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Grey Gargoyle


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008


I watched the movie last week (it was released early in my country).

I was not bored but the story doesn't make sense whatsoever.

The main villain is very caricatural.

Florence Pugh's character is the only one who really has the opportunity to shine. She steals the show.

Scarlett Johansson & Rachel Weisz do what they can.

David Harbour plays an over the top comic relief character based on most of the stereotypes that are often associated with Russian bruisers.

Heavy-handed, quite entertaining film but nothing more.

It could have been way better. It could have been far worse.

I have the feeling that Kevin Feige is testing the water in anticipation of the FF movie. The interaction between the four main protagonists reminds me of the "first family".

I would also like to comment the post-credits scene but I don't want to spoil it right now.



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The Black Guardian

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Location: Paragon City, RI
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008


Totally opposite opinion. The plot is extremely coherent. It's the typical Red Room story, plus this fake Russian spy family. You cannot possibly have a villain that's more than one-dimension when you deal with this subject matter.

And I typically can barely stand Natasha. The only thing that made me like this movie is that she had a lot of help. She couldn't have held this movie on her own. This might even be Disney's best family movie in the past decade, imo.

My biggest problem was this version of Taskmaster. They didn't have to waste such a cool idea on this.




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Grey Gargoyle


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008



    Quote:
    The plot is extremely coherent.


[BIG SPOILER - please, don't read before watching the movie]

I don't understand how Natasha was able to betray Dreykov during Operation Budapest and become a SHIELD agent.

Is it due to exceptional willpower?

The North Institute Disk containing the informations about the brainwashing process was stolen in 1995 when Natasha was only a child.

Thus, Natasha should have been submitted to the same brainwashing process than Melina & Yelena. After all, the technology comes from the Winter Soldier Program and Bucky was already brainwashed & operational in the 1990s (he killed Tony's parents in 1991).

In 2016, when Natasha met Dreykov, we could see that she had the same "pheromonal lock" than Melina & Yelena, impying that she went through the same brainwashing process than them.

But the only way to free a Black Widow is the "red dust" and this antidote was not known before 2016.

So, how did Natasha free herself before Operation Budapest? How was she able to escape the Red Room? How come Dreykov never tried to use her as a double agent when she was working for SHIELD?

Does it mean that the Red Room needed more than 20 years to read and understand the contents of a disk and that Black Widows were not brainwashed at the time of Operation Budapest? But then, in this case, why couldn't Natasha attack Dreykov in 2016 if she was never submitted to the brainwashing process to begin with?

In my opinion, it is a plot hole.




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The Black Guardian

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Location: Paragon City, RI
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008







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bd2999

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008


The plot made sense to me. The action was good and I think the set up characters pretty well in it. I actually thought in many ways it was the best female empowerment sort of movie that Marvel hade made. You certainly liked the female leads more than say Captain Marvel. At least I did.

I do think bringing Natasha's sister in helped a fair bit. She is pretty funny and likable and I do not think Natasha alone would have been able to hold this movie. So, bringing the sister in was a good move and the rest of the family helped too. She was for sure the main character in the movie, but I just felt like the character as a while does better in ensemble movies and this was a bit more of the same on that front.

Not a knock on Johanson at all, she was good in this and in other things, I just see it as a limitation of the BW character.


    Quote:
    I watched the movie last week (it was released early in my country).



    Quote:
    I was not bored but the story doesn't make sense whatsoever.


Disagree, the story made perfect sense for what it was. Natasha had a family that was fictional and she finds out that the Red room that steals girls still is up and running and finds her fake family to find info and they help her take it down. Along the way we learn about the characters and that they like each other. Particularly her sister.

All leading to a conflict at the end. Seemed to make sense to me. It was fairly linear IMO.


    Quote:
    The main villain is very caricatural.


Yes, but not sure how you make a complex villain who turns little girls into killers and give him good motivation for it. Sounds pretty evil to me.

I also think that sometimes it is good to have the bad guy be clearly bad or evil. It is sometimes worse if you try and make a villain to complex and they make no sense. It has worked for Loki and a few others that are less flushed out but having a bad guy that is just seeking greater power and glory is just fine. I do not need to know that he was screwed up as a kid or whatever to get to that point all of the time.


    Quote:
    Florence Pugh's character is the only one who really has the opportunity to shine. She steals the show.


I would agree with that. Although I thought Johanson was fine. Harbour I was a little disappointed in. I liked the character ok, but he was just sort of there with a funny line here or there.


    Quote:
    Scarlett Johansson & Rachel Weisz do what they can.



    Quote:
    David Harbour plays an over the top comic relief character based on most of the stereotypes that are often associated with Russian bruisers.


Yeah, and sort of general comic book characters.


    Quote:
    Heavy-handed, quite entertaining film but nothing more.


I mean it was not one of the best Marvel films to date but hardly one of the worst either. I liked it more than a number of others.


    Quote:
    It could have been way better. It could have been far worse.


I am not sure how it could have been much better.


    Quote:
    I have the feeling that Kevin Feige is testing the water in anticipation of the FF movie. The interaction between the four main protagonists reminds me of the "first family".


Maybe, but I just think they needed people to have Natasha play off of as she works best in that situation. She is not the biggest joker or tradionaly charismatic character. If it was just her than it would be pretty brooding.


    Quote:
    I would also like to comment the post-credits scene but I don't want to spoil it right now.


Meh, not really that interested in it either.

I mean in comparison to a similar thing I like it much more than Falcon and Black Widow which I did not care for much. Although I tend to not care much for the espionage sort of films alot of the time. I liked the Captain America movies alright, maybe not as much as others, but once he is gone I think they get a bit heavy handed for my taste.






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bd2999

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008


Not sure a plot hole leads to the plot being incoherent.


    Quote:

      Quote:
      The plot is extremely coherent.



    Quote:
    [BIG SPOILER - please, don't read before watching the movie]



    Quote:
    I don't understand how Natasha was able to betray Dreykov during Operation Budapest and become a SHIELD agent.



    Quote:
    Is it due to exceptional willpower?


She just could not kill him face to face. Wanting to kill him from accross the street with a bomb gets around that fine.


    Quote:
    The North Institute Disc containing the informations about the brainwashing process was stolen in 1995 when Natasha was only a child.


Maybe I read this differently but the Red Room and the process already existed in 1995. They did not steal the information on it. They stole stuff from SHIELD. I thought it was the info that they had on it though. Maybe I missed it though. Wife was using a blender during the start of the movie.


    Quote:
    Thus, Natasha should have been submitted to the same brainwashing process than Melina & Yelena. After all, the technology comes from the Winter Soldier Program and Bucky was already brainwashed & operational in the 1990s (he killed Tony's parents in 1991).


That is sort of addressed in the movie. I also would not think too much on it because it could simply be that Dracov wanted to do something similar but different.

Yelena comments about being forced to do things through chemical forcing as opposed to Nat who was behavioral. It could have been that Nat just missed that window.

I assumed there were different camps of it for testing purposes.


    Quote:
    In 2016, when Natasha met Dreykov, we could see that she had the same "pheromonal lock" than Melina & Yelena, impying that she went through the same brainwashing process than them.


They are separate things. All of them had the pheromonal lock regardless of the method that turned them into killers.


    Quote:
    But the only way to free a Black Widow is the "red dust" and this antidote was not known before 2016.


Not sure this would be shocking, why would he want his minions to be able to kill him? I missed if they stole it or it was made recently.


    Quote:
    So, how did Natasha free herself before Operation Budapest? How was she able to escape the Red Room? How come Dreykov never tried to use her as a double agent when she was working for SHIELD?


The pheromones just stopped you from being able to kill him, not working against him. And it seemed to be direct physical harm in his presence. As far as I could tell that part was a major loophole for him. A bomb across the street worked, but why not a snipper riffle from many buildings away instead of killing his daughter? That confused me a little. I mean he is in front of a big window regularly.


    Quote:
    Does it mean that the Red Room needed more than 20 years to read and understand the contents of a disc and that Black Widows were not brainwashed at the time of Operation Budapest? But then, in this case, why couldn't Natasha attack Dreykov in 2016 if she was never submitted to the brainwashing process to begin with?


No, the Red Room existed. The girls were taken for training right at the start of the movie and there were many girls already in the program.

So, they already had methods in place. The information in the disks helped them change and refine processes but that was mostly it. The program was in place for longer than that. And that seemed to be confirmed by other comments from older characters in the film from here or there.

Melina is much older than either but was trained in the Red Room, meaning it is older than that disk that they got.


    Quote:
    In my opinion, it is a plot hole.


I did not see things the way you did.

Not saying it was an intricate plot or greatest movie ever, but disagree with the analysis here. I could see criticism of the movie though and agreed with several of your other points above.

Like I said though, it is possible you paid more attention, watching on Disney Plus at home is nice, but it also means you do not get the theater sound (unless you havei t already) and the sounds of the general house can be distracting. Particularly kitchen noises and dogs.






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Grey Gargoyle


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008



    Quote:

    Not sure a plot hole leads to the plot being incoherent.


That's how I felt probably because I am a bit disappointed. I prefered Nikita(1990), Red Sparrow, Atomic Blonde, The Villainess, Killing Eve, Millennium, Jason Bourne, Daniel Craig's James Bond, Mission: Impossible, Ghost in the Shell(1995), John Wick and the Dark Knight Trilogy but I was not bored.

In my case, 'Black Widow' is quite entertaining but heavy-handed.

It is far from calamitous. \:\-\)


    Quote:
    Like I said though, it is possible you paid more attention, watching on Disney Plus at home is nice, but it also means you do not get the theater sound (unless you havei t already) and the sounds of the general house can be distracting. Particularly kitchen noises and dogs.


I was distracted by the popcorn chewing noise around me, actually, lol (^_^')


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Grey Gargoyle


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008





Posted with Mozilla Firefox 89.0 on Windows NT 4.0
Grey Gargoyle


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008


[BIG SPOILER]

The film is a spin-off of Winter Soldier, Civil War & Agent Carter.

The disk contains informations about the biochemicals that were used by HYDRA to obtain the mental conditioning of the Winter Soldiers.

It is not explicitely said but some of the events of the movie (the theft of the disk and Operation Budapest) are probably connected to a secret war between HYDRA (Alexander Pierce) & LEVIATHAN (Dreykov).

Melina is at the same time the scientist who re-engineered the process for Dreykov and one of the first Black Widows that were submitted to it. It is also clear that's the case of Yelena as well. Both Black Widows have been aware of their own servitude for a long time.

In the case of the Black Widow Program, the biochemicals don't stop you from thinking whatever you want but they stop you from doing anything that might be potentially harmful to your handlers.

During Operation Budapest, Natasha found the one & only way to circumvent the problem: she asked Hawkeye to blow up the building where Dreykov's daughter was, hoping that it would kill Dreykov himself at the same time.

Everything seems logical, right?

And, yet, when I think about the trajectories of Natasha & Dreykov from Operation Budapest to 2016, my gut tell me that there's something wrong or, at the very least, something that I don't understand (for example, does Natasha suffer from unexplained selective amnesia?)... The facts, the behaviour of the characters, their career, their personality... In my head, it doesn't match up... I would need more precise information to understand the internal clock of the movie and to appreciate its plot. That's why I think it is incoherent.

There is one main character whose internal clock I understand... Yelena. In her case, I have no problem at all.

Actually, in my opinion, the best part of the movie is the beginning, in Ohio. I wish that the movie would have been like this all the time. And this part was important to make me understand who is Yelena.

There's something funny: I reimagined the story without the involvement of Natasha, Rick Mason, Taskmaster and Ross. I didn't include the episode of Operation Budapest at all... With a few arrangements, it works. Lol! actually, in my case, it works much better! \:\-D




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bd2999

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008



    Quote:
    [BIG SPOILER]



    Quote:
    The film is a spin-off of Winter Soldier, Civil War & Agent Carter.


I see Winter Soldier a bit more than AC, but sure. Just finished AC.


    Quote:
    The disk contains informations about the biochemicals that were used by HYDRA to obtain the mental conditioning of the Winter Soldiers.


Which I think they stole from SHIELD. A comment was made that he destroyed the other versions and kept the last disc.


    Quote:
    It is not explicitely said but some of the events of the movie (the theft of the disk and Operation Budapest) are probably connected to a secret war between HYDRA (Alexander Pierce) & LEVIATHAN (Dreykov).


Maybe


    Quote:
    Melina is at the same time the scientist who re-engineered the process for Dreykov and one of the first Black Widows that were submitted to it. It is also clear that's the case of Yelena as well. Both Black Widows have been aware of their own servitude for a long time.



    Quote:
    In the case of the Black Widow Program, the biochemicals don't stop you from thinking whatever you want but they stop you from doing anything that might be potentially harmful to your handlers.


Yes, but they are mentioned as pherimonal. I did not see the link between the brainwashing and the pheramones. They were related but different. That sort of thing requires smell which requires you to be close.


    Quote:
    During Operation Budapest, Natasha found the one & only way to circumvent the problem: she asked Hawkeye to blow up the building where Dreykov's daughter was, hoping that it would kill Dreykov himself at the same time.


I did not understand it that way, what Dracov told her is that a pheromonal compound protected him from his troops. And to kill him you had to severe your nerve to smell. Meaning if you are out of smell range there is no reason you could not kill them.

At least as I understood it. Unless this was the difference between Nat and the others that were chemically controlled.


    Quote:
    Everything seems logical, right?



    Quote:
    And, yet, when I think about the trajectories of Natasha & Dreykov from Operation Budapest to 2016, my gut tell me that there's something wrong or, at the very least, something that I don't understand (for example, does Natasha suffer from unexplained selective amnesia?)... The facts, the behaviour of the characters, their career, their personality... In my head, it doesn't match up... I would need more precise information to understand the internal clock of the movie and to appreciate its plot. That's why I think it is incoherent.


I mean I can see that, I was not always clear as to the timeline but thought it was clear enough generally.


    Quote:
    There is one main character whose internal clock I understand... Yelena. In her case, I have no problem at all.



    Quote:
    Actually, in my opinion, the best part of the movie is the beginning, in Ohio. I wish that the movie would have been like this all the time. And this part was important to make me understand who is Yelena.


I enjoyed that too, was a little surprised it was not played a bit more but it is harder to have that be more of an action piece.


    Quote:
    There's something funny: I reimagined the story without the involvement of Natasha, Rick Mason, Taskmaster and Ross. I didn't include the episode of Operation Budapest at all... With a few arrangements, it works. Lol! actually, in my case, it works much better! \:\-D


I think the Budapest thing seems stranger to me. They commented in one of the Avengers movies that this is like Budapest and Hawkeye says something like you and I remember that very differently.

She remembered it really wrong if it was hiding in a vent, staking out and blowing up somebody compared to fighting an alien invasion.






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The Black Guardian

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Location: Paragon City, RI
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008



    Quote:
    The plot made sense to me. The action was good and I think the set up characters pretty well in it. I actually thought in many ways it was the best female empowerment sort of movie that Marvel hade made. You certainly liked the female leads more than say Captain Marvel. At least I did.


I didn't, but I ended up liking the plot a lot more. I don't think this movie did female empowerment better or worse than Captain Marvel.

At this point, there's really not much any writer could hope to do that would make me interested in Natasha. In every medium, she might be the dullest character around, imo.




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bd2999

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008



    Quote:

      Quote:
      The plot made sense to me. The action was good and I think the set up characters pretty well in it. I actually thought in many ways it was the best female empowerment sort of movie that Marvel hade made. You certainly liked the female leads more than say Captain Marvel. At least I did.



    Quote:
    I didn't, but I ended up liking the plot a lot more. I don't think this movie did female empowerment better or worse than Captain Marvel.


I did in the sense that CM felt more condescending to me. True or not it was my view.


    Quote:
    At this point, there's really not much any writer could hope to do that would make me interested in Natasha. In every medium, she might be the dullest character around, imo.


I am generally onboard with that. I was not the biggest fan in the comics and was meh in the movies. It is one of the reasons I was surprised the movie as much as I did. Not my favorite by a longshot, but I did enjoy it.






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bd2999

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008


This one had a solid opening weekend and the Disney Plus numbers were good but it fell off 67% second weekend in the theaters. I am a little surprised by this.

What do you guys thinks is the reason?

I have several thoughts...

1. A fair number of people are still not ready to go to the movie theater.

2. Some theaters are still not open or at reduced capacity.

3. Releasing on Disney Plus means you can spend $30 and have a watch party. Instead of $15 per ticket for a group of 10 it is $30 for a group of 10.

4. Folks know that if they wait a few extra months it is going to be on Disney Plus with the regular subscription anyway so why go to theaters or fork over for premium content.

5. Mixed reviews.

6. Black Widow not being as marketable as the other original Avengers.


There could be more but those are some of my thoughts on it. I was curious how the next run would do after Endgame anyway. Spider-man Far From Home did very well but was pre-COVID and is a known commodity. The next few movies outside of SM are all unknowns but apparently Disney is using more of a traditional release.

I am curious if this is just Disney trying and failing at a new approach to this or if it is a reflection on Marvel losing some steam with the main story having been told.






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Grey Gargoyle


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008


Very soon, we'll see if it is a cannibalization between theaters & streaming service or if the problem comes from word of mouth.

At this stage, in my opinion, the first explanation is more likely.

The film distributors are vocal on the issue.


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bd2999

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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008


Yeah, although it is their business model too. It does make sense to me though. BW was not bad at all or at least not bad enough to account for it.

I think alot of the big studios are trying things at the moment that are not going to last. It is the dance of getting what you can from theatrical release and then move it to streaming to see if you can get some more dollars there.

Doing it at the same time does not seem to boost streaming revenue to match what would be at a theatrical run. Like I said taking a number of people to the theater gets you the cost of all those tickets. Having a watch party on streaming gets you whatever the cost was for that month for the one person.

Seems Disney going forward is doing the theaterical model and looking to go to streaming a few months after that. Might be better than what they tried with BW.

But it is curious for the impact going forward with things. It often makes me wonder about the millions streaming services spend on content. As one would expect them to have a relatively constant revenue stream and at this point they are trying to pick off a smaller and smaller pool of people for diminishing returns.




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Would be Watcher


Location: Canada
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 12,736




    Quote:
    I watched the movie last week (it was released early in my country).



    Quote:
    I was not bored but the story doesn't make sense whatsoever.
I was bored.


    Quote:
    The main villain is very caricatural.
Not just the villain...


    Quote:
    Florence Pugh's character is the only one who really has the opportunity to shine. She steals the show.



    Quote:
    Scarlett Johansson & Rachel Weisz do what they can.



    Quote:
    David Harbour plays an over the top comic relief character based on most of the stereotypes that are often associated with Russian bruisers.



    Quote:
    Heavy-handed, quite entertaining film but nothing more.
Very heavy-handed, too much action and cheap comedy for too little story that I could care for.


    Quote:
    It could have been way better. It could have been far worse.
It was the worst of Marvel so far for me.


    Quote:
    I have the feeling that Kevin Feige is testing the water in anticipation of the FF movie. The interaction between the four main protagonists reminds me of the "first family".
If FF look anything like that, I will skip the rest of their movies. I had the impression I was looking at a non-animated Pixar the Incredible but bad.


    Quote:
    I would also like to comment the post-credits scene but I don't want to spoil it right now.






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