Marvel has finally chosen a director for “Black Widow”. Cate Shortland will be the first woman to helm an MCU film without having to share the director’s seat with a guy.
Marvel was clearly so uncomfortable about hiring Anna Boden for “Captain Marvel” that they made sure she had Ryan Fleck sharing directing duties.
The studio’s heads dropped Patty Jenkins from “Thor: The Dark World” out of a mistaken belief that she couldn’t do the story justice, before she proved them wrong with “Wonder Woman”. But I digress.
“Black Widow” is one of the only movies that Marvel has confirmed for their post-“Avengers 4” lineup that isn’t a direct sequel to previous film.
It’s also without a doubt the most anticipated new solo story that Marvel could possibly make. There’s an argument to be made that suggests the studio would never have even considered greenlighting this film were it not for the millions of fans who’ve spent over five years campaigning vocally for its existence.
So, we have a movie that Marvel probably doesn’t really want to make, being headlined by a director that they’re probably hesitant to work with.
In spite of this, based on Cate Shortland’s existing body of work alone, I think this might just be the most intense, exhilarating, grounded MCU movie to date.
Giving The Widow Teeth
Shortland is not exactly a director who specializes in typical comic book movie fare.
Her movies deal with big, weighty, meaty themes. She’s tangled with Nazis, obsessive relationships, and self-discovery.
Shortland is, to put it bluntly, a serious filmmaker.
I’m not saying that the Russo Brothers aren’t serious filmmakers, but let’s face it: they’re not really in the same league. They make fun romps, rather than gritty, realistic dramas.
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is perhaps the movie where Black Widow is used the best, and it’s all about this down and dirty, street-level spy stuff. Natasha Romanoff teaches Steve Rogers to blend into a crowd. She faces off against a global conspiracy, and infiltrates the ranks of a secret death cult.
All of this will likely pale in comparison to what Shortland has in store.
This is perfect, because if there’s any MCU movie that needs to be a gritty and grimy and angry and fierce piece of intense action drama, it’s the “Black Widow” movie.
A Good Look
This is a character who is an assassin and a spy. Yet she teams up with gods and supermen and flying magic robots.
There’s a disconnect here. Black Widow plays at being a superhero, but at the end of the day, she’s still got red in her ledger that won’t ever come out.
I want to see the inner workings of Natasha’s mind. I want to know how she feels when she’s faced with a difficult no-win scenario that Captain America would never have to deal with.
We should see Black Widow making tough decisions about who to kill, purely so that those morally compromising choices don’t get thrown onto the shoulders of a more righteous superhero.
I have the distinct impression that Cate Shortland is the perfect director to deliver this kind of morally grey filmmaking while staying within the boundaries of the MCU.
If you liked “The Winter Soldier” for its grounded, spy-based thriller plot, something tells me you’re going to love the “Black Widow” movie.