Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher
Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher 2014
Last year when I watched the Marvel Iron Man anime movie Rise of Technovore, the best part of that movie were the bits featuring the Punisher, so while that movie was ok but fairly middling, I had quite a bit more hope for this one. But what I ended up getting was more of the same. I do think that the way this movie handles the Punisher as a character is much better than the way he is handled in any of the other live action movies, but I wasn’t as fond of how it handles Black Widow. There are plenty of well done fight scenes, but they had a little too much anime flair to them and some of the voice acting fell a bit flat except for one role who played it overly animated. The plot kept things interesting and while I didn’t like everything in this movie, there was plenty enough to keep me in through the end of the movie. A step up from last year’s Technovore, but only a small step.
The basic idea of this movie is that there is a villainous group called Leviathan who is capturing people and turning them into brainwashed super soldiers, so Nick Fury recruits the Punisher to investigate it alongside Black Widow because they are both non-powered and would be easier to take out if they became brainwashed themselves. Of course, the two of them aren’t told about any of this brainwashing business until they find out for themselves. Black Widow also finds out that a S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist that she was romantically involved with and presumed dead is now their lead researcher behind this super soldier business and was also the initial test subject. There are a few minor twists and turns as much of this information is revealed after-the-fact, but never really as a twist, more like it was something that Fury knew all along, but Black Widow and Punisher find out along the way. There’s also a few appearances by some familiar Avenger faces and a few less-familiar faces who I still haven’t found out their identities yet.
The best part of the movie is the interaction between Black Widow and the Punisher. Initially they might not seem like they would be a good fit for each other, but they do play off of each other quite well during the course of the movie. While Frank Castle is initially reluctant to go along with the mission and Black Widow is reluctant to bring him along, they of course eventually come to an understanding of each other. Thankfully, it doesn’t quite go so far as to be buddy cop territory, nor do they throw in a romantic subplot either. Instead, it’s more of a professional respect for each other and their methods. More than once does Black Widow disobey orders by letting Frank “escape” either to join her in the next stage of the mission or at the end of the movie when everything is wrapped up yet Frank is still wanted for murder. They do fight each other more than once, not only that but it never appears to be a playful fighting, but instead a full out brawl with each other.
Which does bring me into my biggest gripe about the movie and that is the style of fighting. While Black Widow and the Punisher are both extremely skilled fighters, the way that’s represented in this movie is through overly anime-stylized almost super-speed. There’s the quick movements with the white streak of wind as well as the lightning fast movements where they are in one place at one moment and another the next without any movement blur at all. It just never struck me as the way that the Punisher would move, and I also think that it was a little bit too much for the agile Black Widow. It was also a bit distracting the way that Black Widow was drawn with overly ample proportions, I know it’s fairly common practice, but it still felt a bit distracting this time around with her massive breasts.
Another slight complaint that I have with this movie is that during the end they essentially call in the cavalry, which would be the Avengers. Specifically Tony Stark, the Hulk, War Machine, and a couple others who I didn’t recognize at all. In fact, during a few points in that final battle scene, I wasn’t even sure which ones were the villains and which ones were the heroes. At one point I thought I recognized a character as Dr. Strange, but it turned out that he was one of the villains and I believe I heard them refer to him as Gravitron who I recognize from reading references to his origin appearance in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. As far as the voice acting goes, I thought in general all of the voices were fairly flat, especially Black Widow. It actually worked well for Frank Castle’s character, but it wasn’t quite as good in the other roles, especially Nick Fury who was supposed to be overly calm even in the face of some of these circumstances, but it felt more like he was about to fall asleep. But even with these flaws, it was overall a decent movie with more positives than negatives, and I would still love to see one of these that just completely focused on the Punisher without the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. getting in the way of things. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.