Avengers Confidential: Black Widow and Punisher
By Hervé St-Louis
June 1, 2014 - 21:10
Studios: Madhouse, Marvel Comics
Writer(s): Mitsutaka Hirota, Marjorie Liu
Starring: Jennifer Carpenter, Brian Bloom, John Eric Bentley, Grant George
Directed by: Kenichi Shimizu
Produced by: Harrison Wilcox
Running Time: 83 minutes
Release Date: March 11 2014
Rating: PG13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Distributors: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
The 2011 Marvel Anime experiment was dismal. The 2013 Iron Man anime was as bad. Marvel should reconsider its partnership with Japanese studio MadHouse. I suppose that this is the curse of the ages. DC Comics’ animated productions rock or are above average while its live action movies suck. Marvel’s movies are great but most of its animated series suck. Avengers Confidential: Black Widow and Punisher was bad. I fell asleep several times while trying to watch this direct to video film. This 83 minutes film took me much more time to watch than expected as I had to rewind it often. Do not buy this film.
Pairing Black Widow and Punisher is interesting. They are not characters who usually work together. Yet their power levels and skills are similar. Both are criminals to some extent. Black Widow started as a spy working for the Soviets. Frank Castle, the Punisher turned to crime after criminals murdered his family. He now hunts criminals that hurt innocent civilians. There was no interplay of techniques Black Widow and Punisher use in their operations. It would have been fun had the movie contrasted spy craft against urban vigilantism.
The movie was a long dialogue between Black Widow, Punisher, and Egghead, the old Doctor Pym villain. Yes, the pointy headed villain is now a young buck who creates a super soldier serum to gain the love of Black Widow. Black Widow was in love with him when he worked at S.H.I.E.L.D. but Egghead still suffered from inferiority complex. It’s annoying that Black Widow as a woman cannot stand on her own as a character. An unrequited and failed love hook drags her down. Punisher had nothing dragging him down. Now that Black Widow has dated Egghead, who else in the Marvel universe hasn’t she dated yet? Reed Richards, Spider-man? Black Widow suffers from the same cheap treatment many female characters face. Who they love is more important than who they are as characters. If the character is not in love with a male protagonist or antagonist, there is nothing interesting about her.
I grow tired of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Nick Fury everywhere in comics, films and cartoons. This is not the Marvel Comics I grew up on. In the Marvel Comics I grew up on, S.H.I.E.L.D. was on the edges of the main action. It wasn’t the foci of everything Marvel. I understand that we live in an age of complete surveillance and that this is Marvel’s way to show that in comics. These comics, films, and cartoons are killing escapism and creativity. They make the Marvel universe a clear exaggerated version of our world. Snowden be damned. Don't expect a crazy story where Black Widow jumps off buildings while fighting Punisher and bad guys.
This movie's producers only care about promoting Captain America's film and reinforcing the Marvel cinematic universe. As a customer, your entertainment is not important for the producers of this piece of anime trash. They inject just enough Tony Stark, Hulk and Thor to call this thing an Avenger movie. Iron Man for them is a joker who makes bad pun and acts callously. That’s the essence of Robert Downey Junior packaged in a bottle as Iron Man.
The animation was boring. The colours were nice but the animators took a shortcut at the end of the film with the Avengers’ cameo. The fight scene was cheap 3D animation. I saw more of Black Widow’s ass and breasts than anything else in that movie. Every time she jumps around, her posture is perfect for a cover of Vogue. That must be her secret power. The Punisher’s character design was boring. He looked like a big dark haired guy with lots of wrinkles and a simple costume. There was nothing memorable about him.
While the voice acting was bad the music score borrowed tunes from The Bourne Identity whenever there was a spy scene. Jennifer Carpenter played the Black Widow. That was a bad casting decision. Her voice is not sulky. Carpenter’s voice fits more a leading woman like Wonder Woman than a quiet spy who only speaks when she has too. There was no mystery to this Black Widow. As for Brian Bloom, his Punisher sounded like a bad grunting Wolverine.
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