2020 was supposed to be the year that Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johanssonl, made her triumphant MCU solo debut with her own feature film. But due to the lockdown, the release date for Black Widow has been pushed back again and again. Now that the film is finally set to debut in a few months, Exhibitor Relations Co. has tweeted that Black Widow is set for a PG-13 rating for strong language and content.
"Marvel's BLACK WIDOW is finally a picture lock. Just in time for its release in May...er...July. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence/action, some language and thematic material."
Given the nature of the character and the world of intrigue and espionage that Black Widow inhabits, the potential was always there for Natasha's personal story to explore the uglier side of society. Black Widow will see Natasha attempt to shut down the "Red Room" program, which turns young girls into soldiers through intense brainwashing. Florence Pugh, who will play Natasha's ally Yelena Belova, had previously described the film's story as "horrifying".
"The storyline that we are telling is very horrifying. It's about women that have been, essentially, abused and trained up to be killing machines. As Scarlett said over and over, this is the right time for her to be telling [Black Widow's] story. And we're not shying away from the fact that this story is essentially about women getting their life back... And it's a Marvel Studios film, too. That's pretty rare, and it's very exciting to be a part of that."
With their more recent films and shows, the MCU has attempted to address realistic issues, from institutionalized racism and sexism to PTSD and other forms of mental trauma. In another interview, Johansson had stressed the need to ground her solo movie in the real world, explaining that, "I think this film, in particular, is very much reflective of what's going on in regards to the Times Up movement and the #MeToo movement. It would be such a miss if we didn't address that stuff if this film didn't take that head-on."
Of course, the problem with tackling such issues is that they are not the primary reason why people watch MCU movies, and the film can also run the risk of offending certain groups if they feel the issue has been addressed in an unsatisfactory manner.
Considering that this is probably her last MCU movie, it is understandable that Johansson would want it to mean something more than a simple shoot-'em-up style action flick. Hopefully, the long wait for the release of Black Widow will ultimately prove equally rewarding for fans and the cast and crew of the project.
Black Widow stars Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian, O-T Fagbenle as Mason, and Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff. The film arrives in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access on July 9.