Black Widow opened in theaters and on Disney+ and it made a bunch of money, and fans seem overall pleased with it. As I personally sat there and watched it with my family, about a half-hour in, I turned to them and said "This sucks". The pacing of the film was all over the place and you can tell that Cate Shortland deeply cared for the characters and the story, but had to cram a bunch of truncated story scenes together to get to the action. It felt like she had to hold back where she wanted to let loose with the story. When Florence Pugh enters the fray, the film picks up and I was on board by the end, but as I was sitting there watching it dawned on me: Black Widow would have been a killer Disney+ show.
Black Widow Has More Meat On The Bones Than Falcon Did
In fact, the night before I finished the last two episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and was feeling the exact opposite: this should have been a two-and-a-half-hour-long film. Again: I enjoyed it. Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan have off-the-charts chemistry, and I thought Emily VanCamp, Erin Kellyman, Wyatt Russell, and Daniel Bruhl were all great. But there was a lot of room to trim that storyline down to make it a nice, tight entry into the overall MCU canon. We spent way too much time with the Flagsmashers and such, weighing down what should have been an epic introduction of our new Captain America. Overall good, but bloated and would have had more impact on the big screen in my opinion.
Now, compare that to what we saw in Black Widow. Hell, the first episode of the show could have been the mission in Ohio in the '90s and spending some time with Rachel Weisz and David Harbour and the kiddie versions of Nat and Yelena. Use that episode to make it a bit clearer what that mission was about and deepen those relationships. Then, there are so many other areas to expand the story naturally, from the other Widows and the Red Room to a bit more about what Yelena was up to before we see her on-screen the first time. This was a unique opportunity to flesh out a lot of backstory on characters we were just meeting while saying goodbye to someone whose fate we already know. I wish they had recognized and seized that opportunity.
This is going to be very annoying going forward. What stories deserve fleshed out, and which work better as a film? I do not envy the team over there at Marvel Studios having to make those calls. I don't want to watch MCU stories and wonder these things the whole time. Black Widow/Scarlett Johansson waited so long to be front and center, I get why they made the decision they did, I just don't agree with it. After watching both this and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, it was clear to me they should have switched.
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