After a full year of uneasy interludes with debates and decision whether to release the film in theaters or in VOD, the Phase Four of MCU had finally begun with the premiere of Black Widow last week (July 9, 2021 in the United States).
Thoughts on Black Widow
I was a bit late to the party, yet managed to come in without any knowledge after dedication of avoiding any spoilers from any sources. The day has come for me to sit into the theaters and after the credit rolls, how should I describe Black Widow? Well, I need to admit that it’s a beautiful, honorable farewell to the beloved character even if Black Widow doesn’t end the story of Natasha Romanoff itself (take note that the film took place after Captain America: Civil War ). In addition, the personal story with likable characters and performance makes the film much more enjoyable. But we’re talking about the MCU, where formula has dominated the narrative structure (Black Widow leans more to spy genre counterparts but the storytelling aspects are all MCU), chaotic CGI action sequences with decent editing that creates no clarity.
After Avengers Endgame…?
Let’s save the rant of feelings here and discuss a much more important matter: “how Black Widow set up the future of the MCU after Endgame?” Personally, Avengers: Endgame (2019) is a satisfying, emotional conclusion to close its story. Spiderman: Far From Home (2019) is also a great addition to its aftermath, but that’s it. When Black Widow is supposed to be released in 2020, Covid-19 pandemic hits. The world went on to panic and had no time to care for theaters. Social distancing also applied, entering the film industry into the dark ages. And so does the age of superhero films where all hype went down into the sink. Except it does not with the existence of Disney+.
Watching with great dedication of patience and time, TV series aren’t really my thing. Even when Wandavison, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier or Loki receive acclaim through critics and audiences alike I wouldn’t budge to turn on the screen and sit through 6 episodes each. Nevertheless, Kevin Feige had made a statement prior in 2019 that audiences do not need to watch Marvel’s TV shows to understand new MCU films. This is a relieving news with theaters price kept inflating like a bubble (before the fire nation (pandemic) attack) and if we’re asked to subscribe Disney+ for the sake of trend and a fictional universe knowledge, I would have accused Disney as a capitalist corporate corporation hunting down commercialization.
Anticipate the worst for MCU. Not because of the narrative, but capitalism.
But then, everything changed with the release of Black Widow. Instead of releasing the film to move forward the story, Black Widow felt more like a throwback to the once beloved character for the sake of justice that each original Avengers need to have their own film. It’s great that they didn’t reveal too much (or anything apparently) ahead but as I said before, it became a film that felt unnecessary apart from its justice. Except its post-credit scene which I just hope I could undo it from seeing it.
(the section below contains spoilers for Black Widow. If you haven’t watch please do skip until the spoiler section ends)
The post-credit takes place after the event of Endgame as Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Romanoff’s sister figure visits Romanoff’s grave. While Pugh’s on-spot acting and Lorne Balfe’s melancholic soundtrack accompanied the scene perfectly, a party crasher arrived ruining the whole atmosphere. My head went full of questions about this unsympathetic woman. And the next thing we know, she tells Yelena that her next target is (Surprise, surprise) Hawkeye, who’s responsible for her sister’s death.
I walked out from the theaters, having the usual after-watching conversation and as a Marvel fangirl, she told me that woman is Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), who had appeared before in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series (2021). So… this fact seems to be in contrast with the statement Feige had released, doesn’t it? Featuring a character straight from TV series without any information (even if it’s a post-credit scene where revealing too much means a catastrophe) means that Marvel is asking us to watch the series. What’s more, I found it uneasy as the purpose of the post-credit scene is a commercial for the upcoming series in Disney+, ‘Hawkeye’.
(spoiler ends here)
In short, everything seems clear on what Disney is trying to do here: asking us to be the slave of the MCU content. Let’s all admit it, we’ve all been attached to the universe, including myself. Heck, MCU plays an important part in my childhood memories, discussing countless theories and proposing What if…? (puns intended) scenarios for the next Marvel film. But asking us to join the ride by paying around $8 to $12 is a big deal for me who had other content to care for. But with this direction going ahead, should I ignore the fact that I wouldn’t understand the next MCU films without watching its series counterparts?
This is all just prediction!
Honestly, no one could really tell what surprises Feige and the executives had in its future project. But there’s always 1 out of 14,000,605 possibilities or more this scenario would come. And so, should casual moviegoers dive deep down into the already fleshed out mythology for the sake of the next MCU films? Should it happen, I found this to be a disgusting step but there’s a temptation deep inside to embody myself into the universe because honestly, there’s still a lot of potential the MCU still has to offer. But I guess it will be a while before I found the commitment to watch the series looking at this point.
What do you guys think, however? Does the future of MCU films seem to be bright with the diversification of content from films to series? Or do you just find this is a cheeky move for Disney to promote Disney+ in order for generalization and commercialization of hype?
Let me know down below in the comment.