November’s Black Widow will be a first for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in many ways. Not only does it mark the long-awaited solo debut of one of the franchise’s most popular characters a decade after it was first mentioned as a possibility, but it’s also the first movie to star someone who’s dead in the main timeline, as well as the launchpad for Phase Four, which promises to be the MCU’s biggest yet thanks to an accompanying roster of Disney Plus exclusives.
Natasha Romanoff’s standalone adventure also sees director Cate Shortland become the first woman to fly solo and helm one of Marvel Studios’ superhero blockbusters, and Chloe Zao’s Eternals will make it two in a row when it hits theaters just three months later. Furthermore, with Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova taking second billing, not to mention plans for her to assume the codename on a permanent basis, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Black Widow has a heavy female-driven element.
In fact, the neckbeards are probably already gearing up to launch a similar trolling campaign to the one that attempted to sabotage Captain Marvel, especially now that Scarlett Johansson has admitted that Natasha is most definitely a feminist, and the movie itself will look to incorporate some real world issues into the story.
“I think this film in particular is very much reflective of what’s going on in regards to the Time’s Up movement and the #MeToo movement. It would be such a miss if we didn’t address that stuff, if this film didn’t take that head-on. I think, particularly for Cate, it was so important for her to make a movie about women who are helping other women, who lift other women up out of a very difficulty situation. Someone asked me if Natasha was a feminist. Of course she is, it’s obvious. It’s kind of an asinine question.”
Messages in films are perfectly acceptable as long as they don’t become too cloying and on-the-nose, and as a $150 million espionage-influenced blockbuster that’s part of the biggest and most popular franchise in the business, there’s little chance of Black Widow becoming bogged down in social politics and societal subtext at the expense of telling a thrilling and action-packed tale.