Black Widow Review: It's an uninspiring film that leaves much to be desired

I'm posting this blog because movie review links are broken on Comic Vine.

Score: 3/5 & 6.5/10

Imagine a film that places a protagonist as cool as Batman in an international spy film like Mission Impossible. That's what Black Widow could've been, but that's not what it was. Instead, the film was an uninspired rehash of Captain America The Winter Soldier and the Punisher season 1 with elements of Mission Impossible sprinkled in the mix. This is a crying shame because a Black Widow movie was long overdue ever since she was introduced in Iron Man 2 and this is what the final product ended up being is just downright disheartening. This film had so much wasted potential with a compelling central character and an interesting premise that was flushed down the drain. So without further adieu let's dive in.

Black Widow sees Natasha Romanoff dragged into Yelena Belova's plan to take down the Red Room. This could've been a compelling plot had the film been able to maintain the level of interest that the opening sequence establishes. When the film opens we see Natasha's family fleeing SHIELD agents and then going to the arms of Russian operatives. Those operatives then take Natasha and Yelena away and send them to the Red Room. That opening sequence followed by the opening credits was enough to hook me into seeing the rest of the film. Unfortunately, the film devolves into a generic Marvel movie that's extremely predictable. Here lies Marvel's biggest problem, their refusal to take risks especially with their movies. They want to stay on brand and not try anything new. Which they could've done with a character like Black Widow and made it a true international spy movie. Instead, the film is a generic action movie that doesn't feel like a spy movie at all aside from utilizing a few tropes I. E. disguises. There's no scene where Black Widow is sneaking around to obtain information undetected. Instead, it's we only get chase sequences and fight scenes with a balls to the wall third act that was ripped right out of Captain America The Winter Soldier.

In terms of characters, Black Widow only has two characters that are truly realized characters, Natasha and Yelena. Everyone else isn't fleshed out to their fullest potential or they just don't have any character at all. Natasha is depicted as being a spy with a mysterious past still trying to cope with her new life with a great performance from Scarlet Johansson. Natasha just wants to settle down as she escapes Ross and his forces, but is drawn into her adopted sister's quest to bring down the Red Room. For a film centered on Black Widow, it doesn't do much to elaborate on her backstory. All it does is answer some of the unanswered questions raised in her previous appearances and fail to establish anything new. Natasha also wants to repair her damaged relationship with Yelena and eventually her foster parents. Then leads her to want to repair the Avengers, which makes her sacrifice in Endgame more earned. However, that also means I know that Natasha won't die in her movie and I have no emotional stake when she's in any form of danger because I know it doesn't kill her. Also, having her enjoy James Bond movies was way too cheesy. Might have shown having Mission Impossible, Jason Bourne, and Jack Ryan movies as well with a bookshelf of Ian Fleming, Robert Ludlum, and Tom Clancy books. As for Yelena, she is Black Widow freed from the Red Room's control and is now out for vengeance. Florence Pugh plays the part to perfection and is a great counter to Scarjo. Yelena also is a reminder of what Natasha is and not who she aspires to be adding more to Natasha's character. As for Alexei and Melina, their characters could've benefited from more screen time. Alexei is a man who is a hollow shell of what he used to be and would give nothing more than to relive his time as the Red Guardian. He also wants to right his wrongs, but he has a hard time showing it. Which would make for an interesting arc had he gotten more time to shine. David Harbor nails the part. Melina has the short end of the stick being nothing more than the mother figure to Natasha and Yelena and giving exposition late in the game like reveling that Natasha's real mother was killed. It wastes Rachel Weisz's talent because I know from watching that she's capable of much more than what she was given. This also goes to another problem Black Widow has, “show don't tell.” We're told that Black Widow's mother is killed but never shown and denies us an opportunity to be emotionally involved. Imagine if the Punisher never showed us Frank's nightmare of watching his family die, we'd have no reason to care about the fact that his family was murdered. That's a problem Black Widow has it leaves no room for emotional investment and feels hollow.

General Ross is the same character we met in the Incredible Hulk the jerk general hunting the good guy. William Hurt was great but underutilized in the movie. Rick Mason, the Agent, is the guy to who Natasha turns for help but doesn't appreciate the timing of Natasha's requests. Yes, a very one-dimensional character. The villains are the characters the film does the biggest disservice to. Dreykov was nothing more than a lazy copy and paste of William Rawlins from the Punisher with elements of Alexander Pierce from Captain America included, except he's Russian. In fact, the Red Room felt like Operation Cerberus from the Punisher, a top-secret government operation that secret trains people into being military hitmen. Of course, with the HYDRA/Spectre/Syndicate Illuminati element thrown in for good measure. Yes, he was an original character created for the movie, but actually, write his character so it's interesting and not plagiarize other people's works. Seriously, he's got nothing to his character except that he's the bad guy. That brings me to Taskmaster the character who was butchered by this movie. Taskmaster is Dreykov's daughter brainwashed into being his greatest weapon, an agent that can copy the fighting styles of any hero. Which would have made for a cool villain had the film not made Taskmaster nothing more than an over-glorified henchman. I'm not kidding literally Taskmaster was just something for Black Widow to fight and she didn't even have her agency. It's almost as bad as the X-Men Origins Wolverine Deadpool. Also, Natasha is responsible for burning Taskmaster’s face in an assassination attempt to kill Dreykov, so why not give Taskmaster a desire for revenge instead of making her an over-glorified henchman. Yeah, the point being the villains sucked.

As for the presentation, the special effects were cool contrary to what Stephen Dorff said. The irony that Deacon Frost is criticizing a movie for its visuals. The action scenes were cool. I will say the film's usage of jokes does ruin some of the more dramatic material because the jokes are used to deflect away from the heavy subject matter. This again goes to my point about Marvel not trying to break their movie brand. So heavy material is broken up by a joke I.E. the forced hysterotomy joke. It doesn't work because that's something a film shouldn't make light of. Imagine if the "Penny & Dime" scene from Daredevil ended with a dumb joke, it would've killed the emotional connection the viewer had with the Punisher. Also why on god's green earth did they use a cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit?" If you're going to use that song use the original.

In conclusion, I had my hopes high for Black Widow because she is my favorite female Marvel hero only to be let down by her only solo movie so far being an uninspired film that refuses to take risks. It's crime after being denied a solo film for nearly eleven years because it doesn't sell toys that Black Widow's solo movie is this mediocre film. Hopefully when the MCU is inevitably rebooted Natasha will get a better solo film than this.


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Top 10 Linkin Park Songs

Here are the best Linkin Park Songs. RIP Chester

1. In The End

2. Numb

3. What I've Done

4. Crawling

5. Somewhere I Belong

6. New Divide

7. Faint

8. One Step Closer

9. Lost In The Echo

10. Waiting For The End


Bill Maher Embraces His Inner Gavin McInnes AGAIN!!!!!

As we all know by now when Stan Lee passed away Bill Maher decided to post a blog that essentially belittle the comic book industry, it was a VERY bad time to do so. In his appearance on Larry King Now!, King asked Maher about his remarks about Stan Lee, and Maher clarified that he did not mean any ill will for Stan Lee, and that he was just pointing how the comic book had "dumbed down society" in his view. I did appreciate that Larry King had asked Maher about this, and gave Maher an opportunity to clear things up. All Bill did was clarify that he was not glad Stan Lee died, which his blog never suggested that, it just showed that Bill Maher takes inopportune timings for thing like this, just remember why ABC cancelled his show Politically Incorrect. I expected Larry to ask this question to Bill, since Larry King and Stan Lee were friends.

I had hoped that was the last of Bill Maher's ravings regarding the comic book industry well I was wrong since he did a New Rule segment on how Comic Books are for kids. Oh boy.

Well here we go Bill Maher is belittling comic book readers, and doubling down on his misinformed statements regarding Comic Books. First of all, many grown adults enjoy comic books as a spare time activity, and simply enjoy the material. Secondly there are comics meant for mature readers, anything published by Max of Vertigo is going to have a mature content warning on it. This goes to the heart of Bill Maher's argument, he's suggesting that people who enjoy comics books and video games aren't productive members of society, and haven't grown up. Which he is dead wrong about first of all many productive members of society enjoy these forms of entertainment. I'm a college student, and I had professors who enjoyed comic books. My philosophy professor was one of my favorite professors, first day of class he bragged about his Green Lantern comic book collection, I liked talking comic books with him, and I still do. I also have a job and many of my coworkers read comic books, and some even took off work for Planet Comic Con in Kansas City, I didn't, because I didn't know until it was too late, anyways moving on. Another thing I'd like to rebut is Maher's comment about how comic book readers don't read or enjoy books without pictures, I can say that's not true as a matter of fact I'm currently reading Rebooting the American Dream by Thom Hartmann and I've read the Bourne Novels, I enjoy comic books and I enjoy books, so. I'm sure many people on this site enjoy books and have a job. Bill also brings up instances where divorces happen because a partner can't stop playing video games, Bill that's not because adults are enjoying video games that's because they became addicted to video games as kids. Bill is also wrong about Shakespeare his work was viewed as unsophisticated back then, now it's viewed as art, and that's because acting as a whole was seen as unsophisticated. In fact Shakespeare was originally seen in the same light many now see Michael Bay, though I doubt Michael Bay's movies will ever go down as works of art. This reminds me of Gavin McInnes Gamergate rant from 2015.

You know you sound dumb Bill when you start to sound like Gavin McInnes of all people. Gavin's argument is even more ridiculous, Bill was just being ignorant, Gavin in this segment is arguing against making video games for adults and that video games should only be for kids. Gavin is also suggesting that grown adults who enjoy video games and implies comic books are mentally challenged. Also Gavin suggests enjoying fiction as a whole is childish, that's beyond ridiculous. Both men were looking for negative attention, and basically trolled people into paying attention to their ridiculous arguments. Bill Maher is especially known for taking a very very bad timing to make any remarks, like his 9/11 remarks (which he isn't wrong about), and thus why he'll be at the center of a lot of controversy. I will say Gavin McInnes' remarks from 2015 were dumber then again Gavin McInnes is Gavin McInnes. The like/dislike ratio on Gavin McInnes' video is satisfying unfortunately same couldn't be said for Bill Maher. Luckily they've been rebuked for their nonsense.

What I couldn't help but to find comical about these two examples is that both Maher and McInnes constantly rant about PC Culture which I find laughably hypocritical, they want us to grow up but still whine about "SJWisms." Now Gavin McInnes will view any promotion of racial equality as PC culture so his imput is almost meaningless. Whereas Bill Maher's insight is more understandable, because he at least supports gender, marriage, and racial equality he just doesn't want people being triggered over satire. I happen to agree with Bill Maher.

No Secular Talk fans I'm not Kyle Kulinski. This ultimately where I have to say Bill Maher's hypocrisy shows I know everyone will rush to bring up his Iron Man 3 cameo and point that out as an example of his hypocrisy, but I'll say his rants on PC culture and then belittling viewers who enjoy comics and games is far more hypocritical. One he condemns it coming from his side, the left, but ignores it when it comes from the right and as mentioned earlier he sounds like the right wing buffoons he makes fun of. The right gets triggered by athletes exercising free speech, that's right wingers getting worked up about their brand of Political Correctness. Another example is how right wingers get triggered about their side being mocked, hell Family Guy triggered MAGA guys, and it was enjoyable to watch Anti-SJWs act like SJWs they love to mock. To any Anti-Trumpers get your popcorn bags this is just one of many juicy examples.

Just goes to show that the real snowflakes are those on the right. Now as you can tell I love Politics and I as a matter in fact I've enjoyed Maher's comedy and I tend to enjoy his show. I will say in this instance he made a complete dumbass out of himself, and this goes back to his suggestion that comic books brought for the "dumbing down of society that brought us Trump." First of all many comic book readers hate Trump or can't take him seriously whatsoever. Secondly Bill Maher blaming the rise of Trump on people enjoying comics, instead of the failed Neoliberal policies that have been in place since Reagan, shows that Bill isn't really committed to the progressive movement he claims to be a part of, which is disappointing to me, because I have found Maher funny (this is my favorite New Rule segment bellow), and just proves the point of his left wing critics that he's a left wing Rush Limbaugh if Rush were a comedian.

Even in this video there's hypocrisy, 1. He puts the Umbrella Corp. logo in the Giuliani video, which is from a video. 2. He takes a shot at Glenn Beck only to sound like Beck months later.

Think about how foolish you sound when you end up sounding like the people you mock. Now I will say anyone who tries to politicize or tries to suggest that there's a political agenda to comics or games deserves to be mocked. No Bullshit is the perfect example of the kind of person who deserves to be mocked by getting triggered over Family Guy. Another good example of people who deserve to be mocked for being triggered by comics or any other form of entertainment, is the author of this Breitbart article, which was brilliantly destroyed by TYT and the Independent, deserved to be mocked.

I'll give Cenk and TYT credit for not belittling anyone who enjoys comics, games, movies, etc., as a matter of fact TYT did a show called Nerd Alert which was for the comic book readers, gamers, and nerds in general, I enjoyed that show, and I was even given a top fan badge of FB. Like or hate TYT give them respect for acknowledging that their are fans of comics in their audience, and not belittling them because they enjoy comics. I'm disappointed they cancelled Nerd Alert, and I hope they bring it back. This disproves Maher's narrative about comic readers being misinformed since many of them do follow politics whether they are left, right, or center they may enjoy comics, like I do. Maher wants to talk about dumbing down politics, let's talk about reelecting this guy (George W. Bush).

In short Bill Maher made a dumbass assumption about comic book readers, just because Trump quoted a comic book movie doesn't mean readers helped his rise to power. Keep in mind Chris Kyle painted Punisher skulls on his equipment, and an elected member of Congress quoted a Graphic Novel. I gotta admit Cenk Uygur does a good Bane impression.

Bottom line Bill Maher made a dumbass about of himself on comics and sounded like Gavin McInnes which is someone Maher has mocked. I'm not in the camp of "though shall not speak of the dead" because there are valid criticisms of people that shouldn't be ignored, I know for Stan Lee there were few, but those were still relevant, but for someone like George H.W. Bush who died just days later there were many and they were ignored by the press. If you want great political satire check out the Jimmy Dore Show and Redacted Tonight, Steven Crowder isn't that funny. I now many would like to keep politics off this website, and I respect that and I'll do my best to avoid it. I did not post this to stir up fights between the right and the left, I posted this to point out how Bill Maher made an ass out of himself on this issue, and this is coming from a fan of his. In conclusion comic book readers are more informed than Maher thinks and a lot of them don't like Trump, I can't stand him, anyways liking comics as an adult is fine.

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Ben Affleck Won't Be In The Batman, But That Doesn't Mean He's Done Playing Batman

With the recent reveal that Ben Affleck won't star in Matt Reeves' The Batman, and that a younger actor would be Batman, many have taken this to mean he won't be Batman anymore, this is not the case. If we go back to the original report from Deadline it says "This is the one that Matt Reeves has been attached to as writer and director. Ben Affleck, we hear, will not be donning the Dark Knight’s tights after playing the Caped Crusader in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad and Justice League and that’s because this movie will focus on a younger Bruce Wayne." This doesn't say Ben Affleck is not going to play Batman anymore it means he won't be Batman in Reeves' movie because it takes place 30 years before BVS. This means Ben Affleck still has two more movies left on his contract. According to IGN, one of those could be Suicide Squad 2, this probably means he'll get more screen time than he got in the first movie. Another possibility, which was recently floated by Ray Fisher, is that Ben Affleck will return for Justice League 2. Yet another possibility suggests that Ben Affleck is planning on directing and starring in his own Batman movie, this was suggested by one of Affleck's staffers in October of 2018, his staffer told Hollywood Life "He is back in shape not only for his health but he has a new-found love on doing Batman at least one more time again. He feels he isn’t finished with what he wants to do with the character. There has been talk about replacing him, but he is now seeing what he might lose and really wants to play the character again. Especially seeing what Joaquin Phoenix is doing with the Joker character," and he continues with "He would really like to take the character of Batman and visit a more serious tone and side of the character and working with someone like Joaquin would absolutely spark his creative juices. He wants to figure something out with Warner Brothers to don the cape one more time." Other possibilities include Ben Affleck returning for Birds of Prey, or Nightwing or Batgirl, if those projects aren't canned. Right now all we know is that he won't star in The Batman, which disappoints me, but it is unknown if he completely done playing the character. If nothing else Affleck could do a Thomas Jane and return for a fan film.