Lucy Says We're Ready For A Black Widow Film; An Open Letter To Marvel
As far as major film studios go, you’ve had one of the strongest 2014’s, without a doubt. Going up against other studios making blockbusters out of your properties, and several other incredibly high earning sequels and adaptations, you’ve managed to stand strong with your two latest entries in your movie-verse. In fact, ‘stand strong’ would be an understatement, as stateside both films now reside in the top two spots in the highest grossing films of the year list, with them both nestled comfortable in the top ten worldwide. No mean feat, and especially impressive given one of them, Guardians of the Galaxy, is still making the rounds in theaters – so much so it has yet to open in Japan. That’s not to say Captain America’s well has dried up, mind. You’re still seeing returns on Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson’s latest world-altering romp with the release of the DVD and Blu-Ray, which has topped the charts both here in Ireland and on Amazon, no doubt with the Guardians disc to join in for what is bound to be a huge Christmas season for you and your merchandising team.
Yeah, you’ve had a strong year.
But listen, I have to ask you something. Have you seen Lucy? I’m guessing you have. You have to have, it’s done very well for itself in the box office, despite being released right at the tail end of the Summer season and being born of an altogether slightly daft concept. For all intents and purposes, Lucy’s a very regular Luc Besson big screen picture, in that its basically a wacky revenge plot where a lot of nameless henchmen and guards are caught in the cross-fire between a person scorned and the person scorner. While not at all unique or obviously bearing of many distinctive facets of storytelling during its 84 minute run-time, Lucy does contain one thing that sets it above many of its action peers; your leading lady, Scarlett Johansson, in the starring role.
I say your leading lady, because lets be honest, its because of her direct and indispensable involvement through-out the Avengers franchise that has gotten her to the point where now, on the back of her in the drivers seat with Morgan Freeman as a wise old passenger, she can fill theaters. She can fill them very convincingly, too, dwarfing closest action rivals Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, Let’s Be Cops, and most impressively, The Expendables 3, a film hinged on the nostalgia of classic male action leads shooting the snot out of each other. This is why I know you’ve seen it, because you have to be proud of what you’ve helped create – a true female action star who can lead a film on her own to a very healthy profit while still having a career in which she can make whatever the hell she wants, as evidenced by the spectrum encompassing sci-fi triathlon she’s embarked on through-out this year (Under The Skin completing her psuedo-trilogy.)
Which leads me to why I’m writing to you; we’re ready. We’re ready to see Scarlett Johansson in the film we’re all absolutely salivating to hear announced. We’re ready for you to take the plunge and make the film that would mean that your already history-making film franchise would become even MORE legendary and would guarantee yourselves belonging to a beloving fanbase that would rival that of Disney itself. We’re ready for a Black Widow solo film (made with film-makers who have a firm respect for the character and her history and relevance.)
Now, I know that you’ve definitely considered this an option. The likes of Robert Downey Jnr. and Stan Lee wouldn’t have made mention of it unless it was something being discussed. They know how the PR game works, and they know how to generate headlines. You’re definitely still considering this an option, but haven’t pulled the trigger on it because you have your reservations, but allow me to dispel any worries you might have about launching into a Black Widow feature film:
1) Warner Bros. and Sony have already all but announced female-led superhero films and you’d rather not clash with one of them. Again.
This is a valid concern, or would be, if you guys hadn’t already created the far more lucrative, loved and known character. We know nothing about the Spider-Man related female feature, so I’ll withhold judgement on that. However, Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman film is coming on the back of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and possibly even the Justice League film itself. There’s a lot of doubt over the quality of Gal Gadot’s interpretation of the character, and we’ve no idea of how well written the movie persona of the Princess of the Amazons will be. Meanwhile there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind over how well Scarlet pulls off Natasha on-screen, and all the character introductory leg-work has already been done. Besides, the idea of MORE female-led superhero films isn’t going to be a bad one anytime soon.
2) The previous woman-fronted comic book films have all been, well, lackluster, to say the least.
Okay, so Supergirl, Catwoman and Elektra were all terrible and did absolutely nothing for their respective (anti-)heroes except bury their film rights in a reinforced steel box out in the desert of ‘NEVER. AGAIN.’ But you’ve got to understand, those were different times, for both comic books and comic book adaptations. Those films were made with a complete disregard for their source material, and were made without any kind of affection for, or grasp of, the characters’ rich history. Not to mention a flagrant ignorance of anything to do with the concept of a ‘plot.’ The comic book film industry is different now though, what you’ve created has made it different now.
3) Scarlett Johansson might not sell as well as Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jnr. or Chris Hemsworth.
If Lucy wasn’t enough to convince you otherwise of this, then let me further stroke your ego re: Guardians of the Galaxy. While an incredible film, and what many now regard as your crowning glory, Guardians really had no right to be any good. A big-budget science fiction adventure with a talking raccoon, a towering tree-man and three main humanoid characters – only one of which is an actual seasoned film actor, and another whose first job is a professional wrestler? It was always a gamble, but a gamble you banked on that will pay for itself ten times over before you’re done with all the franchising. A Black Widow film would be a walk in the park for you to promote given you, and Scarlett’s, current popularity. Not to mention a much cheaper film to make given that it’d be set on Earth.
Marvel, dude, friend – in the current progressive climate of the comic book industry, what with Miles and Kamala‘s recent huge successes and the near-unstoppable ballooning of the wealth that comic book films are creating, it feels almost insulting that a female-led superhero film is still such a rarity, and such a big deal, but yet here we are. Almost insulting. You’ve become reliable for making great, entertaining and complex films that explore and make reference to the rich tapestry of their source material. We’ve been with you every step of the way on this crazy adventure, and continue to invest in your projects with glee, knowing that, for the most part, the adventures we’ll be taking will be what we imagined they would be when we first stepped into your world through those colored pages. Now, give us what we want, and prove that the steps forward you’re taking with your printed world will be echoed by your filmed world. Prove that the diverse ensemble you’re cultivating isn’t just for show. Give us a Black Widow film, please.