Between the record-breaking success of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and the release of “Black Widow,” it’s been a pretty good year for MCU solo outings. The latter film is a bit of a mixed bag, with its own issues depending on who you ask, but we can all agree that it still has its high points. The biggest win for the film is Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) finally having a moment to breathe, away from the packed Avengers cast and the high stakes of the entire universe in the balance. In fact, the very best of “Black Widow” is clear when she’s lowering her guard, and enjoying the company of her pseudo-family.
In “Black Widow,” Natasha dives headfirst into her past, taking on the Red Room that trained her to become the powerful assassin she is. In the process, she ends up reuniting with her sister, Yelena Belova (Belova), and the two KGB operatives who raised them: Russian super-soldier Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour) and another Black Widow, Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz). The scenes of this strange family unit offered an intimate exploration of Natasha’s childhood — especially by Marvel standards. Until this point, her story had gone largely untold, so it was a joy to get some long-awaited insight. Their interactions served as the emotional crux of the movie, whether Natasha was bickering with her sister or lashing out at her parents.
In a recent interview with Empire, director Cate Shortland revealed that one of the most memorable scenes in the film was kept intact thanks to the bossman of the MCU, Kevin Feige. Shortland reiterated that she had plenty of freedom when it came to the film overall, but Feige held very firmly when it came to the dinner scene.
“He doesn’t give you many directives, he’s very free. But that was a scene he really felt needed to be in the film, and Scarlett and I kept fighting him on it, saying, ‘How will this ever work?’ But it became a very alive thing. You’ve got this bunch of people shipwrecked together, who are still desperately trying to cling onto the roles that they had in Ohio, because that’s all they know. That’s all they have. And it’s beautiful for me.”
Looks like Feige has an eye for this sort of thing. It’s almost like he could build some kind of career out of it.
A Tale Of Two Families
This isn’t even the first we’ve heard of Feige’s love for this moment. During a takeover of the Marvel Studios Twitter back in July, he called it both his favorite scene and “the heart of the movie.”
It’s surprising to hear that Shortland and Johansson ever argued against such a memorable scene, though it’s fairly understandable. On paper, this moment is implausible: where, while being hunted by an underground league of assassins, could our heroes possibly find the time to sit back for a chat about their feelings? But they do, at the perfect possible moment, just in time to up the emotional stakes for the final battle.
As Shortland said, each of the characters falls back into their earlier assigned roles: the parents flirt and the children bicker. It reflects the film’s opening scene, making clear how much has changed since Natasha’s brief childhood. And despite their initial struggle to connect, Natasha shares a moment of understanding with Melina while Alexei quits whining about his past accolades long enough to actually show Yelena some love.
For all that it lacked, “Black Widow” kept a core part of Natasha intact — family matters above all else.
Read this next: Every MCU Post-Credits Sequence Ranked From Worst To Best
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/Film – ‘Slash Film: The Key Black Widow Scene Kevin Feige Insisted Must Be In The Movie’
Author: Shania Russell
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October 9, 2021