Marvel's Black Widow movie will move away from the comics
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has faced many criticisms over the past 11 years.
Complaining seems to be routine part of life for the faction of comic book superfans who are very vocal on the internet. Places like Twitter and Reddit are set on fire any time the MCU announces something that seems to "dishonor" the comics. For a certain type of Marvel fan, foregoing the sacred texts is considered a mortal sin; a fate worse than death. But according to an interview on Inverse, the writer of the upcoming Black Widow film doesn't give a shit about that. And for good reason—have you ever seen some of the portrayals of women in these decades-old books? Whew. Not great.
Jac Schaeffer said she "can't not be involved" in the new wave of female-centered stories that Marvel has in store for its Phase 4. The writer, whose weird sci-fi rom-com, TiMER, happened to hit theaters the same weekend as Iron Man 2 in 2010, is rejecting the problematic, sometimes outright oppressive texts from Marvel history that fanboys take so much stock in today. She said "I'm not interested in adhering to comic canon that is discriminatory in any way or that violates my values system." Hell. Yeah. And regarding the trolls who flock to Rotten Tomatoes to "review bomb" films that they see as too alienating for white men, or rather, too empowering for women and marginalized voices, she told Inverse, “When people react with hate, it saddens me. I think it’s a shame. But that’s not where I want to put my energy. I’m not interested in the loud, sour-grapes voices.”
Comic books are historically guilty of problematic depictions of women. And some of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have been guilty of the same treatment. Black Widow's first appearance in Iron Man 2, after all, has Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark literally saying "I want one."
Natasha Romanoff, like many female characters in comics, is in dire need of an update. But it looks like Jac Shaeffer is set to change all that. She told Inverse, “I wasn’t a huge superhero movie fan before starting to work [at Marvel], but now that I’m doing it, there’s just so much opportunity to make big, positive statements."
Hopefully the Black Widow movie, which is set to come out on May 1, 2020, will set a new precedent for how women are treated in these narratives.