourite character so far (other than Coulson)?

Let’s call me Lily

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Official Trailer

The TV series, based on the organisation SHIELD as seen in the Marvel films, offers the unique perspective on the agents who deal with superheroes…and supervillains. This is their first official offering:

COULSON LIVES!! (And has somehow turned into a macho-expensive-car-naming man, but I’m guessing it’s all Stark’s fault)

Well, it looks interesting. As I don’t have a TV, I’ll probably have to wait a while to watch it, by which time everyone will have probably told me whether it’s worth watching or not…

Looking forward to it!