Sunday, May 29, 2011

'Black Widow' - Script Review

Based on the script by David Hayter (2004) 

Uninspiring and bland describe the Black Widow Script best. It is a by-the-numbers superhero story without deviating from the formula.

What's it about:
An orphan girl becomes unwillingly part of a sovjet military program and gains special powers. She can flee, but has to return to Russia to take out her former captors. 

After losing her parents to a fire, Natasha is cared for by Ivan. He is an soldier at at the Red Room, a secret military project of the Sovjet Union, run by Sergei. On page 14 she is forced to undergo a procedure called "Ligature Tensility Augmentation", making her faster and stronger than a normal person. When the Sovjet Union crumbles down and the program has to be ended, Sergei goes rogue and kills everyone, who is not on his side, including Ivan. Natasha can flee to New York, but still russian spies follow her every steo, trying to kill her. After 5 years of hiding in New York she finds out, that there is a $10,000,000 bounty on her head and she decides to return to Russia to take out Sergei. After a lot hof hassle, she arrives at the Red Room, finding out Ivan has survived only to be killed 7 pages later. Inside the facility she discovers a group if young girls all trained to be 'Little Widows', Natasha frees them and together they destroy the whole complex. Safely back in New York the CIA ask Natasha to work for them. 

The Project:
In 2004 Hayter wrote 'Black Widow', but Marvel shelved it after many action-movies with female leads started and bombed ('Tomb Raider 2', 'Aeon Flux', 'Ultraviolet').
Recently talks started to revive the project, apparently due to Scarlett Johannson's appearance as Black Widow in 'Iron Man 2' and the upcoming 'The Avengers'.

Stealing from other superheroes?
While reading the script I was surprised by the amount of things adapted from other, better known Superheroes:
-Natasha is an orphan: I know it is a staple of the comic book hero. But could we at least try something new?
- The secret military project: Just like ProjectX turning Logan into Wolverine, an evil military project transforms an unwilling Natasha into the Black Widow.
- Belt with exploding disk: The Black Widow suit sports a belt equipped with exploding golden disks, which feels totally out of this world. Batman had a similar belt with such gimmicks (before 'Batman Begins')
- Shooting filaments from her wrists: Another feature of her suit is the capability to shoot filament from her writst, yeah, exactly like Spiderman. Just like the spider she uses it to swing down buildings or fighting enemies.

- This is more than a simple homage anymore, this lazy and blatant uncreative script writing!

Blake Snyder's Save the Cat! - Movie Category: Superhero
(1) a power the hero is imbued with - Check!
(2) a "Nemesis", an equally powerful bad guy - hm, Sergei is not as strong her, making the match-up not as tense.
(3) a "curse" or Achilles heel -she lost her parents and her is now is hunted by ruthless killers, unable to live a normal live.
(4) The mascot or sidekick - Nada! Nothing! So the script uses Voice Over the whole movie to relay Natashas feelings and give explanation to the viewer. Not so elegant.

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- Tristan

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