scarlett johansson as black widow in marvel's the avengers

Lucrecia Martel Slams Marvel for Not Wanting Women to Direct Action Sequences

Marvel ... do you know it is 2018?

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Marvel has a woman problem—meaning that they’re reluctant to let women have equality with their male counterparts, apparently. Black Widow is a movie that should have been made 8 years ago when we were asking for it, but instead is set to be released in 2020, from director Cate Shortland, but Lucrecia Martel, who was once in the running for the director’s chair, has some harsh words for what the company thought a female director could accomplish.

It’s only taken over 10 years to get a female-led Marvel film, and now 12 years for us to get Black Widow.

This isn’t surprising, though. Marvel has a tendency to sideline their women. Scarlet Witch is finally getting her own show, but she has to share it with Vision and is second-billed to him, so it isn’t exactly surprising that Martel had some concerns when Marvel basically told her she didn’t have to worry about the action scenes.

“Marvel and other such production houses are trying to involve more female filmmakers. They also told me, ‘Don’t worry about the action scenes, we will take care of that.’ I was thinking, ‘Well I would love to meet Scarlett Johansson but also I would love to make the action sequences.'”

The problem is that Marvel doesn’t want a woman to control a woman-led film completely, which is ridiculous, but also the same thing that happened with Wonder Woman, since Geoff Johns wrote it.

“Companies are interested in female filmmakers but they still think action scenes are for male directors. The first thing I asked them was maybe if they could change the special effects because there’s so many laser lights … I find them horrible. Also the soundtrack of Marvel films is quite horrendous. Maybe we disagree on this but it’s really hard to watch a Marvel film. It’s painful to the ears to watch Marvel films.”

In fairness to Marvel, I don’t agree with Martel 100% about the quality of their movies. I think, especially with the Russo Brothers, Ryan Coogler, and Taika Waititi, those three directors have managed to make incredible Marvel films that understand the concept of their heroes and the action sequences that go along with it.

What I do agree with is the sentiment that female filmmakers should be able to do their own action sequences. Really? Women can’t do action sequences? What year is it, 1990? Marvel has never been great with women (a thing I blame Joss Whedon for, because his characterization of Black Widow still makes me see red).

If this is true, and that was a sentiment that Marvel felt very strongly about, that’s not right. Women can’t direct action sequences? Do they know who comes to their movies more often than not and watches those action sequences? Pretty sure it’s women. (I know I, myself, have watched that Winter Soldier fight sequence at least 85 times this year).

There are incredible female directors out there, all of whom can crush action sequences, so maybe  they should change that stance, or we’re just going to have more fight scenes like whatever the hell Age of Ultron was.

(image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.