May 09, 2015 | 10:47 a.m.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Scarlett Johansson’s spy-assassin Black Widow stands apart from the rest of the Avengers. Widow, also known as Natasha Romanoff, doesn’t have superpowers, a stand-alone film or a plethora of action figures. Until the events of “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” she was the team’s only female member. And unlike her Avengers companions who have families and friends outside the super-team to protect, Widow lacks human ties to the world she’s trying to save. “Age of Ultron” explores Widow’s desire for connection, revealing her painful past and redefining her role on the team. “Regardless of gender, characters work when they have substance and when they are grounded in something that is visceral and true,” Johansson told the Los Angeles Times last month. “I loved that she is sort of this reluctant superhero, that she is kind of a […]
May 05, 2015 | 11:59 a.m.
Warning: This post contains spoilers. Rumors are buzzing about the reasons behind “Avengers: Age of Ultron” director Joss Whedon’s decision to leave Twitter, with some observers blaming fan backlash about Black Widow’s role in the Marvel film. Portrayed on the big screen by Scarlett Johansson, Black Widow, a.k.a. Natasha Romanoff, is a spy who abandons U.S.S.R. secret ops to fight for the good guys, joining S.H.I.E.L.D. and later the Avengers Initiative. One version of her origin story in the comics reveals that Natasha was raised by the so-called Black Widow Ops program at the covert “Red Room” complex, brainwashed from childhood and trained in combat and espionage. It’s this back story that makes its way to the silver screen in Whedon’s “Avengers” sequel in an emotional exchange between Widow and Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner, with both characters lamenting their inability […]
May 04, 2015 | 5:30 p.m.
Marvel fans have been wondering whether Scarlett Johansson will ever suit up for a Black Widow solo movie, following in the footsteps of Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America. If the studio ever gets around to it, they now have a hilarious “Saturday Night Live” spoof to remind them of what not to do. When “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” co-star Johansson hosted “SNL” this weekend, it didn’t take long for her perpetually supporting role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and the state of onscreen female superheroes — to be skewered on the episode. The spoof arrives at a time when Marvel Studios — and the superhero genre at large — has come under fire for the representation of female heroes on the big screen. A new batch of leaked emails from the Sony hack, posted at Wikileaks.org, indicates that Marvel Studios is still wary of […]
April 30, 2015 | 5:00 a.m.
Elizabeth Olsen is doing more than bringing the Marvel Comics character Scarlet Witch to the big screen in Friday’s tentpole film “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” She’s also doubling the number of women on the Avengers roster. “It’s really cool, and I don’t take it for granted,” said Olsen, 26, a self-professed fan of the comic book film franchise. Previously, Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. Black Widow, was the sole female member of the muscle-bound team of super-studs, comprising Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Chris Evans’ Captain America, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk and Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye. With four Marvel movies under her utility belt and a fifth (“Captain America: Civil War”) slated to begin filming next week, Johansson, 30, is a veteran of the flourishing Marvel Cinematic Universe. And she’s eager to welcome more women to the franchise. “For […]
Jan. 12, 2015 | 6:47 p.m.
A new trailer for “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is out, teasing a grim battle in which Marvel’s mightiest superheroes have to protect a world that, apparently, might not want them. “We have no place in the world,” Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) says in the trailer, which debuted during the broadcast of the College Football Playoff championship game Monday night. “Age of Ultron” reunites the Marvel superheroes, including Widow, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) in a battle against Ultron (James Spader). “Everyone creates the thing they dread,” intones the villainous automaton, one of Tony Stark’s inventions gone awry. But if the new trailer is any indication, the Avengers’ biggest faceoffs might be against each other. The new trailer reveals more than a little conflict between Marvel’s […]
Nov. 26, 2014 | 5:00 a.m.
Marvel is assembling a team of time-traveling Avengers from the past, present and future to fight mega-villain Ultron in three oversized comics, slated for release just in time for the much anticipated Marvel Studios blockbuster “Avengers: Age of Ultron” next spring. The 90-page “Ultron Forever” story, which will unfold in “Avengers: Ultron Forever” No. 1, “New Avengers: Ultron Forever” No. 1 and “Uncanny Avengers: Ultron Forever” No. 1, aims to introduce casual readers to the robot baddie in addition to appealing to devoted fans’ nostalgia. And since comic book newcomers are more familiar with the big-screen incarnations of Marvel’s mightiest than the African American Captain America and female Thor currently in the pages of comics, time travel seemed a clever way to bring more familiar versions of the superheroes to the story, said Tom Brevoort, Marvel senior vice president of […]
Oct. 29, 2014 | 7:56 a.m.
A new video clip from the upcoming superhero blockbuster “Avengers: Age of Ultron” features Marvel’s mightiest in a fun-spirited faceoff involving an otherworldly weapon. The clip, which debuted during Tuesday’s episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” shows the Avengers gathered at what appears to be Stark Tower, enjoying drinks and takeout. When Thor (Chris Hemsworth) places his hammer, Mjolnir, on the coffee table, a challenge of sorts is issued. “Whosoever, be he worthy, shall have the power — yeah, whatever man, it’s a trick,” Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye says, mocking the inscription on the Asgardian hammer. “No, it is much more than that, my friend,” Thor laughs. “If I lift it, do I get to rule Asgard?” Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) challenges. “I will be fair but firmly cruel.” What follows is a comedic montage of superheroes attempting to lift the […]
Aug. 06, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.
Scarlett Johansson was most recently on screen playing a chemically enhanced drug mule in Luc Besson’s sleeper hit “Lucy,” but it wasn’t the actress’ first action-packed role this year. Back in April, Johansson reprised her role as Natasha Romanoff (better known as Black Widow) in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” conceived as Marvel’s answer to the gripping thrillers of the ’70s. The film, which sees Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers team up with Black Widow on a number of key missions, even as the patriotic superhero comes into conflict with S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford in a key supporting turn), currently stands as the highest grossing domestic release of 2014, having surpassed $259 million at the U.S. box office. Those who missed it in theaters — or simply want to see it again — now have a chance to catch […]
April 02, 2014 | 12:26 p.m.
Ever wondered if a superhero cape could pass for haute couture? On Thursday, “Project Runway: Under the Gunn” viewers will find out. The four remaining competitors on the fashionable reality competition program will use fearsome Marvel characters such as Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Falcon, Hawkeye and the Guardians of the Galaxy as inspiration for a ready-to-wear challenge. Expect a run on camouflage, tool belts and spandex fabric at Mood Fabrics ( how fast can an ambitious designer make 10-foot feathered wings?). Jaimie Alexander (who recently visited “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” as her “Thor” character Lady Sif) will serve as a guest judge ready to school the hopefuls on all things fierce. Cort Lane (that name just sounds like a superhero), Marvel’s vice president in charge of animation development and production, will also be on hand as a guest mentor. No word […]
March 06, 2014 | 1:14 p.m.
Chris Evans’ patriotic Steve Rogers is taking down bad guys on the high seas in a new four-minute clip from “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” the latest Marvel sequel due in theaters April 4. The film teams up Cap with Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow on key missions, including the one highlighted in the footage from the new movie, directed by Joe and Anthony Russo. Set after the events depicted in 2012’s “The Avengers,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” sees Evans’ hero having remained in the employ of S.H.I.E.L.D. Yet even as he bonds with a military man named Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), Cap finds himself with few people he can trust as his past quite literally comes back to haunt him in the form of a close friend turned enemy. Although earlier trailers have played up the movie’s showstopping action […]