With the recent announcement of nine new Marvel films, there’s been some talk about why The Hulk and Black Widow are left out of the solo scene.
The first two Hulk centric movies, The Hulk (2003) and The Incredible Hulk (2008), were flat out terrible. The production was bad and the storyline was less than impressive. It was not a great showing for Marvel. So when Mark Ruffalo joined the Avengers cast a few years ago and “crushed” the competition for memorable screen time moments, we were all surprised. Suddenly, the Hulk was a much more interesting character. But does he deserve another shot at a solo film? I’m not convinced.
Terrible as they were, the first two Hulk films covered his backstory fairly solidly. What’s left now is to go forward in his timeline, but I don’t really think that his character can pan out a whole film again so soon. Cinematically, I think he works better as part of the group. Remember, once Banner goes Hulk he loses most of his ability to hold a conversation and take directions other than simply, “Smash.” And as part of an action film, he’d have to Hulk out at least a few times. Only, I’ve seen just about enough of the pointless attempts to shoot him down and I don’t think a movie about him playing doctor in poor countries is as great a box office draw as his fans hope it is. Do I think there’s room for another Hulk appearance down the line? Absolutely. And when that time comes, I hope Mark Ruffalo reprises his role. I love seeing him play the big guy.
As for Black Widow, my instincts tell me to say, “Yes. Make the film.” I love her character and I’m dying to get to see more of her back story up on the silver screen. Plus, we know that Scarlett Johansson could make a smash at the box office. But the more I think about a solo film for her, the more I realize that part of what makes Natasha awesome is her ability to show up other people. She’s done it time and again in both of the Iron Man films, the Avengers, and then again most recently in the new Captain America. She’s the “supporting character” who dominates the screen, drawing your attention away from the superhero by being smart, sassy, and extraordinarily skillful in martial arts. She’s the “average human” with whom we can relate to, knowing that we don’t need a weaponized suit of armor, super strength injections, or an Asgardian passport to emulate her. But what happens if you take Natasha out of the SHIELD shadow? She’s an assassin by trade who specializes in working undercover to take down the bad guys. Would she look as good without someone to show up? Personally, I thought she and the Captain made quite a good team in Winter Soldier. Maybe if she and Hawkeye joined forces for a film, there’d be enough workspace for her?
Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige said of Black Widow, “Her part in Avengers: Age of Ultron is very, very big. And further develops and enhances her character. The plans that we have for her throughout the rest of the Avengers saga is very, very big, and linchpin, in fact, to those films. So instead of taking her out [of] there, or instead of doing a prequel, which we haven’t done yet, [we’re] continuing the forward momentum of the continuity of the cinematic universe of which Widow is a key, key part.”
I’d like to see where these new developments take Natasha before I rule fully on the issue of a solo film. It sounds like she’s getting some critical screen time over the next few years and that could be just as good for her character as a solo film would be.
What are your thoughts on the recent Marvel announcement? Nine new films to come and some of them with characters we haven’t seen before like Black Panther and Captain Marvel. Let me know what you think in the comments down below!