By all accounts, the Sony Marvel Universe looks like a really, really dumb idea.
It’s a series of movies that have some kind of shaky connection to the MCU, but this relationship is incredibly poorly defined. Sony’s movies will focus on side characters from the Spider-Man wheelhouse, as these are the only characters that Sony have available.
What’s more, the movies will be R-rated, even though this will create a horrendous tonal dissonance when compared with the rest of the MCU.
Oh, and Sony’s rushing these films out. Tom Hardy’s Venom movie is a little over a year away despite having only recently been greenlit.
From an objective perspective, Sony’s entire planned series of movies looks like an utterly terrible idea.
That said, the planned Black Cat/Silver Sable movie has the potential to be the most important movie in the history of comic book cinema.
Or, at least, the most important since Wonder Woman.
There aren’t exactly an overabundance of female-led superhero films, neither from the perspective of the main character, or the person behind the camera. Wonder Woman broke the mold by being a rare comic book movie focusing on a female hero, and by also having a female director.
This is something that even Marvel, with all its efforts to make diverse films, is struggling with. After trying desperately to find a female director for Captain Marvel, the studio ultimately settled on a pair of directors, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, meaning that even when this first female superhero solo Marvel movie finally arrives, every single one of Marvel’s films will still have had a man in the director’s seat.
By contrast, Silver and Black, the Black Cat/Silver Sable movie that Sony is working on, is being directed not just by a woman, but by a woman of color.
Have a search around IMDB. That’s a rare feat for any major motion picture, much less for a superhero blockbuster.
What’s more, director Gina Prince-Bythewood is absolutely thrilled to be working on this, and bringing a level of unbridled enthusiasm that you don’t normally see in Hollywood:
“I go to bed thinking about it, I wake up thinking about it, and during the day, I have my notebook where I’m jotting down ideas and visuals and music. It’s so up my alley in terms of these two female characters and who they are and what they’re about. It’s the perfect way for me to dive into the Marvel universe, to focus on these two women who I really respect and can’t wait to bring to life.”
Right here, in this single quote, Sony has achieved something that Marvel Studios has failed to manage: an expression of passionate excitement about a female led comic book project.
This sounds very similar to the kind of things that Patty Jenkins said in the runup to making Wonder Woman.
What’s more, while Gina Prince-Bythewood isn’t the most well-known of movie directors, her long list of awards speaks for itself. This is someone who not only has a talent for filmmaking, but is capable of bringing nuance and depth to a story – something that’s unfortunately uncommon in most quick comic book movie cash grabs.
Silver and Black is definitely worth keeping an eye on. If all goes well, this movie might be the next thing we see that lives up the feminist power of Wonder Woman, while also furthering the profile of directors of color in Hollywood.
Plus, it’s got Black Cat in it, and she’s awesome.