Black Widow and Punisher Sitting on a Tree...


Movie Review: Avengers Confidential: Black Widow and Punisher

Black Widow and Punisher haven’t had that much success in being introduced to the general public. The Punisher movies were kooky and forgettable, and while I enjoy seeing the gorgeous Scarlet Johannson as much as the next guy, her Black Widow just didn’t say deadly, RUSSIAN assassin for me. But this movie, albeit animated, has got the best and most hardcore version of Punisher and Black Widow I’ve ever seen.

Le superhero chacha!

I did NOT care much for these characters at all before now. And it felt like such a random team up, but after seeing them together, I’m surprised there’s no comic pairing these 2 together all the time! They’re the 2 most morally ambiguous characters in the Marvel U. And on top of that, they’re part of the very few in Marvel U to not have any special powers or superhuman ability. Just soldiers at their peak kicking butt. They’re perfect for each other!

Marvel's version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith

But you have to appreciate the pair’s contrasts too. While both exuding a commanding presence, they couldn’t be more physically different. Natasha is slender and curvy and is a fierce, fast and surgical fighter, while Castle is stocky and imposing and is a blunt, unrefined but powerful killing machine. In a way, they complement each other and it just makes you love their pairing even more.

This frame already tells you the difference in their approach.

I haven’t enjoyed the past Marvel Japanese Anime style movies. But it was visually fitting for this movie as it served to highlight the fighting prowess of the 2 main characters. The animation added intensity to the very well-choreographed action sequences (which this movie had an abundant amount of, btw). Every blow resonates. It was amazing and so much fun to watch! And the general look of the movie also aided in showing us the gritty world where these 2 would operate. Some heroes work better in the shadows. (The Punisher being a shining example of that.) Dubious warehouses are no place for a flashy Iron Man!

Would TOTALLY make for a good buddy cop show! Make it happen, Marvel! 

There’s good story telling to match the gorgeous visuals. The core of Punisher and Black Widow were perfectly depicted. Punisher is a VIOLENT, battle hardened soldier. And man was he VIOLENT! This is a Frank Castle who was genuinely treading along the line of hero and villain. And I appreciated that faithfulness to the source material.

His brooding is almost a match for Batman!

Black Widow on the other hand is a femme fatale assassin. She opts for the clean and silent takedowns, and sometimes uses her God-given “assets” to accomplish an objective. This movie is just in time for me to appreciate Black Widow before I see her again in Captain America 2. I hope Scar Jo can deliver even half of the badassery THIS Widow has.

HAWT!!! (The flames, I mean.)
And while the foundations to their characters are good, the story did good job evolving them as well - learning from each other along the way, and realizing that there’s both a time for restraint, and a time to take action.

Even though it got a little too mushy in the end, it wasn’t enough to spoil the characters and the movie. Bottom-line is, Avengers Confidential is a fresh view in the Marvel U, opting for espionage, (great) hand to hand combat and explosive heavy artillery over superhero antics. It’s also a good start off point for people who want to learn more about these 2 characters. Forget what you saw in the Punisher movies and the Black Widow in Iron Man 2. THIS is, by far, the best damn iteration of Punisher and Black Widow I’ve ever watched.


Other things I appreciated:
  • Nick Fury had his moments too. Showing how ruthlessly manipulating he is as a leader.
  • Avengers’ absence thoughtfully explained in plot
  • MADRIPOOR! And superhero and villain cameos!
  • SPOILER: There was a short conversation between Frank and Tony, hinting on a shared past. I’d love to see THAT story.
  • Did anybody else feel that there was some sexual tension between Frank and Natasha? (Shipper in me wants to see them together.)
Sweet cameos!

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