Worst: Where is her solo film?
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is almost a decade old. Despite its critical and financial success, Marvel's films still play it safe when it comes to diversity. The fact that we haven't had any women or people of color lead these films yet isn't an oversight (Black Panther will start correcting that in 2018). But the lack of a Black Widow sidequel is outright ridiculous. 2014's Lucy, which earned a whopping $463 million worldwide on a $40 million budget, proved Scarlett Johansson is an actress whose name recognition can really sell a film, and she can handle heavy action roles -- a rarity for either gender in modern Hollywood. Plus, Black Widow fans have been outspoken about demanding to see the character headline her own film. So why hasn't it happened yet? Marvel is on a path, with movies lined up through 2019. According to the company's continued claims, there hasn't been room for Black Widow... yet.
"Black Widow: The Name of the Rose" by Marjorie Liu and Daniel Acuna would be a great inspiration to draw from. I would kill to see her tense showdown with Lady Bullseye come to the screen (even though it's unlikely that character will make it to the big screen). There's no blood shed, no guns drawn; instead, the sequence highlights Black Widow's cunning and resolve. With comic-book movies reaching a zenith in scope, where the entire world must hang in the balance time and time again, a Black Widow movie could scale down without losing any of the energy.
Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige recently said, "Of the characters [in the series], I would say certainly the one creatively and emotionally that we are most committing to doing [a solo film for] is Black Widow." I'll believe it when I see it.
Black Widow is complex, dynamic, kick-ass, and incredibly fascinating. It's time Marvel treats her with the reverence she deserves. Because she's the best.
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Angelica Jade Bastién is a freelance critic and essayist based in Chicago. She's written for Vulture, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Bright Wall/Dark Room, and RogerEbert.com. You can find her on Twitter: @angelicabastien.