‘Black Widow’ Roundtable: Trailer Breakdown

As anticipation builds around Black Widow‘s May 2020 release, launching Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we want to discuss some of our opinions about the film’s trailer and the future of the MCU.

Black Widow was directed by Cate Shortland. This makes the film the first solo female directed film in the MCU. This is no small feat as 4 of the biggest superhero movies of 2020 are directed by women. Do you think this sets a good tone for the future of the MCU, superhero films, and female-led projects in general?

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Lizzie: Yes, yes, yes. I think it’s saying a lot that we’re here, and that there isn’t just one movie we need to set all our hopes and dreams on. It’s a perspective that was needed, especially when it comes to female-led movies. Surprise surprise, but a male director cannot really understand a female lead as well as a female director. GASP, I know. Now, of course, I’m greedy, because I wish we could go one step farther and make WOC the norm, too.

Lyra: Absolutely. It tells the world and everyone that’s watching that change is on the horizon. Did that change take AGES UPON AGES? YES, IT DID. But change is here and I’m not going to spurn it because it took a while.

Shelby: I couldn’t agree more! This change is for the better of everyone involved, whether it be the creative team or the audience. It is so important to see women in all fields of work, because they are capable and damn good at it. Hopefully this leads to more and more opportunities for all of those who haven’t been properly reflected in the various aspects of the filmmaking process.

There’s a shot of Budapest in this trailer. Do you think that we’ll finally get to know about Natasha and Clint’s time there?

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Lizzie: Please, let it be so. The MCU hasn’t teased anything without giving us an answer as much as they’ve teased this. The only thing I’m scared of is that seeing Budapest will take me back to those days when we all thought Clintasha was gonna be a thing, you know, before Joss’s ill-conceived Hulk/Nat idea, and, you know, Clint’s secret family. Oh, those were the days.

Lyra: I hope so! That part, their past together, has always been such an interesting part of both of their lives. And I have a feeling that it’s going to be character defining for me as a viewer and them as characters in general as we see the moments that brought them together.

Shelby: Exactly! I can’t help but to think that this is the perfect spot for the MCU to lean into Clint and Natasha’s friendship and deep connection even more. If they are going to double down on her tragic and unnecessary death, then it would only make sense to look deeper into one of the key friends she gave her life to protect.

Did you spot a younger General Thaddeus Ross? How do you think he will play into Natasha’s story?

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Lizzie: I did, and I’m kinda mad that this seems to be tying Bruce and Nat’s storylines together even more. NO. Let’s just erase any connection.

Lyra: No. I have no idea who that is. Lizzie says it’s from The Hulk. I’ve never watched that. #Sorry

Shelby: YES. He’s also in Captain America: Civil War, among other MCU films. He sort of pops in to rein in the Avengers when things get a bit too hectic. That’s why I’m curious to see why he’s involved in this phase of Nat’s story. I hope Lizzie is wrong in her theory about Ross linking Bruce and Nat together. I’ve never been a fan of the way the MCU went about the whole Bruce and Natasha thing, and I don’t see Black Widow changing my opinions on that.

This movie supposedly takes place between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. Why do you think that is?

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Lizzie: Because dumbasses killed Nat in the stupidest way possible, and yet they still wanna capitalize on how female-led movies are making bank these days, by attempting to give us the movie they should have given us like 5 years ago.

Lyra: Wait, what now? It does?! OMG. That sounds interesting as hell and it makes me a bit sad because that means that Black Widow is still dead. Someone hold me and help me with this pain!

Shelby: While I want to be optimistic and believe this is Marvel’s way of giving us a deeper look into Natasha’s origins and relationships outside of the Avengers, I am with Lizzie in that the timing does seem suspicious. I want to believe Black Widow is meant to fill all the blanks of what Natasha got up to before joining Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson to fight injustice in the shadows, on the run from people like Ross and the government.  Long-time fans of the MCU and Natasha are no strangers to the struggle of waiting for this movie to happen. It has been YEARS. Only after Natasha’s death, which received a justified level of backlash, is Marvel giving fans the movie they have been waiting so long to see.

The trailer uses the same speech Natasha gives Steve in Avengers: Endgame. She talks about finding a place and a family amongst the Avengers. How do you think characters like Yelena, Alexei, and Melina are going to juxtapose the Avengers?

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Lizzie: I think we’re going to see this go from the family she had and lost to the family she gained in the Avengers, which in many ways, was always Nat’s journey. She was a loner, and she found a family, and that’s why she sacrificed herself, because she’d do anything for that family.

Lyra: Honestly, I’ve been staring at this question for a while with no way to answer it.

Shelby: The fact that we can’t really come to a concise answer about how these new characters will differ from the family Nat found with the Avengers may be the point itself. Maybe those connections or comparisons can only be made after we watch the movie. Though, Lizzie may be right, and this may only help us better understand why Natasha was so willing to give up everything for her family.

Yelena is such a huge character from the comics, and fans are buzzing to finally see her on screen. What are you most looking forward to about her character?

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Lizzie: I know very little about her, other than who she becomes, but I’m HYPED for Florence Pugh, who I think is a tremendous actress. I hope the movie does a good job of setting up her story, and I hope we get to see more of her in the future.

Lyra: I’m most looking forward to seeing how this new character compares to Natasha. Both have probably had the same training but ended up in completely different positions in life.

Shelby: All of this! I am so excited to see all of this and more. I agree with Lizzie about Florence being a stellar actress. I know she is going to bring all of the heart and determination to Yelena. I hope that if this movie does expand into some sort of trilogy, it does show who Yelena becomes. She would make an excellent member of the Young Avengers. I’m still rooting for that movie or Disney+ series. I’d take either.

Speaking of the comics, the Red Rooms are a massive deal. The MCU has only briefly touched on Natasha’s time there, however, from the trailer alone, it looks like Black Widow is going to fill in a lot of the blanks with that story. Are you interested in learning more about the Red Room?

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Lizzie: Very much so. This has been a long time coming, and it informs so much of who Natasha is. Plus, it’s one of the few MCU storylines that feels like it really and truly deals with what being a woman is, or at least, one that deals with the kind of things that mostly happen to women, in the context of this massive comics world.

Lyra: I am excited for the Red Rooms because they were a defining factor for Natasha that haunted her for years. Plus it’s got some pretty fucked up shit that happened to Natasha and I want to fill in the blanks on her story, warts and all.

Shelby: Yes! Honestly, I’m interested to see if this film reconstructs what we learned about the Red Room and Natasha’s journey in Avengers: Age of Ultron. It’s no secret that lots of Marvel and Black Widow fans were not pleased with the way Natasha was villainized due to her sterilization. I’m curious to see how or if the story of the Red Room will be different through the eyes of a female filmmaker.

What do you think of all of the different suits we get to see Natasha in? They likely all have their own story and place in her past.

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Lizzie: Half of me is excited, half of me is still mad that we’re getting to see this when the character has no future. Robbed is what I feel.

Lyra: I feel robbed. That’s what I am. We could’ve and should’ve had these different suits ages ago. God, why can’t I be normal and not rant about this again. That’s what happens when you’re robbed.

Shelby: I agree. There were plenty of opportunities to show different suits, even if they aren’t canonically and chronologically correct. Other superheroes were getting very obvious and intricate suit upgrades each movie, while Natasha’s suit only changed slightly. That being said, I am super excited to see that infamous white suit on the big screen.

Taskmaster has the ability to mimic the physical abilities of his opponents, which can’t make an easy fight. The trailer shows quick glimpses of Taskmaster. The best is probably his fight with The Red Guardian aka Alexei. What are your initial impressions?

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Lizzie: I’m not one for fight scenes, but this fight scene looks like it’s gonna be INTENSE. I love that it doesn’t seem like they’re going to go easy on the action in this movie because it’s a female-led movie.

Lyra: I love fight scenes and am looking forward to seeing ass kicking from the left, right, and every which way possible. No holding back or taking it easy cuz women.

Shelby: I’m with both of you in the excitement of a female-led action film. We could always use more of those. As for Taskmaster, he’s going to make quite the opponent. It would be quite satisfying to see Natasha, Yelena, and Melina (with the support of Alexei) take Taskmaster on.

The Red Guardian is the Soviet Union’s version of Captain America. This is another great way to weave the universe together, as Alexei has likely run into Cap at some point over the years — even if it is off screen. What are the chances that we may see an ominous flashback with Cap?

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Lizzie: Honestly, considering this is set in the past, I’d pay good money for a Cap flashback. Also a Tony one. I know this might seem like a lot to ask, all things considered, but come on, MCU. You usually know how to deliver on the nostalgia, if nothing else.

Lyra: Omg, I never even thought about that. Part of me would kill for more Captain America while the other remembers how he abandoned Bucky, his best friend forever, for a woman he barely knew. O yeah, still over here in bitter town.

Shelby: I’m not too optimistic for a Cap flashback in Black Widow. As much as I’d love to see Chris Evans as Steve Rogers again, I do not want it to distract from Natasha’s story finally being told in a standalone film. However, if this does expand into its own trilogy, I think there will be even more room to look into the Red Guardian’s past with Captain America. I’d be up for it!

What are you looking forward to seeing in Black Widow?

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Lizzie: Everything but ScarJo? I kid, or at least I kid a little. I’m mostly excited about Yelena, to be honest. I’m excited about the possibilities, mostly because it’d be nice to have a Black Widow I can unreservedly root for.

Lyra: The backstory of it all and where Black Widow came from is what I’m most excited for. Also, want to see if her old associates have anything to say about her new career.

Shelby: Fair, Lizzie. I’m still trying to process that this movie is actually happening. It is such a long time coming. It still feels like someone is going to say it was all a big prank and take this from us. Is it May yet? I need to watch this movie and experience it so that I know it’s real.

What are your hopes for Phase 4 of the MCU knowing that it starts with Black Widow’s release?

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Lizzie: I’ve lost some of the faith after Avengers: Endgame. I’m not sure I believe these people know what a true journey is, or how to make me enjoy one. So I’m going into this with my expectations as low as possible. Hopefully, they’ll get me invested again.

Lyra: Honestly, I’m with Lizzie. I’ve lost faith in Avengers after what happened with Endgame. That movie decided that I knew nothing about the characters I loved and went about its own way. Who’s to say they won’t do that to Black Widow as well?

Shelby: I’m most excited to see how the Disney+ shows connect and fold into the films. The scope of the universe is so much larger than it was at the start of the decade, and that means the stories can go anywhere and everywhere. I’m ready to see where that journey takes me.

What did you think of the Black Widow trailer? Let us know in the comments below! 

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