Despite Marvel Studios having a slate of 11 more superhero movies scheduled through 2019, Scarlett Johansson's fan-favorite Black Widow character can't seem to get a film to herself. Over the weekend, though, "Saturday Night Live" filled that void and expertly skewered the boys-club nature of superhero cinema with a spoof trailer for "Black Widow: Age of Me."
Set up as proof that "Marvel gets women," "Age of Me" finds Johansson's butt-kicking assassin Natasha Romanoff living out romantic-comedy cliches rather than saving the world.
"When it came to life in the big city, Black Widow had it all figured out," a generic narrator says over a shot of the Manhattan skyline. "A huge apartment, great friends and an internship at Fashion Weekly. ... The only thing missing in Black Widow's life was love."
The trailer continues with such rom-com staples as a chance encounter with a love interest (none other than the evil android Ultron); cheesy music cues; a sassy, advice-giving friend (Thor, a fellow Avenger); and of course, her true love (Hint: You wouldn't like him when he's angry).
Featuring a game performance by Johansson, who hosted "SNL" for the fourth time Saturday, the "Age of Me" spoof comes as trenchant commentary on the dearth of female-led superhero movies. More generally, it speaks to the underrepresentation of women both in front of and behind the camera in Hollywood.
Only one of Marvel's publicly announced movies features a woman protagonist: "Captain Marvel," arriving Nov. 2, 2018. (It was pushed back four months to make room for another "Spider-Man" reboot.) Rival studio Warner Bros. also has a single female-led superhero movie on the calendar, 2017's "Wonder Woman."
Johansson, meanwhile, has shown that she can carry an action movie. "Lucy" grossed more than $458 million at the worldwide box office last year.
The "Age of Me" spoof arrived a week after Johansson's "Avengers: Age of Ultron" costars Jeremy Renner and Chris Evans apologized for making flippant remarks about the Black Widow character during the press tour, calling her "a slut" and "a complete whore." Marvel has also come under fire for frequently leaving Black Widow out of its "Avengers" merchandise.
In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Johansson talked about the need for more strong female characters like Black Widow and Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch.
"It's a conversation that people are having — 'Where's all the girls?" Johansson said. "We want more. We want to see females in this genre who are not the stick in the mud or the damsel in distress or the girlfriend waiting by the window. We want to see characters who reflect the environment that we're a part of."
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