Black Widow director Cate Shortland sees the action sequences in her film as being different than the rest of the MCU's superpower-based set pieces. The upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe film is centered entirely around Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff, who has previously appeared in a total of eight different Marvel Studios films. Natasha made her MCU debut in 2010's Iron Man 2, and quickly became an integral part of the franchise, though her arc culminated in tragedy in last year's Avengers: Endgame.
Black Widow sees Johansson reprising her role as Natasha alongside a string of MCU rookies, including Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, and David Harbour. The long-awaited standalone film, which takes place after the events of 2016's Captain America: Civil War, has been in development since 2004, but continues to endure a long and tumultuous road to release. Originally scheduled to hit theaters in May 2020, the film was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, and there are rumors it may be delayed again. The film is expected to explore Black Widow's backstory, finally revealing some long-overdue details about the character.
Speaking with Total Film, Shortland dove into her vision for the film. Specifically, the filmmaker teased Black Widow's action sequences, her approach to them, and how they differ from the rest of the films in the MCU:
She’s the only character that doesn’t have superpowers. We saw that as a strength, because she always has to dig really deep to get out of shit situations. And we just put her in a lot of hard situations. I thought about women walking to the train station being attacked, and what happens. Natasha’s like [Jodie Foster’s Clarice] from The Silence Of The Lambs. It’s great, because when she holds her gun, it shakes. But she’s still really tough inside, and resilient. And I wanted to bring that to the character. So you’re not just watching her fly through situations, knowing she’ll get out of it. You want to see her grit and determination. And that’s what we got.
As one of the only characters without enhanced abilities, Black Widow is often much more vulnerable in dangerous situations than her superhero allies. She more than holds her own, though, using her skills and training as a high-powered assassin to get the best of her enemies in battle. Shortland's different approach to Black Widow's action scenes is also indicative of the larger aspects of the film that separate it from the rest of the MCU. Billed as a more personal story than Marvel fans may be used to, Black Widow will likely inhabit a much more intimate tone than is usual in the superhero genre, one that directly highlights the relationships between Natasha and her loved ones.
Despite the film's multiple delays, excitement for Black Widow has not waned. However, in being delayed, the film has impacted the rest of the MCU, as well. The film is intended to kick off Phase 4 of the MCU, and as a result of its release date delays, Marvel Studios has been forced to push back the rest of their slate as well. However, Disney has made sure the hype surrounding Black Widow has not diminished in the meantime. Shortland's interview is the latest in a string of press appearances by the film's cast and crew, while a series of details and images from Black Widow have also been released in recent weeks in an effort to keep fans satiated. Fortunately for Disney and Marvel too, Black Widow is a film that fans have been waiting a long, long time for, and - even if the wait for it continues