In case you missed it, Marvel Studios just released the first Black Widow teaser trailer as well as the movie’s official logo and poster today. Naturally that has fans talking even as many in the US are yet to wake up to the launch of the trailer. As is customary, here’s our Black Widow trailer breakdown that states the obvious and some not so obvious clues from the trailer that may be worth pondering over.
We open with a rather cryptic tease of some statues that, from the distance, appear to be statues of the Avengers. The ones at the bottom could be Black Panther and Captain America with the one at the top being representative of Black Widow? It’s entirely possible this is an actual monument that I’m unable to recognize at this point. Or, this is just a front for what we’ll eventually see in theaters: some sort of tribute to the Avengers who fought Thanos and undid the snap.
If this is meant to be an Avengers tribute monument, then we’re possibly looking at a post-Endgame world. A world where Black Widow no longer exists thanks to the events of Endgame. Which means the events of Black Widow could be narrated from someone else’s perspective.
Scarlett Johansson’s Hairstyle
A lot of sequences show Scarlett Johansson’s character sporting the red hairstyle that she had during Avengers: Endgame. This could most likely be a deliberately ambiguous decision just so they could play around with the notion of whether or not she is resurrected, a notion that was propagated when Black Widow set photos emerged showing Johansson with an object that looked like an Infinity Stone.
Black Widow’s Past & The Red Room
We next see footage from previous movies, especially focused on the Red Room sequences that Joss Whedon wrote for Avengers: Age of Ultron. It’s great to see them revisit Black Widow’s origin while also keeping Whedon’s sequences intact, suggesting that they would build upon his story instead of pretending it never happened. That’s a nice nod to a director who did not part with Marvel on the best of terms in no small part to Ike Perlmutter.
Samuel L. Jackson & Jeremy Renner
We also see footage from other movies like The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Interestingly though, the only characters we see are Jackson’s Nick Fury and Renner’s Hawkeye. Does this imply we can expect these two to reprise their roles in some form of cameo in the movie? There have been prior reports that Robert Downey Jr. could be in Black Widow however those look like they’ll be footage of Downey Jr. from his MCU movies in different angles. But given the strong history these two characters share with Romanoff as well as the oft-referenced Budapest mission which we know we’re going to finally see in this movie, it’s entirely plausible they actually return and share screen space with her one last time.
Red in her Ledger
We finally see the Marvel Studios logo turning red, a less than subtle nod to the red in Natasha’s ledger that she was so looking to wipe off. It becomes a recurring theme of sorts with the taglines and title shaded in red.
General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross
William Hurt returns as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross. Set photos of this sequence had leaked when they shot it at Pinewood Studios and while we’re not sure what his presence entails, it should be interesting to see his history tie in to Widow’s. Also worth noting is the digital de-aging applied to his face, implying that this sequence is set in the 90s, before Romanoff introduced herself to Tony Stark as Natalie Rushman in Iron Man 2.
Black Widow’s Hourglass Logo
For a brief moment, we see a document bearing at its letterhead, what looks like an hourglass logo. It’s similar to the logo that’s at the centerpiece of Black Widow marketing and I suspect it could be symbolic of the organization she was employed with in the past. A fictional spin-off of KGB? Or is that just me taking things a bit too far? Does anyone recognize that logo from the comics?
Florence Pugh As Yelena Belova
Florence Pugh’s character makes an appearance as the mysterious Yelena Belova, supposedly born out of the same program as Romanoff does. The two share a “sisterly” bond as Romanoff hints at. What’s interesting in their skirmish is that their combat movies mirror each other, another subtle (or not-so-subtle) reminder that Belova is a mirror image of Romanoff. Reports suggest she will take over the mantle of the Black Widow and she does put up a great fight. Her Russian is definitely stronger than Johansson’s
Behind Florence Pugh, there is a poster with Die Vögel which, depending on how you look at it, could either be a subtle nod to Alfred Hitchcock (the poster definitely isn’t of his said suspense thriller) or just literal German for “Two Birds”, referring to both Romanoff and Belova.
With so many clues pieced together on the whiteboard, Belova is clearly working on chasing a tail or her next assignment. It’s difficult to make out the locations marked on the map but at least one of them looks South American and could be where the narrative takes us in the movie.
Motorcycle Chase Scene
Not really a tidbit but just to draw connections, this is the same motorcycle chase sequence that we saw being filmed a few months ago. It was also the spot where the movie’s logo ended up being accidentally revealed.
The New Black Widow Costume
This is a great poster-shot showing Scarlett Johansson in her full Black Widow costume. Again, it’s hard to place this anywhere definitively in the film; it could very well be a prequel shot but her face hasn’t been de-aged at all. And the hairstyle looks more modern. Perhaps Marvel will CG in the effects later.
This looks like a chase involving three Black Widow’s. Is the third character an unknown assassin that’s after Romanoff and Belova, or is she Rachel Weisz’s character Melina? She is seen later on with the two having lunch.
Yelena Belova Strikes A Pose
Yelena Belova proves she’s a true Black Widow as she strikes one of Scarlett Johansson’s iconic landing poses. The white costume is also something to observe: it may have some resemblance to the Quantum Realm suits but it’s the costumes they don for their mission, probably for a very specific purpose (using white to camouflage against snow?).
Red Room Assassins
Clearly, Belova and Romanoff aren’t the only two assassins to come out of the Red Room. There’s a whole army of them and this sequence, along with the preceding scenes in a snow-clad area, are very reminiscent of the Siberia sequence at the end of Civil War where an entire army of Winter Soldiers was being readied. It almost looks like in Black Widow’s case, that army is ready and activated.
Is The Taskmaster Really Hawkeye?
We finally get our first full look at the Taskmaster and his choice to wield the bow and arrow have led to some speculation about his identity. Is he really Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye in disguise? Does he encounter Romanoff during one of their missions? Is that why the two remember Budapest very differently?
The fact that we don’t know who is playing the Taskmaster certainly means there is a twist of some sort in store. If true, this would be a cool way to pull the rug from under the audience’s feet. But while the casual viewer may not see it coming, ardent MCU fans already speculating on this makes me think this is something Marvel would’ve already anticipated. Consequently, Taskmaster turning out to be Clint Barton could actually turn out to be a poorly conceived twist. We’ll be watching this space more closely.
David Harbour’s Red Guardian
I’m surprised they showed David Harbour’s Red Guardian in so much detail. Conceived as an alternative to Steve Rogers and Russia’s answer to Captain America, the Red Guardian went on to fight the KGB’s battles. It looks like we may be getting a version of an older, more out-of-touch Guardian who reunites with the “Widows” to help them in their final mission (which as of now looks like the sequence set in snow). If true, this would mean the Red Guardian regains his full form and confidence only toward the end of the movie. Again, I’m unsure if Marvel would feature the end so prominently in their trailers but let’s see.
This is the part that has me concerned. Until this point, Black Widow gave some really strong, serious movie vibes. But this “final act” of the teaser trailer is more akin to a big-budget blockbuster, with Widow even acquiring what look like superhuman flight abilities. Sure she ain’t flying, she’s just falling in a controlled trajectory but the (overt) confidence in her face makes me believe Marvel is really going to turn her into a superhero when in reality, she’s merely an assassin. Not sure how I feel about that but I hope there’s more context to this than we’re seeing.
Iron Man 2 Reference
Just before the titles show up, we see a silhouette of Scarlett Johansson’s character walking in what looks like her Iron Man 2 pose. Specifically, this is from the sequence toward the end where she breaks into Whiplash’s secret quarters and takes on a bunch of bad guys all by herself as Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan fought off one guard. The background also looks like the same corridor. This could suggest the movie will end with Romanoff introducing herself to Tony Stark as Natalie Rushman (this could also be where the Robert Downey Jr. cameo comes into play).
The fight choreography in Black Widow holds promise with the potential for lots of hand-to-hand combat and chases, in the line of spy movies. This should place Black Widow in an interesting category of a summer movie that (hopefully) doesn’t rely too much on larger-than-life action to propel its narrative and provide the big thrills (again, that final sequence doesn’t inspire much confidence as cool and slick as it looks).
Marvel Studios have been known to place their movies in different genres to keep their storytelling fresh. Black Widow appears to take a lot of cues from the espionage, spy thriller genre with some assassination intrigue and secret spy organizations thrown in. It’s quite ironic then that the trailer is releasing so close to that of a James Bond film. In fact, it’s supposedly the reason as to why the teaser dropped early; it would help them stay away from the Bond trailer that’s all set to steal the limelight tomorrow.
Lastly, it’s probably a personal thing, but the Black Widow trailer music is incredibly cool. I’m sure a link will emerge in a few days in which case, I will do my best to update this post to link it.
That’s it for the breakdown. It’s likely there are a few things I missed that may become clearer upon further viewings. It’s also likely there are things I either got wrong or got too carried away with, interpreting stuff that doesn’t exist. Whichever way this breakdown went for you, do let me know in the comments below and share your own thoughts about how you feel regarding the trailer.
Black Widow comes out on May 1, 2020, or April 30, 2020 depending on where you live. It will be directed by Cate Shortland and stars Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, Rachel Weisz and William Hurt. Hit like below to get all coverage about the movie straight in your feed.