It’s impossible to not think about Martin Scorsese while watching the new Black Widow teaser, starring Scarlett Johansson. After her melodramatic death in last year’s Avengers: Endgame, the character has gotten her standalone film. Being the first film to come out in the aftermath of the exhausting back-and-forth between Hollywood puritans and Marvel fans, it’s sure to prompt conversation. Will the Marvel films make appropriate changes to ‘convert’ new fans or will they stick to their tried-and-tested formula that has resulted in a superhero movie template (blindly) generating billions of dollars?
The Black Widow teaser suggests that Marvel is probably sticking to what it knows best. The action looks sleekly choreographed, a style perfected by the Russo brothers. There’s dry humour too. Natasha Romanoff (Johansson) might be kicking ass during her globetrotting missions, but she needs to ‘stop running from her past’. Don’t we all? She seeks out her ‘sis’, fellow assassin – Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Iron Maiden (Rachel Weisz) and Red Guardian (David Harbour), to ‘go back where it all began’.
There’s a lot of familiarity in the teaser, that pegs the superspy to set things right from her past. Flashes of ballerinas, KGB and an army of spies (primarily made out of young women) make it easy to guess what this ‘past’ might be about. Where familiarity equals warmth in some cases, it might not seem the same for MCU’s 24th film. Also, as the first film of the MCU’s Phase Four, are the people in Marvel still innovating, instead of sticking to a formula devised with 2008’s Iron Man?
It’s just a teaser, obviously. It’s surely interesting to see Rachel Weisz here, considering her reputation as an actor’s actor. After superb indie outings in Lady Macbeth & Midsommar, Florence Pugh might be on her way to the worldwide fame she deserves. Also with Cate Shortland (Somersault, Berlin Syndrome), the MCU has kept its tradition of introducing incredible indie directors to the mainstream audience. But will Black Widow change things in a big way? We don’t know.
Will Black Widow make Martin Scorsese sit up and take notice? We’ll find out in May, 2020.