Back in January I posted my high hopes for the Marvel animated movie Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher. I opted to wait for my library to get it and I have finally had the chance to watch it. The result?
It’s… not the worst thing I’ve ever seen.
But it’s far from the best.
Animation: The artwork runs between “meh” and lousy. The male characters are okay but I’m not sure the artists have ever seen a human female. Everyone is stretched out in proportions, but this is worse for the women. For example, Maria Hill’s neck is as long as her head is tall. There are also so many impossible spine poses and gratuitous boob shots that I was checking to see if Greg Land was in the credits.
Plot: Serviceable. Though not without big holes. Such as the minor villain being surprised to see the Punisher at the secret lab. The same secret lab the villain had just told the Punisher about two scenes earlier.
Characters: There are really only three characters in this movie; Black Widow, Punisher, and 2nd In Command Villain. He has a name. I’ve already forgotten it. There are tons of other characters, like the Avengers and the master villain. They show up. They do a few things. Some of them even get lines. Captain Marvel does not.
I actually forgot that War Machine was there.
There are a bunch of other villains who make brief appearances and are never named. Fans who have read the comics will know who they are. Anyone who has only seen the Marvel movies will have no clue. Worse yet, they won’t have any reason to care.
Action: The law of Conservation of Ninjistu is in full force. The fights are dull. The army of mind controlled super soldiers love to stand around allowing the heroes to pose and give dialog. Which brings me to the next point.
Dialog: 10% of the dialog is awkward cliches. 90% is exposition. I’m not kidding, they stop entire fights to explain things. They seem to have forgotten that movies are a visual medium and the principle of “show, don’t tell” is more alien than a Skrull armada. I get that two of the principle characters are Russian, but Dostoyevsky would tell them to speed things up.
I actually startled my wife when I exclaimed, “my god, just shut up,” at the screen. That and, “please just shoot him,” became my mantra for the rest of the film, which is something you shouldn’t have to say in a movie featuring the Punisher.
Remember Tuco’s Rule:
You’d think this would be standard S.H.I.E.L.D. training.
Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher is disappointing, especially when you consider how much momentum they have coming off their live action movies. It’s a poor showing for a movie that headlines one of their most prominent female heroes, one in which she gets top billing, and any opportunities for other characters to shine are crushed under the volumes of unnecessary dialog. It’s far from the worst animated superhero movie I’ve seen, but do yourself a favor and watch a few episodes of Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes instead. It will be a better use of your time.