Braving the Theater for Black Widow

#15: In this episode, Ariel and Stef go back to the movie theaters and watch the long-awaited Black Widow film, starring Scarlett Johansson. They dive into their very different theater experiences, analyze how feminism is explored in the newest Marvel cinematic entry, and the new era for The Avengers.

Read the blog post for this episode for additional references and resources.

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Stefanie Bautista 0:11
Hello, everybody, welcome to the Happiest Pod On Earth. I’m Stefanie.

Ariel Landrum 0:15
And I’m Ariel. And we’re Disney fans. But we’re really so much more than that.

Stefanie Bautista 0:19
Yep. I’m an educator who uses passions and fandoms to help my students grow and learn about themselves and the world around them.

Ariel Landrum 0:25
And as for myself, I’m a licensed therapist who uses clients passions and fandoms to help them grow and heal from trauma and obtain mental wellness.

Stefanie Bautista 0:33
Happiest Pod is a place where we dissect Disney mediums with a critical lens. Why do we do this? Because just like you we are more than just fans, we expect more from the mediums that we consume every day.

Ariel Landrum 0:43
So Stef… What Disney medium or experience are we dissecting today?

Stefanie Bautista 0:51
Today we are talking about Black Widow.

Ariel Landrum 0:54

Stefanie Bautista 0:54
The movie that we have been waiting for for so so long.

I feel like…

Ariel Landrum 1:00
So long.

Stefanie Bautista 1:01
Not only because the pandemic made it longer, I feel like we’ve been waiting for this for what is it more than a decade now? Marvel celebrated its 10 year when again? Like a year ago?

Ariel Landrum 1:12

Two years ago?

At least that that long.

Stefanie Bautista 1:16
Yeah. I mean, when they took that picture, Scarlett Johansson had brown hair.

Ariel Landrum 1:22
Yes. Yes.

Stefanie Bautista 1:23
She had long brown hair. So definitely not Endgame. She didn’t have the short blonde bob right?

Ariel Landrum 1:31

Stefanie Bautista 1:31
She had. I mean, she changes her hair all the time. But I don’t remember seeing that after or before I saw the 10 year anniversary. But Black Widow back to the movies, Marvel really stated that this was their big return to the movies. And how did you feel about that?

Ariel Landrum 1:50
Yeah, I was actually really excited. I genuinely miss our theater experiences. Well, in the before times…

Stefanie Bautista 2:00
Yeah. Yes.

Ariel Landrum 2:01
We used to get those midnight showings, we would we would stay up late, we would stay all the way to the end credits to make sure we got every scene that they put in there and every Easter Egg and I often I would rent an entire row. And so it was it was a gang of us. Like we had we had the squad 20, 30 seats.

Stefanie Bautista 2:21

Ariel Landrum 2:22
It was great.

Stefanie Bautista 2:23
We would hang out beforehand, have dinner and drinks. Pregame. Kind of like we were tailgating for a game or you know, pre gaming before a concert, we treated it exactly like that. So I’m sure many of you guys did the same thing. Preparing for all of these movie releases these Marvel releases that were so important to us. Are so important to us.

Ariel Landrum 2:43
Yeah, yeah. So it’s so it was, it was nice to sort of have that back, but not really. And since since I lost I last saw this movie versus like what’s happening now. The LA has mask orders again.

Stefanie Bautista 2:59

Ariel Landrum 3:00
And wearing them inside. We were that delta variant is no joke.

Stefanie Bautista 3:05
Yep. It’s no joke.

Ariel Landrum 3:05
So this was a pause in the pandemic that I got to embrace.

Stefanie Bautista 3:10
It was a hard pause. A positive that was gonna be a longer pause. But you know, we we had a little too much hope for that. But I know both Ariel and I saw Black the Black Widow in theaters, but we sought separately due to our schedules and everything else that’s going on in our lives. So we would like to share with you guys are 2 very different experiences, apparently, of going back to the movies, because, I mean, this was not my first movie back in the theaters. Although this is my first large movie back without there being many restrictions. Was it the same for you, Ariel?

Ariel Landrum 3:48
So this is my This was my first movie back during the pandemic. I did go see the Trolls movie? I hadn’t even seen the first one. But it was playing at an outdoor movie theater. So I saw it in my car.

Stefanie Bautista 4:02
Oh, right. Yeah, yes.

Ariel Landrum 4:03
Um, other than that, I had not stepped foot in a movie theater the entire shutdown.

Stefanie Bautista 4:09
Yeah, I went to see a drive-thru movie too. I saw. I’m forgetting the name of it. It’s the one with Shia Labeouf and he’s like a cholo?

Ariel Landrum 4:18
Oh, yeah. I don’t remember the name of that.

Stefanie Bautista 4:21
No, it’s not the negotiator. It’s something like that.

Ariel Landrum 4:26
Help us Dr. Google.

Stefanie Bautista 4:27
Yeah, help us doctor… And I saw it at Mission Tiki just like you did.

Ariel Landrum 4:31
Yeah MIssion Tiki.

Stefanie Bautista 4:31
You went to Mission Tiki. Yeah, pretty far away. And it was technically the first ever movie my son went to as like a 6 month old. Which is really funny. It was not very memorable. Shia Labeouf was cool. And I’m glad that he had a lot of dedication to this movie, but it was it was not it y’all. Definitely not my first movie back. My first movie back was Demon Slayer. And for all you anime fans out there, that was a fantastic movie to see in theaters especially for it being an empty theater at the time. But Black Widow was definitely my first big Marvel movie release full capacity theater. Back to the movies and yeah, I saw it at Burbank 16 which is a very popular place in LA to watch movies. It’s a huge cineplex. Very central to a lot of people who live in LA Valley area, and plenty of parking and we would normally see our Avengers movies all of our Iron Man’s, Captain America’s, Batman vs. Superman, all of our real big comic book theaters. If we couldn’t dish out the money to go see it at Arclight and the Cinerama, we would go to Burbank because a little bit more affordable and it was part of the AMC A List that many of us were a part of.

Ariel Landrum 5:45
And they had Dolby so…

Stefanie Bautista 5:47
They have Dolby

Ariel Landrum 5:47
You’re not missing out too much.

Stefanie Bautista 5:48

Ariel Landrum 5:49
And and now everywhere you choose seats, so…

Stefanie Bautista 5:53

Ariel Landrum 5:53
That was that was we… We used to go see it at the AMC that was the one in Winnetka maybe?

Stefanie Bautista 5:59
Oh my gosh, yes. Ariel would drag us all the way over there way out yonder in the deep Valley.

Ariel Landrum 6:05
Because of the prizes and the fact that I could get tickets.

Stefanie Bautista 6:08
Yes, but we could have done the same thing at Burbank, which we started to do. So

Ariel Landrum 6:12

Stefanie Bautista 6:13
We we live in we learn. And more people showed up because you started choosing Burbank, which is great. So yeah, Burbank normally is a solid theater, because it accommodates so many people and it’s usually always busy. They’re pretty on top of things. However, that was not my experience this time. This is not a theater review by any means necessary. But you know, for it not being my first experience back, but it was for many other people. I mean, there was just things that were kind of amiss. The great thing about Burbank is you don’t have to pay for parking. And I think that’s why a lot of people choose it. So parking wasn’t so bad. I watched on a Sunday night. And it was a 7:50 showing so not super late not super early, pretty prime time to watch a movie.

Ariel Landrum 7:01

Stefanie Bautista 7:02
We were able to purchase our tickets early. So we were able to reserve. I was in the Dolby Theatre, which was great. Been in that theater so many times. But my friend decided to get us our popcorn and drinks before we got there because I was running a tad bit late. And so I’m getting these texts from my friend and he’s like “Ah Stef, they ran out of Coke on all the machines and every single machine be routed with Coca Cola.” And they also did not have Ginger Ale, which is like my second choice. And so he had to get Diet Coke and I am not a fan of Diet Coke. It has that taste that I’m just like bleh afterwards. I don’t know what it is I do they sweetened with Stevia or something?

Ariel Landrum 7:48
No I that Coke Zero isn’t it doesn’t have sugar right is a thing? I don’t know.

Stefanie Bautista 7:52
Coke Zero doesn’t have sugar. But anyway, it has this taste and I’m sure you diet drinkers. I’m sorry. If you like diet, I’m just not a fan. So I knew I was gonna go in having to drink that. And it was like a large. The popcorn was like it wasn’t popped.

Ariel Landrum 8:09

Stefanie Bautista 8:09
We sat down and it was a huge bucket of popcorn. And we usually do that to share. Me and my husband normally do. And my friend got his own bucket of popcorn and the minute we sat down, he leans over and he’s like, “This is the worst popcorn I’ve ever had in my life.”

Ariel Landrum 8:26
So I mean, was it was it mushy? Or was it not all popped? Or was it cold?

Stefanie Bautista 8:31
They were tiny, uncooked kernels, like crumbs. And so the top layer because I had the fresh batch because my friend had been eating has already. The top layer was like maybe an inch of freshly popped popcorn. And then under that was all the not popped popcorn.

Ariel Landrum 8:49

Stefanie Bautista 8:49
Like maybe I would say six inches down. So here we are, like trying to like not choke.

Ariel Landrum 8:59
Hm hmm.

Stefanie Bautista 9:00
Eating the popcorn. And you know, I was like, all right, well, this is gonna be more work than I thought. And so we’re trying to get through the bottom of popcorn. But I think that was one of the things I was looking forward to the most about being back into theaters; theater popped popcorn. I love the smell of freshly popped buttered popcorn. It’s like my last treat that I like to eat before I leave the parks. Like I mentioned in our last episode.

Ariel Landrum 9:24
Yup. Hm hmm.

Stefanie Bautista 9:25
And I don’t know like I really love popcorn. So this is kind of disappointing.

Ariel Landrum 9:30
Oh, man. Okay, so one of the things that we talked about in a previous episode in regards to my experience going back to the parks, like we really highlighted expectations.

Stefanie Bautista 9:42

Ariel Landrum 9:43
How they can sometimes be a detriment to happiness. So it sounds like you were you were expecting what you considered even a traditional movie going experience not not even very, like you know, like you weren’t asking for the extra.

Stefanie Bautista 9:57
Nope. I just wanted my drink and my popcorn. Literally it I knew I knew the theater was going to be fine. I had a plan already to just eat my popcorn and drink as fast as I could, so that I can put my mask back on knowing that there was full capacity. So that’s really my plan going into the movie theater. And it kind of got jacked, because I was trying to navigate this popcorn situation, and in the dark. You’re not really trying to look inside of your popcorn bucket and trying to find things that won’t kill you. So I mean, at that point, I was like, “You know what, I’m just gonna use my my sense of touch, to find the ones that were popped, and enjoy the movie away.”

Ariel Landrum 10:41
Way to evolve and adapt.

Stefanie Bautista 10:43
Yeah, way to evolve and adapt. Just like, you know, how we do. The pandemic taught me a lot y’all. So I mean, it could have been worse. There could have been no popcorn, we could have been, you know, I couldn’t have I, I maybe could have had a friend who couldn’t get me popped, you know, so many other things. That you know, we we think about walking in and you know, there are certain privileges that I’ve had going into here, but it was just a little disappointing.

Ariel Landrum 11:08

Stefanie Bautista 11:08
The beginning of the movie, and it didn’t really set the tone for the movie just because the movie in in in itself, and we will talk about this in a little bit. It just pulls you from like, minute 1. So, you know, aside from that… It was okay theatre experience.

Ariel Landrum 11:28

Stefanie Bautista 11:28
I will try it again maybe not on a weekend. I’m you know, at that point in my life where I don’t have to see a midnight showing. I don’t have to watch things on the weekend, even though it’s very convenient for me. I will be A-Okay with watching on a Monday night so.

Ariel Landrum 11:45
Well I think part of it is like we have gotten older so maybe that’s not something that we need. You you definitely have family, a little one that you have to go home to and accommodate. But I also think like with the evolution of media, it’s a lot easier to avoid spoilers now. Umm even that term, I think in the beginning of my Marvel watching career wasn’t really even a thing. And it was like “How do I how do I read a movie review without somebody telling me like who the bad guy was and how they got destroyed?”

Stefanie Bautista 12:16
I mean, like a wise person once said, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” So…

“No buddy go time.”

“Ain’t nobody got time for that.” But I know you had a very different experience.

Ariel Landrum 12:26
Yes, yes, I did a very different experience. Um, so this was the first time that I went back to the theaters and like you said, I also wore my mask unless I was going to be eating popcorn or drinking Coke. Again with weird ticket buying situations, my partner and I tried to buy tickets to the El Capitan Theatre. The El Capitan Theatre used to be a playhouse theatre; is built in 1926. And it was actually balt, bought by Walt Disney Studios in 1989. And they did like a two year restoration with Pacific theatres. And so gorgeous. It has a Wurlitzer Organ, it has a street level walk up Box Office, and it’s actually marked as LA Historic Cultural Monument.

Stefanie Bautista 13:16
Yeah, it’s definitely a very touristy area to watch a movie.

Ariel Landrum 13:22
Right on Hollywood and Highland.

Stefanie Bautista 13:25
Right front of the Dolby theater, where they host the Oscars.

Ariel Landrum 13:28
Walk of Fame. Stars.

Stefanie Bautista 13:30
All of that. So Ariel, you really went for the Hollywood experience for this one?

Ariel Landrum 13:35
Yeah. So I told my partner I’d never been to the El Capitan Theatre. Never.

Stefanie Bautista 13:40
“Dun dun dunn!” Can’t believe that.

Ariel Landrum 13:42
And there’s like a list of LA things that all ‘LA-ers’ do and then there’s a list of LA things that all tourists do, right?

Stefanie Bautista 13:50

Ariel Landrum 13:51
Now ‘LA-ers.’

Stefanie Bautista 13:53
No one ever calls us that.

Ariel Landrum 13:55
Does that, does that count as one?

Stefanie Bautista 13:57
No, I’ll let that slide just because you’re a transplant.

Ariel Landrum 14:01
Thank you. But I and so one of those things is going to the El Capitan Theatre. I had never gone because I didn’t have a partner that wanted to go that far. Which…

Stefanie Bautista 14:14
It’s not that far.

Ariel Landrum 14:15
It’s not that far but in LA traffic, it’s like far enough, right?

Stefanie Bautista 14:18
I work farther guys. Much farther.

Ariel Landrum 14:23
But so he said, “Okay, well, then, you know, we’re gonna go back to the movies. We’re gonna go see Black Widow. Let’s see it at this theater.”

Stefanie Bautista 14:29
Love it. Yes.

Ariel Landrum 14:30
So we tried to buy tickets online. And they they make it so that you have to reserve there, there can’t be a seat on either side of you that’s filled as part of spacing.

Stefanie Bautista 14:41

Ariel Landrum 14:42
For social distancing, and the system would not let us do it. Like it would not let even if we had like three seats on either side, like it was not letting us buy it. So then we called the Box Office, and they were telling us to just use the app. And then we’re like, “We tried the app. We tried the websites, it’s not working.” And then they finally let us buy tickets. And we were supposed to go in the at like 3:30, where it was supposed to be a matinee. And we ended up going at 10:30. We had to switch the tickets twice to 2 different times

Stefanie Bautista 15:16
Oh my gosh.

Ariel Landrum 15:18
Because my partner’s job and a shoot came up

Stefanie Bautista 15:22
Oh okay.

Ariel Landrum 15:22
And all that nonsense. This will be a common theme and a lot of these episodes where I will have plans that change because my partner’s job schedule is not consistent as he works in the industry. So there you go.

Stefanie Bautista 15:34
And like you said, area we are learning to adapt and, and learn about our expectations and our realities.

Ariel Landrum 15:43

Stefanie Bautista 15:44
Pivotting. It’s just part of our it’s part of our MO now.

Ariel Landrum 15:47
Yes, yes. So um, my first time so if anybody has not been there. Totally worth it to go.

Stefanie Bautista 15:56

Ariel Landrum 15:58
The there’s an intro show before your previews before your movie. So the the intro show was just just some lights and music but it’s Disney Magic lights and music. So there’s a stage in front and the music turns on. And there’s sparkly lights that are glowing all over throughout the theater. And the stage has a curtain and the curtain lifts. And then there’s a beautiful scenery of animals with a peacock in the middle. That’s just glittering and sparkly. And then that turns out to be a curtain and it lifts. And there’s a crystal beaded curtain that’s just sparkling with a cityscape behind it. And it turns out that beaded curtain and the cityscape are also a currtain and they lift. And then there’s a tensile shimmery curtain that gives you like a cool holographic effect. And that’s a curtain and it’s the final curtain. So that that was that made my freaking night. I did not expect it. I know that in one of our episodes, we talked about a Disney short that involves jobs. And I did get to see the guy who plays a Wurlitzer. I didn’t see him in person here, but I saw it on that.. In in that show. So I just thought that was the only performance and if he wasn’t on stage, then I wouldn’t get anything. But it was the lovely theater. No no lifting of the curtain.

Stefanie Bautista 17:26
Yeah, he’s not always there. And I think I’ve seen quite a good amount of movies there at the El Capitan. I probably only have seen him once or twice over the years. And I don’t even know if that’s the same guy who is on One Day at Disney. It might even be like a long time ago, because the first movie I ever remember watching there was Mulan in like, ’94.

Ariel Landrum 17:47

Stefanie Bautista 17:47
So who knows who was playing at that time?

Ariel Landrum 17:51
So not the remake? Not the live action one.

Stefanie Bautista 17:53
No, no, no, no, no, this was this was Ming-na Wen. Mulan, like not live action, animated.

Ariel Landrum 18:01
Yeah. So um, I think something that I think probably was at your theater because and so I know it was mine. And I think is a very Los Angeles thing, because we are so close to the film industry was they had a lot of the props and costumes that were actually in the film. And for us it was in 2, like, opera boxes?

Stefanie Bautista 18:23

Ariel Landrum 18:23
And then throughout the theater. Were there any for you?

Stefanie Bautista 18:26
Yes, it wasn’t for Black Widow. But they did have the costumes from Jungle Cruise at Burbank. I know, when you watch movies at the Arclight, either in Hollywood well, as they’re preparing to open it up, whoever’s taking it over. Any Arclights will have a bunch of costumes from many different movies. And it is a very LA thing, just because you know what to do with all of these beautiful costumes after they’re done doing their job? I mean, they’re just gonna sit in storage in all of these places in the Valley that store them. So what they do is that they do put them on display for long periods of time at theaters all throughout the Valley. So I hope they continue to do that.

Ariel Landrum 19:06
Yeah. And and then it’s something else that I and this is where I don’t know if… So, so again, I was I’m a military brat, and I moved around a lot. A lot of the theaters I went to where the free theaters on the military base. They are by far not snazzy or glamorous.

Stefanie Bautista 19:23

Ariel Landrum 19:24
But they they never had trailers. It was just you saw the movie at the time that you were going to go so. And then and then my dad retired in Kansas. And that’s not really a big film industry area. There was I even remember there only being one theater and one in the city that I went to. So this is something that you’ll have, you’ll have to Tweet us if it’s changed in the Midwest. But I know one of the things that I loved when I started going into theaters out here in LA was was my swag. Had no idea that gave out swag and so at this theater, I got a tin popcorn bucket. It was tin and it has the El Capitan on it. My my drink cup, I could get a topper that also just stands on its own so I can put it on top of the drink or I can. It’s a figurine. So I got Taskmaster.

Stefanie Bautista 20:14

Ariel Landrum 20:16
And I also got a poster at the end.

Stefanie Bautista 20:18
Yeah, I know that, from all the, you know, experiences that I’ve had at the El Capitan, because you’re paying slightly higher price for your movies, you are always going to get some sort of souvenir; a pin, a popcorn bucket, a little poster, what have you. It’s just all part of the experience of going to the El Capitan. I can’t say the same for a lot of AMCs, Pacific Theaters around LA. Sometimes they do, but they normally have that as a disclaimer before you buy your tickets.

Ariel Landrum 20:45

Stefanie Bautista 20:45
So if you do want to get some swag, there are plenty of opportunities to get that swag, you just kind of have to read the guidelines on the specific showing that you’re going to. But yeah, I think that is like an LA thing that we do have those opportunities. I don’t even know in, in New York or other major cities if they do this sort of thing. Maybe now with the rise of, you know, the popularity of Comic-Con and you know, comic book movies, especially, you know, incorporating Disney movies into this sort of category. Swag is a really big part of the experience of going to see a movie.

Ariel Landrum 21:21
It’s definitely part of the culture. Like you expect swag when you go to the cons.

Stefanie Bautista 21:25
Absolutely. So I think they’re really starting to incorporate that with the movies. But I know, for the El Capitan specifically, it is something that is included, as well as sometimes I don’t know, Ariel, did you get to go to the basement of El Capitan?

Ariel Landrum 21:37
No, we didn’t go to the basement.

Stefanie Bautista 21:39

Ariel Landrum 21:39
And again, we saw the movie at 10:30 at night, and it was showing and when we got our popcorn, they gave us our refill right away because they’re like, “After, after this we gone.”

Stefanie Bautista 21:49
Yup. It’s closing time.

Ariel Landrum 21:52
But I’m, I’m curious for you. I know that some of our friends, when they went to AMC, they were able to get a comic book.

Stefanie Bautista 21:58
Yes. I think that was for some showings. It wasn’t part of my showing, unfortunately. But I think it was a part of the IMAX showings. I only went to a Dolby showing. So I know IMAX also does a promo because you know, they, they want people to spend that extra money. And I know that there’s an IMAX at City Walk next to Universal Studios. However, you do have to pay for parking there. And that’s why, although it is fun, and I suggest going for like a really special movie that you want to see. It is going to cost you a pretty penny, knowing that movies are not cheap nowadays. But yeah, I asked if you went to the basement because I remember watching Finding Dory there and a lot of other Pixar Disney movies, and they always have a really special exhibit downstairs. For Finding Dory they had an aquarium. And they had yeah, like they had Dory. And you know, all of they had an octopus for Hank. And they had like the different characters. And I know they’d done it for Frozen as well. They had like a whole behind the scenes of how they made Frozen downstairs. I don’t know because of COVID if they’re trying to limit the amount of people that are in an enclosed space, but I know pre-COVID they always utilize that basement for some really special thing. And then they would actually have people exit out from that bottom entry. So that..

Ariel Landrum 23:18
Nope. went out to the main lobby.

Stefanie Bautista 23:20
Got it. Got it. Yeah, so I’m sure things have changed since the pandemic and I’m sure that they’ll adapt moving forward, but I’m glad to see that they’re using at least the opera boxes.

Ariel Landrum 23:30
Yes, they’re using the opera boxes, we got to go upstairs and there was a Jungle Cruise like backdrop but no actual items. And so again, because the tickets got changed 3 times so did our seats. And it was because it was so late at night. Even though it was a Saturday, we had the entire right side of the theater to ourselves. Like talking about social distancing. I don’t I’m a I’m a bad aim, but I don’t think I could have thrown popcorn at the next person. ‘Cause they were so far away.

Stefanie Bautista 24:07
I’m sure you wouldn’t want to throw it because your popcorn is probably really good.

Ariel Landrum 24:10
Oh my popcorn is amazing. So fulfilling.

Stefanie Bautista 24:12
Their popcorn is always amazing. That’s I was thinking about I was like “Oh man Ariel probably really good popcorn. She’s at the El Capitan.”

Ariel Landrum 24:19
However, we did have a Mickey pretzel; again owned by Disney. So there was a Mickey pretzel and it was just okay. It was not Disney park good. I could tell a difference and so I don’t know if that’s common for that, that theater or if it is…

Stefanie Bautista 24:34
They use that hard LA water. I’m sorry. There’s nothing we can do to mask that I’m sorry.

Ariel Landrum 24:42
And then the other really crazy thing about the experience was they raffled off 3 gifts and it was like a bag full of Black Widow swag. I did not win, or I would have said that. But er ahh. Yeah I’m mad that I didn’t win because there was only like, what 5 other people? It was like, there was nobody there. And there was 3 in my aile, and there was 2 of us, I thought our chances were, were high, but they were not. But it was just really cool. They they, they did the raffle. And they actually handed the items to the guests, the guests and a half to get up. And again, owned by Disney. So their cast members, and the they they started the intro with, “Ladies and gentlemen,” and I don’t know if you guys have been following some of the Disney news. But a lot of the parks have changed the intro to their firework show to, “Welcome all dreamers,” to be more inclusive of individuals who are nonbinary. And so we were wondering if that’s going to change there too. I’m just gonna take note and keep an eye on that.

Stefanie Bautista 25:50
Yeah, I’ll definitely take a look at that too. Because now, I want to make up for this theater experience of mine. And the next movie, I’m gonna watch it, I’m gonna dish up the extra books to get me my fresh popcorn. But I’m glad that you had such a fantastic first time at the El Capitan. That’s really great to hear, especially, you know, coming from an Angeleno, myself, I always want people to have the best experiences when they go to touristy places like this. I know it’s always a hit or miss when you go to Hollywood, because it’s just, it’s a wild place out there, also, but the El Capitan does have that Disney magic. So they will go the extra mile to make sure you and your little ones have a really good time. Because, you know, we’re always bringing kids to the El Capitan because they’re always showing Disney movies. So so many things can go wrong with watching a movie with kids. So I’m glad that you had that fantastic experience.

Ariel Landrum 26:46
I’m not glad that you didn’t.

Stefanie Bautista 26:48
No. It’s all right. I mean, it be like that sometimes.

Ariel Landrum 26:53
It be like that sometimes.

Stefanie Bautista 26:54
It be like that sometimes. But let’s dive in to the movie itself.

Ariel Landrum 27:00
Okay, um… You go first.

Stefanie Bautista 27:04
Yeah, again, this is not a review podcast…

Ariel Landrum 27:07
But there will be spoilers there. Will you want a spoiler free pod review in a podcast We do have a friend named Billy he’s not part of the GT Network. But he is The Movie Grater. That says podcast, he grades movies, and none of them have spoilers.

Stefanie Bautista 27:23
Yes, none of them are spoilers. They have really great conversations about different perspectives on the movies. And you’ll laugh a lot. Because Billy is a very, very fun person and a good friend of ours. So check his podcast out if you want spoiler-less review or commentary. So if you haven’t seen Black Widow, put a pause on this. Listen to any of our other episodes. And we will see you back after you watch Black Widow. Go see it ’cause we liked it.

Ariel Landrum 27:54
We liked it a lot.

Stefanie Bautista 27:57
Yes. Um, I don’t know, Ariel. Maybe we can just kind of riff off of each other of this one? Just because I know that we can take this movie in a lot of different angles. Now, Black Widow was supposed to be released. And not this year.

Ariel Landrum 28:12
Oh, no.

Stefanie Bautista 28:13
Not last year. But way before we really went forward with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, right?

Ariel Landrum 28:21
Yeah, believe 2019 or 2020? Yeah, that was. Okay. So other experience in talking about Comic-Con earlier, Stef and I went to Comic-Con in 2019. And she was able to attend the Marvel Hall H, ah, and she got some swag. And she gifted it to me because she’s the most loveliest friend ever. And it was a Black Widow ballcap um, it has her silhouette. And it says Marvel 2020 on the back.

Stefanie Bautista 28:55
Yes, Marvel 2020 because it was the big reveal of all the things that were happening in 2020. They hype this up. I was in tears. Everybody in Hall H was just like losing their minds. You can see Scarlett Johansen comes out and then you see Florence Pugh come out and then you see Hopper I’m forgetting his name David Harbour come out.

Ariel Landrum 29:17
Yes. Yes.

Stefanie Bautista 29:18
And then you just see all these you see Simu Liu. I mean, it was just like, all of the YouTube videos that you see of Comic-Con.

Ariel Landrum 29:26
Hm hmm.

Stefanie Bautista 29:26
It was just it was major. And as they all were like, introducing the movie they put on these hats facing facing the stage and not facing the audience and they turned around to reveal Black Widow’s silhouette and her, her monogram, and it was it blew everybody’s mind and then as they turned around all of the all of the Hall H workers started giving hats out. And we again hats. Oh my gosh.

Ariel Landrum 29:56
And you get a hat and you get a hat!

Stefanie Bautista 29:59
I think correct me if I’m wrong, Ariel the popularity of the Marvel panel at Hall H has gotten so large that they don’t give away too much swag recently. Right?

Ariel Landrum 30:11
Yeah, they’ve Yeah, they’ve cut the variety of swag. So the final Game of Thrones panel Hall H, I got to see it and that that was a bag full of swag.

Stefanie Bautista 30:25

Ariel Landrum 30:25
There was a poster. There was a pen.

Stefanie Bautista 30:27
There was a tote bag.

Ariel Landrum 30:28
There was a water bottle there was I think of a…

Stefanie Bautista 30:31
A shirt.

Ariel Landrum 30:32
A shirt. Yes, yeah, sure.

Stefanie Bautista 30:33
I still wear that shirt.

Ariel Landrum 30:36
And the the Marvel ones have slowly started not giving as many things I think not just because of the popularity, but also because they are not wanting to reveal anything. Everything. Is Marvel’s all locked down tight lipped. I mean, unless you’re Spider-Man.

Stefanie Bautista 30:53
Yep. Yeah. So we’ve been waiting for this movie for a really long time. And so I if we’re talking again, about expectations, and what we as women wanted to see out of Black Widow, I feel like over the years, it has changed for me, how about you?

Ariel Landrum 31:12
I, I think it definitely has changed. I if you look at her evolution, she certainly changed. I am looking at an image right now at me and I will I will link in the show notes of the evolution of her wardrobe. And this is what caught me when I when I was watching this movie. And and now even more so as I’m looking at the evolution of her wardrobe. So like black latex Iron Man 2 Black Widow. Very low cleavage. I think at some, I learned that apparently they they do a lot of special effects even on the clothes when things bend a certain way. So so certainly the special effects on this clothes like there’s just tightness. So just really hyper-sexualized, and going into the outfit she’s wearing here, the zippers hire so there isn’t as much cleavage and there’s actual padding. Like you see it on our elbows and her knees and on her shoulders. And even on her gloves. She looks like a fighter to me. And her hair isn’t like in these ring like curls. And she is wearing a vast amount of makeup. She actually looks. Now we know everybody’s wearing makeup on set even the men. But her makeup is toned down it is more natural, and even her hair is sort of more free flowing. Like she has some braids in a few different areas. But they aren’t tight knit they aren’t curly. She doesn’t look like she’s meant to be sexually digested. It looks like she’s meant to, you know, whoop some ass. Yeah, exactly. And I know that that’s always a point of contingency when it comes to looking at female fighters and female characters in action movies. As a woman, you’re always thinking to yourself, “How in the heck are you fighting with just the latex suit on, hair all up in your face? Makeup, you know, full, full face makeup all the way done? How are you not realistically sweating and uncomfortable in that? And not everybody is Catwoman because Catwoman is, you know, otherworldly. She has you know, cat like reflexes. Not everybody’s Michelle Pfeiffer

Different franchise has different magic. Quote unquote.

Stefanie Bautista 33:28
Yes. Different franchise. And, you know, I always thought about that whenever I played Mortal Kombat. Whenever I played Street Fighter. I mean, clearly, these are video games. They’re not supposed to represent real life. However, you got to have a little bit of realism when it comes to it. And especially if you’re doing a movie like Black Widow, which is more of you know, she doesn’t necessarily have superpowers per se. She’s not a mutant. She’s hasn’t been injected with any sort of super serum.

Ariel Landrum 33:57
Isn’t a sorcerer

Stefanie Bautista 33:58
Isn’t a sorcerer. So she has no abilities, aside from the fact that she’s highly trained and skilled in what she does. So, I mean, I think realistically, she looks a lot more suited to the work that she’s doing.

Ariel Landrum 34:13
Yeah, and, and even in talking about her being highly trained, like we’ve known that throughout all of these movies, but I feel like this is the first time where I was able to really appreciate her training, even when she was fighting Taskmaster. Like, like in the comics, and even in this iteration, Taskmaster, Taskmaster learns your moves and mimics you, essentially mirrors you. You’re you’re like fighting yourself. And she kind of picked that up right away and was able to adapt her fighting style instead of going to like her common go-tos. That’s just difficult. That’s that’s not an easy thing to do. As as a therapist, I work with a variety of people and I have a large caseload of people who are MMA fighters. And we talk about how it can be easy to default to a fighting style, but that makes you more predictable to your partner, or I mean the person that you’re attempting to fight. Your opponent. And in this case, Black Widow is always learning and always growing. We do see her sort of couple of her same signature moves. But she in this movie has shown even more wider variety in her stance and her fighting style. So I, I think, like, again, she’s not she. So so when we meet her an Iron Man 2, she’s a spy who attempts to infiltrate Tony Stark’s operation, but she’s a femme fatale. She uses her sexuality to get men to drop their guard and trust her. Now, we’re a decade a little over a decade later, and she is no longer a spy, she actually gets to be her full self. I think that’s, that’s a very different approach. Like we we actually accept her as a hero, and not sort of like having ulterior motives. And she she isn’t a sexual object, and she doesn’t use her sexuality as a weapon. And then even Scarlett Johansson has said in many interviews that she no longer comfortable playing with this character as someone who’s objectified.

Stefanie Bautista 36:14
Yeah, absolutely. Um, I think the first time when I saw her in Iron Man, she was like a Bond girl to me. She could have been somebody that I knew was working for somebody else, not somebody who was working out of their own volition, but somebody with an ulterior motive that was working for the man behind the chair. And ultimately, that is who trained her however, like you said, the evolution of her character started to become more and more independent over the films.

Ariel Landrum 36:45
More autonomy.

Stefanie Bautista 36:46
Yeah, more autonomy. Exactly. Every time we saw her in all the other various movies, she was attached to Hawkeye. They were working as a team more of like a duo where, I don’t know and I can’t really say that I saw one leading the other, but I kind of knew that one worked in tandem with the other and they always talked about, you know, their, their previous jobs. And you know, how…

Ariel Landrum 37:10

Stefanie Bautista 37:11
Budapest. Buda-Budape-sht. And that was such a wild thing in the movie, but anyway. But yeah, she was always working with Hawkeye. And they were always paired up together. So I was just like, “Okay, well, we haven’t really seen Hawkeye by himself. But we also haven’t seen Black Widow by herself. And then when everybody split their separate ways during Civil War, she was now Cap’s right-hand woman.

Ariel Landrum 37:32

Stefanie Bautista 37:32
And so we didn’t really see her as her full hero self she was more of, you know, Cap’s confidant, which was great, because, you know, he was so nice to her and, you know, always respectful to her, but still, she kind of took a backseat. Definitely the second tier of the Avengers.

Ariel Landrum 37:50

Stefanie Bautista 37:50
So it was really nice to see her, you know, act on her own volition and also find about find out more about herself because us as an audience, we want to find out more about her and where she’s coming from.

Ariel Landrum 38:06
And in and that she has, she has leadership qualities. She took a leadership stance in this movie, and when we remember her RIP in End Game, she out after the 5 year Blip, she was the one running the Avengers. She was the one giving people orders. She was the one who really tried to keep it all together. And that seems even more believable now after seeing this film.

Stefanie Bautista 38:31
Yeah. And not just motherly, where we’re expecting her as the woman to be like, “Okay, everybody, let’s get it together.” Like “We got to save the world,” kind of thing, where it teetered on that I don’t think it was fully realized. And this movie definitely shows that her empathy as herself as Natasha was shown more above anything that we’re expecting out of her as a female superhero.

Ariel Landrum 38:56
Absolutely, absolutely. So I think like really highlighting those those big changes in differences. I mean, I I’m trying to imagine how I would feel if this was how I was introduced to Black Widow versus the previous versions. I remember trying to buy those those costumes and outfits and, and I’m a I’m a well-endowed woman, I have rather large breasts, so I could fill that part of the costume if I wanted to. However, I wasn’t always comfortable. That that costume is not easy to wear a Comic-Con. It apparently, it gives permission for people to to grope you. And as someone who cosplays fairly regularly, it’s one of those things of, “How do I like make sure to set that boundary?” And why I tend to, quote unquote, have a ‘Comic-Con guard’ with me so that people won’t,. This costume I could see being respected. I can see people seeing me as the fighter of Black Widow and not so much as this hot thing I can take a picture with. Like a like really much like, “I’m taking a picture of Black Widow like this is the character and the hero that I love.”

Stefanie Bautista 40:10
And on top of that you’re carrying weapons on your back. You are carrying weapons on your back. So I really hope that if they are looking at your backside, they’re looking at your weapons and how you will use them on them. But absolutely, I think the the playing field for cosplay has gotten larger, especially with having her sister having Iron Maiden there. I mean, even having a Red Guardian, Red Gaurdian right?

Ariel Landrum 40:42
Yes. Right.

Stefanie Bautista 40:43
His portrayal of kind of this fallen male icon, especially Soviet icon where us as Americans, we view you know, Cold War era 1980s Soviet Russia as this big, you know, iron curtain. Everybody’s you know, stoic, of course, like with the Tocky films like you think of I know, Drago and you know, you have this, like very macho sense of all men, all Russian men. But then you meet Alexi. And he is definitely fallen from grace since he was kind of pushed aside after his undercover mission in Ohio with the girls and you see him struggling to fit into his his suit. And I thought that that was a really great moment for men. Really.

Ariel Landrum 41:31

Stefanie Bautista 41:32
Dad bods everywhere. And I think that David Harbour played that role just so nicely, because he’s so loveable.

Ariel Landrum 41:40
And that scene of him trying to fit in that suit is that scene of me trying to fit into the Black Widow costume. It ain’t happening in the same way that I think is.

Stefanie Bautista 41:50
Yeah, I mean, for me, I I’m not as well endowed as Ariel. However, I don’t have the typical Asian slender body. I am much more Moana and Nani than Raya.

Ariel Landrum 42:03

Stefanie Bautista 42:04
So you know, I can’t really find a one size fits all costume. I have the make er actually adopt many male costumes to my suiting and I normally go that route just because it’s a little easier and more comfortable for me to attend cons that way. So I think, yeah, it was it was really great to see the differences in body types and the realism of getting into a suit that is meant for fighting and meant to you know, get hurt in. Because there was a lot of getting hurt In this movie and I

Ariel Landrum 42:38
Oh, the hits look hard. The you know those…

Stefanie Bautista 42:41

Ariel Landrum 42:41
Who the stunt actors I applaud to them because it looked..

Stefanie Bautista 42:45
They deserve an award.

Ariel Landrum 42:47
I was cringing all the times that any of the characters got, you know, hit up because it It didn’t look just like a big explosion or that Star Wars kick that never quite hit.

Stefanie Bautista 43:01
Yeah, it wasn’t. it wasn’t Michael Bay blowing up everything. Like Natasha was getting thrown off a building. Yelena was like, you know, falling and rolling all over the place. All of the Widows that were doing their stunts. They were so fantastic. It reminded me a lot of Justice League and seeing all the Amazons on Themyscira, but harder. Way harder because they were falling. They’re getting stabbed. They were you know, she’s you Yelena stabs herself in the leg to get out her little transmitter. And it looked real.

Ariel Landrum 43:34
Looked so real. So real. She barely flinched too.

Stefanie Bautista 43:38
Barly flinched. And you could hear it squelching. Like, you could hear the bones like I don’t know I mean, I heard an Dolby, obviously so I heard everything. But I liked how they didn’t go soft on the women. And because they were doing such big scenes and also car chases that involved women.

Ariel Landrum 43:56
The best car chase scene I have ever seen and I have seen except for the the new one, which I haven’t seen yet I’ve seen every Fast and Furious. And you know, they start to get the same where we’re trying to get away and we’re coming up with some stuff. I have never seen what Yelena did in regards to the car chase scene and I was thoroughly impressed with the ingenuity and literally, like Black Widow was saying like “I’m trying to get away and escape.” Like she acknowledged that that was her plan.

Stefanie Bautista 44:31
I love the banter, too. That was that same I think just the overall banter between sisters is something that we don’t see. And the only other way that we’ve seen it is Frozen.

Ariel Landrum 44:41
Well I guess Lilo and Stitch?

Stefanie Bautista 44:43
Lilo and Stitch, which is more of a motherly approach because you know Nani is her caretaker. But yeah, I think between sisters who are working and sisters who haven’t seen each other for a really long time. I don’t have a sister myself, but I do have cousins who have sisters and I know, and I see the struggle between you know, I’m just we’re trying to one up each other I guess you could say. And if you’re a trained assassin trying to one up an Avenger who is your sister figure. I mean, hilarity ensues. And I think that was a really great move to insert humor into there. I died in a half when Yelena was trying to be like, “How do you how do you do that pose when you go down, and you.” Wow.

Ariel Landrum 45:29
“Such a poser.”

Stefanie Bautista 45:30
“You’re such a poser.” And I didn’t know that she was going to use that word poser, but I love that she did use that word poser, because she is just essentially taking down this Avenger who we have seen do so many great things for the universe. Work alongside Captain America, Iron Man. You know, calm down the Hulk. And now you’re reducing her to a poser there just because she looks at the camera.

Ariel Landrum 45:53
And really humbling her right when it comes to siblings. So not just sisters, your siblings can humble you in a way that nobody else can.

Stefanie Bautista 46:01
Like nobody else can. Nobody.

Ariel Landrum 46:04
‘Cause you are an older sister.

Stefanie Bautista 46:06
Yeah, I am an older sister. And my younger brother can humble me in ways that, you know, I do humble him too, because he is my younger brother. But I mean, there’s just this dynamic when when you’re an older sibling, you always try to keep it together. And I felt that with especially Natasha because she’s trying to keep it together for her family. She’s trying to just get the job done. By any means necessary, because this is just what she does. And she’s just gonna go at it however she can. And you know, even even in her laser focus of a job doing this. You get your Yelena who is the youngest. She is you know, blonde, and she’s more sprightly I guess you would say?

Ariel Landrum 46:47
Yeah. Yeah.

Stefanie Bautista 46:48
She has a spark. She has this fire in her. And she she’s got a mouth on her too. It’s just awesome.

Ariel Landrum 46:55
She feels like the new generation of Avengers. Like like a completely different take with different experiences that is is even just it’s just fresh and and really wonderful. I fell in love with her honestly.

Stefanie Bautista 47:10
Oh the best.

Ariel Landrum 47:11
Just amazing. Actress of Florence. Is it ‘pew’ or ‘few’?

Stefanie Bautista 47:17
I think it’s ‘pew’. But correct me if I’m wrong. I haven’t really this is what I’ve heard on interviews, but I might be wrong. Uhh I think she’s British.

Ariel Landrum 47:25
Yeah, I feel like I’ve heard ‘pew’ of the most.

Stefanie Bautista 47:27
Yeah, I know she’s British. So if if that helps, I’m not familiar, but she is a fantastic actress. If you look up her IMDb, she has done it all y’all. And now she is the future Black Widow as we are going to see in the future. So I think they picked the fantastic person to play her and…

Ariel Landrum 47:48
And I think that when we’re talking about banter, the funniest scene, which I didn’t think I would ever see in a Disney movie, I never thought I would hear the words. ‘hysterectomy’. I never thought I would hear the words ‘fallopian tubes.’

Stefanie Bautista 48:04
Yes. They went there.

Ariel Landrum 48:07
The word ‘uterus’ and and the great thing about that she adlibbed that scene.

Stefanie Bautista 48:12
I love that.

Ariel Landrum 48:13
She ad loved it. It was just hilarious. Again, I felt very seen. Because again, if we’re talking about girls, young girls who have been taken from their families or or taken off of the streets, this is this is a real life issue issue when it comes to trafficking and sex trafficking. Women and girls statistically are the majority who are trafficked. And those are things that do happen to them so that they can still be considered a marketable object. You know, “If you don’t get pregnant, it’s easier for me to market you and that.. can be see have it put it plainly on on a in a Disney movie, though, was a joke. Like it made the characters more real, because I’m sure that there’s been fandom questions in regards to how come Black Widow doesn’t have any kids? And it’s like, well, this is why this is part of the horrors of of her of her trauma and her past experiences before an Avenger.

Stefanie Bautista 49:10
Yeah, and as a clap back to, “Is it your time of the month?” Which is every woman’s just who loves to hear that? Absolutely no one. No one loves to hear that.

Ariel Landrum 49:22
Every every woman and every person with a uterus.

Stefanie Bautista 49:25

Ariel Landrum 49:25
Just like really?

Stefanie Bautista 49:26
Yeah. And as a clap back to that I applaud that whole entire scene, because you know what, it’s not just a matter of us being on our time of the month, and nor does it have to do with any of your concern if you’re asking. So maybe you should walk that all the way back and he walked it all the way back. So…

Ariel Landrum 49:46
All the way.

Stefanie Bautista 49:48
All the way and it was liberating without burning a bra and it was liberating without using any of those, “this is a feminist movie trope,” which you know, has been played out over the last couple of years. So…

Ariel Landrum 49:59
Yeah, yeah, again, a different way of looking at feminism and older way. And I think this, this is very much how this current generation and I think our generation is, is accepting the openness around feminism, which is that these aren’t things we’re going to be afraid to talk about. But we’re not. I mean, we’re bringing them up in a moment. It is, it’s a shutdown to you, but it isn’t a weapon. It’s the truth.

Stefanie Bautista 50:22
Yeah, and I really want to highlight the fact that you mentioned Yelena being more of the new generation representative of the Avengers. I think that really worked well parallel to Rachel Weisz’ character as the Iron Maiden, because she lived her entire life being cycled through the Red Room 4 times, as she said, and she is the classic example of conditioning. And she is an example of having been used as an object as a woman under under the spell of.. Why am I forgetting his name right now?

Ariel Landrum 50:55
Oh, Dreykov?

Stefanie Bautista 50:56
Dreykov. Yes, Dreykov. I didn’t want to come Alexi that’s not him. Yeah, under Dreykov rule. And I think by her breaking away from that, to open doors to the younger generation is just, I think symbolic of Marvel’s way of opening that door from female superheroes that we’ve seen in the past and female superheroes like Black Widow, who this story is about and how she was portrayed in the past and how we are going to introduce her and every other female character after her now. Because although that, you know, it might not have been the best way to portray female superheroes. It still exists in the past, and we’re going to acknowledge it, but we’re going to take that and learn from it.

Ariel Landrum 51:39
Yeah, we’re not we’re not going to hide from it and we’re not going to minimize it. So it’s going to be presented as as factual and truthful, but it’s not going to be presented as the always in will be.

Stefanie Bautista 51:50
Yeah, and in fact, we need that perspective to move forward. Which is exactly how we needed Iron Maiden to help you know, kind of orchestrate that one explosion that ended up taking the entire island down?

Ariel Landrum 52:07
Floating Red Room.

Stefanie Bautista 52:09
Yeah, I don’t know what…

Ariel Landrum 52:11
Flying ship thing that somehow Iron Man miss every time I… Okay.

Stefanie Bautista 52:17
Okay, so now that we’ve talked a lot about what we loved, I’m sure there’s things that we could have improved on, right?

Ariel Landrum 52:26
Okay, this is my first and biggest gripe that I as soon as I found out after that’s Stef had finished finished watching the movie. I texted, did you notice that thing? Okay, I think you guys can hear my cat. I apologize.

Stefanie Bautista 52:43

Ariel Landrum 52:43
She says, “Hi, feed me for the fourth time,” and I won’t because you’re on a diet. But anyways, as soon as I found out she’d watched it. I texted her immediately. And I was like, “Did you find the mistake? The continuity mistake in the beginning when they were in Cuba?” And she was like, “What are you talking about?” And now I am a huge Disney fan. But I will also say that I am a My Little Pony fan. Yes. I love my ponies.

Stefanie Bautista 53:18

Ariel Landrum 53:19
And so when they land in Cuba, Yelena is holding a stuffed animal. And this stuffed animal gets passed around at least 4 times. So I got lots of views of this stuffed animal. And it is a My Little Pony. And it is an Alicorn Twilight Sparkle. So that’s the name of the character. However, Twilight Sparkle did not become an alicorn until February 16, 2013.

Stefanie Bautista 53:47
Oh, no. Way after.

Ariel Landrum 53:49
An this animal was was featured in time where it’s supposed to be 1995. So I don’t know. If Loki and Wanda had done some kind of multiverse thing and somehow Twilight Sparkle was put in this 1995 because that’s what got messed up in this universe. I’m thinking not but I was upset for the rest of the movie about this. I was… I don’t know what prop person done messed up that. And I and I had I went online I had to confirm that I was not I was not crazy. And I found all kinds of Reddit threads from other My Little Pony and Brony fans.

Stefanie Bautista 54:24

Ariel Landrum 54:25
Yes. Yes, this was the Twilight Sparkle that did not exist in 1995.

Stefanie Bautista 54:31
Yes, I am not a big My Little Pony fan. I do love My Little Pony. However, I’m not that big of a fan. I, so now that you said that, what if there was a Nexus event that had to do with Sylvie? ‘Cause we know how old she is. And. No. I know there’s nothing nothing, somebody messed up.

Ariel Landrum 54:50
Somebody messed up.

Stefanie Bautista 54:51
in that in the opening credits. Me and in my attempt to connect the multiversus of all the fandoms that I love. I was like, okay, so David Harbour is in this movie. I’m a huge Stranger Things fan. And I’m like, “Are they in Indiana? Why are they always in Indiana? Oh, no, they’re in Ohio, which is next to Indiana. Why do they always have to pick? Is that Hopper’s house? Is that?” And I was just trying to find all of these Stranger Things Easter Eggs for whatever reason.

Ariel Landrum 55:19
Evemnthe name ‘Alexi?’

Stefanie Bautista 55:20
Even the name ‘Alexi’. I’m like, “Oh my gosh, Alexi, just like Alexi. Poor Alexi.” And so, you know, if you’ve watched Stranger Things, every 80s reference, I think, because Stranger Things has done it so so so well, I always think of Stranger Things whenever I see something 80s now because I think they kind of hit the benchmark of what it is to portray the 80s in, you know, the 2020s. So I don’t know why my brain went to that. But I was trying to connect those things, which is probably why I did not notice that My Little Pony stuffed animal. And, you know, I think everybody goes through that when they sit down to watch a movie. Especially when it’s in a multiverse like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We are so trained to find Easter Eggs now. And

Ariel Landrum 56:04

Stefanie Bautista 56:04
I talk about this all the time with my students, especially when Endgame came out. I remember, and my coworkers can attest to this. I remember watching Endgame, midnight showing, and I had to work the next day because it was Thursday. And of course, you know, Friday, we still have school. So I came into the classroom and the first thing I said to my students was, things just be dropping everywhere today. It’s okay, this is real life, guys. I walk into a classroom and I said, “If you guys don’t behave today, I will spoil Endgame for you. And I am not joking.”

Ariel Landrum 56:39
Ohhhh. So you put down there, hammer. You put down’s Thor’s hammer.

“Your Have a Good Friday. Today, you are going to get your play time you’re gonna get your free time. But if somebody slips up, I am spoiling Endgame for you.” And we had the most fantastic day in my class. So and they always love talking about Easter Eggs. And we always try to one up each other like , “Oh Miss Stefanie, did you remember this? Or do you know if you saw that?” So I think we all go through that as Marvel fans and Disney fans now. We always try to find the Pizza Planet Truck. But I think…

Yeah, that really shows you how much like when we’re talking about dissecting medium like that gives you such a good critical lens and also being observant, right? Like that’s probably I know, for my clients, and I’m assuming for your students, like being more observant of the moment is a critical skill to obtain.

Stefanie Bautista 57:27
And it’s a really, it’s pretty high level skill when you’re thinking about it because you’re accessing memories that you’ve had from previous experiences in previous movies, and you’re making those connections. And I love it when you know, kids make those connections and what stands out for certain students and what doesn’t stand out for certain students. For you, for example, the My Little Pony thing totally stood out for you.

Ariel Landrum 57:47
Instant rapid processing. Executive functioning boom, there it is.

Stefanie Bautista 57:53
For me, it was the time period and I love time period, everything I love how Marvel and really any sort of medium decides to portray any sort of time travel, any sort of retro imagery, because I feel like as technology is evolving, we’re getting so much better at it. And our understanding of prior eras has gotten so much more clear. So I mean, I think that was good, but we’re talking about things that you know, we could have fixed, right.

Ariel Landrum 58:19

Stefanie Bautista 58:20
So I think for myself really quickly, Taskmaster could have been done a little bit better.

Ariel Landrum 58:28

Stefanie Bautista 58:28
I think it was kind of Oh, I know it was kind of like a guise for who the real villain was. And we all know that. The real villain of course is the red the Red Room and I’m gonna keep forgetting and Dreykov.

Ariel Landrum 58:44
Forst time I’m saying things right.

Stefanie Bautista 58:45
Yeah. I think it’s because they don’t want to mess up the pronunciation. Dreykov.

Ariel Landrum 58:49
Yeah. Ohh.

Stefanie Bautista 58:52
Dreykov. So I know he’s, you know, kind of a Wizard of Oz thing again, where he is the man behind the curtain. He’s the person who we really need to take down. However, with the original Taskmaster, I knew that it had more of like a skull face. This one had more of a Daft Punk robot looking face.

Ariel Landrum 59:10
Yeah, yeah.

Stefanie Bautista 59:11
It was like, “Are we gonna see him behind the DJ booth?” Like it looked really Daft Punk. And Deadmau5 to me. And the hood didn’t quite make so much sense because she was already wearing like a skin tight, like, cap.

Ariel Landrum 59:27
Yeah, it was just kind of some extra.

Stefanie Bautista 59:31
Yeah. And I don’t know like, it was fun to see the different fighting styles like clearly claws came out Black Panther. Shield came out Captain America. It didn’t get large like the Hulk? That didn’t happen. But I think even even when you’re tying who that character was and their relationship to Natasha, it wasn’t fully fleshed out and I know that wasn’t the goal of the movie. And that was kind of like part of the journey for her. But I think that was a little bit wasted.

Ariel Landrum 1:00:05
Well, they, they, I mean, if you if you remember Black Widow was always talking about wanting to, she’s got read on her ledger and she’s wanting to wipe it clean. Like, that’s just some of the common quotes that that she has. And this was one of those reds. And unfortunately, it didn’t it didn’t quite meet expectations. Now, I really liked that they did change the gender and they connected it in the story. This wasn’t just a random person who teamed up with Dreykov like that seems to be a common thing like weird superhero team ups that don’t make sense or supervillain team ups.

Stefanie Bautista 1:00:39

Ariel Landrum 1:00:40
But it didn’t seem like this was something that she regretted as much as she probably should have. And it was too easy of a of a forgiving, I think, because it was so instant. All that I don’t remember that Taskmasters daughter’s name is Valentina?

Stefanie Bautista 1:01:04
No, no Valentina is

Ariel Landrum 1:01:05
No that’s who came out at the end. But a task, it was really that Taskmaster asked, “Is he gone?” She she wanted to get away from from her abuser. So that totally made sense. How, however, given the amount of trauma, given friggin jumping out of falling ship, and then and then being unprogrammed, I just I feel like it would have made more sense if if she was just disoriented and it wasn’t really quite speaking or or engaging and wasn’t there. I don’t I know that I would want Black Widow to have redemption. But I don’t think in this case that she should have had it. Not that easily.

Stefanie Bautista 1:01:48
Exactly. Umm her name is Antonia.

Ariel Landrum 1:01:51

Stefanie Bautista 1:01:51

Ariel Landrum 1:01:53
We were close.

Stefanie Bautista 1:01:54
We were not very close. But yeah, I think with her especially being one of the actors who’s truly of Russian descent, she is, you know, Olga Kurylenko, who is she’s an action actress. And she’s been in other films. It was it was kind of a miss to see her not highlighted in that way. But also, I’m sure it was hard to do that because Taskmaster already has such a reputation in the Marvel Universe in the comic books. So I know they were trying to just pull in characters probably where they could. I could be wrong. I don’t know. But yeah, I think it could have been fleshed out a little bit more. However, I know, we were teetering on what a 2 and a half hour movie at this point.

Ariel Landrum 1:02:42
Were you surprised that she was Taskmaster? Or did you figure it out?

Stefanie Bautista 1:02:47
Um, I knew Taskmaster was gonna appear at some point. Like you said, spoilers are kind of unavoidable at this point in time, so I knew I knew that character was gonna come out and the only way it could have been her. So and like, there was major foreshadowing when Yelena was talking to her and said, “Did you I did you recover the body?” And when she said, “Well, there was nobody to recover.” It was kind of like “Well, clearly she is MIA. So she’s gonna pop up somewhere.”

Ariel Landrum 1:03:14
Yeah, I I knew instantly that that moment one of 2 things and that I leaned towards it was gonna be Taskmaster or that she took over the Widows. I thought that was that could have been a take or twist. But at once I actually saw a Taskmaster fight. I was like, “Okay, yeah, this this has to be Dreykov’s daughter.” If we’re talking about him dabbling in bioengineering him dabbling in you know, conditioning mind control. Yeah, I don’t see him having any qualms doing that to his daughter. So it was it was somewhat predictable. But I thought I was going to appreciate the predictability. I didn’t as much in this case.

Stefanie Bautista 1:04:01
Yeah. Fun random fact, the woman who played Taskmaster, Olga Kurylenko, was a Bond girl. Or she was in a James Bond movie. So she was in Quantum of Solace. And that is the last time I saw her. And she, yeah, was a Bond girl named Camille Montez, for all your Bond fans out there. So yeah, I think that is just one of the things that I, you know, kind of had an issue with. But other than that, I think the linear progression of Natasha finding her roots using that to kind of wipe her ledger clean and in the process, liberate the Widows, was fulfilled pretty straightforwardly. Um, yeah. And I think the end just because of when it was released, you really had to reach back. I’ve heard from a lot of my friends who have watched it who do follow the Marvel Cinematic Universe, maybe not as closely as you and I do. Or if you know our listeners do, they just said “I wish maybe I could have been prepared in watching some of the prior movies again, just to kind of freshen up.” like watch civil war again to see you know, “Why is she on the run? You know, why is you know she living out in a trailer with her version of M or Q in the Bond movies, who supplies her with all of her necessities to live. Which I like that character. I like…

Ariel Landrum 1:05:32
Mason is the character and the actor. His name is OT Fagbenly and he is also British, and he went to the same elementary school as Florence Pugh but just like 10 years earlier

Stefanie Bautista 1:05:45
That’s wild. He reminds me of Craig David.

Ariel Landrum 1:05:49
UK be small.

Stefanie Bautista 1:05:51
Oh, yeah. I kept looking. I was like, “That can’t be Craig David. He’s not an actor. He sings. He sings ‘7 Days.’

Ariel Landrum 1:05:59
I guess he plays Luke in The Handmaid’s Tale, but I’ve never saw that show.

Stefanie Bautista 1:06:01

Ariel Landrum 1:06:02
The Handmaid’s Tale.

Stefanie Bautista 1:06:03
That’s one of the ones I’ve yet to see. I know it’s on my list of things on Hulu that I have to watch. And I don’t watch Hulu very often anymore.

Ariel Landrum 1:06:11
So some of the other sort of small nitpicky things, because I think we’ve gotten to the point where, at least I have, I can be nitpicky in regards to Marvel movies.

Stefanie Bautista 1:06:21

Ariel Landrum 1:06:22
Okay, so the the scene where you Yelena is calling Natasha poser. They’re doing that a convenience store. They they didn’t confirm what are the convenience store person spoke English or not. Understood what they were doing or saying. They’re talking about people they’ve killed. And now she’s on the ground like whipping her head back forth. Wipe her hair back and forth. And that and he had no reaction. That extra if his his line or direction was do nothing, say nothing. They could have put a mannequin in there. And I wouldn’t have known because literally no, no response to…

Stefanie Bautista 1:06:55

Ariel Landrum 1:06:56
This woman on the ground whipping her hair back and forth. Umm.

Stefanie Bautista 1:07:00
And just taking things from the shelf. I don’t know if they have any intention of paying for them.

Ariel Landrum 1:07:06
But I didn’t see them stealing them in their outfits. So..

Stefanie Bautista 1:07:09
No. Also just them hanging out in that gas stations front or in clearly it’s a family owned gas station. Yeah. And they’re in like the boonies of this country. Are they in Budapest? Their in um…

Ariel Landrum 1:07:23
I don’t remember.

Stefanie Bautista 1:07:23
I don’t remember, but very in like a very remote town and in remote towns everybody tends to know each other.

Ariel Landrum 1:07:30

Stefanie Bautista 1:07:30
Quite well.

Ariel Landrum 1:07:31

Stefanie Bautista 1:07:31
Look at these 2 Russian slash white women talking.

Ariel Landrum 1:07:36
Yeah just sitting here talking to each other.

Stefanie Bautista 1:07:37
Super cas’

Ariel Landrum 1:07:38
Enjoying some beers with no like, no other party, no chaperone like just, you know, I, it was odd, right?

Stefanie Bautista 1:07:47
Yeah a little odd.

Ariel Landrum 1:07:47
Like there would be there would be a response. Like, I don’t think the kids would be out playing. Yeah, if these strangers in this random town are chilling. Yeah. And then the other thing was at the very end, the not not the end credit, but the very end Black Widow, rolls up in a motorcycle, and then jumps out, and then kicks Mason, and he wakes up. And I’m like, “He didn’t wake up from the sound of the motorcycle? But he wakes up because she nudges him.” I don’t buy this, I get that this trope is that he sleeps because he’s worked on a bunch of time zones, but but they should have done that better. She should have been driving a Prius and like rolled up on him sneakily.

Stefanie Bautista 1:08:25
Also why wasn’t his sleeping in the quinjet?

Ariel Landrum 1:08:28
I’ve no idea.

Stefanie Bautista 1:08:29
Isn’t it comfortable in there. And I mean, we’ve seen the inside of that thing. It’s pretty state of the art.

Ariel Landrum 1:08:34
And how did she not notice it? Like why was it “Oh, thanks for this jet.

Stefanie Bautista 1:08:39
“This gigantic quinjet that all the Avengers are gonna fly in one day. To save the quantum universe.” Yeah, you know, those? Yeah, I think we can nitpick on those things. And I, I’m right there with you on that. So I think in the grand scheme of things, I mean, even and I this is probably the last thing I’m going to, like contribute to this part of the conversation, but the whole subway part of them just like going in. Have you guys been in a subway station? Anything goes down. I’ve been in many subway stations in many different countries, and the smallest thing goes down. Everybody turns and no one is just watching to see what goes on. You will see them scatter like roaches.

Ariel Landrum 1:09:27
Scatter. And there’s a shutdown, like it reported to them the metro authority.

Stefanie Bautista 1:09:35
Yeah. Especially in Europe, because it’s such a small enclosed space like. Do not tell me.

Ariel Landrum 1:09:40
And there have been plenty of, you know, in reality, terrorist attacks that have happened in those areas. So the response time is instant.

Stefanie Bautista 1:09:47
Yeah, I even think that was a better response time in the Italian Job way back in the day with Mark Wahlberg. And Charlize Theron because I love that movie. It’s one of my favorites. And when they shut down Hollywood and Highland right across the street from where you watch Black Widow, shit goes down it goes.

Ariel Landrum 1:10:04
It goes down.

Stefanie Bautista 1:10:05
So yeah, that’s the last thing I’m gonna say about that. But oh, I enjoyed it.

Ariel Landrum 1:10:11
I think like a couple of things before we end. I think The Cap would disapprove of the language. I counted I counted. So a bitch was said in English once. Shit was said in Russian once. And in English three times. Bullshit was said twice in English and ass was said three times in English. So watch your language. Language. Watch your mouth. Cap would disapprove. And I think really the only other thing that I would want to touch on is I there was some foreshadowing in the beginning with the fireflies, right in regards to like bioluminescence, and that sort of like illuminating darkness. And if we think a Dreykov off, he’s operating in the shadows. He’s hiding. I think. And then when we talk about the serum, it used light, right? Like it seemed a sparkle. Very much similar to the fireflies. I thought that was really lovely. But I feel like in the writing to the completion, something was missed in like connecting that.

Stefanie Bautista 1:11:10
Yes, yeah, it didn’t come into full fruition. And yeah, I they spent so much time on that scene with Rachel Weisz explaining it to her that I thought it was going to come up again, maybe even in the scene where Yelena visits her grave afterwards. I would have liked it to be at night maybe where they would revisit that. And then we could see, you know, fireflies, but again, it did not happen. It was more symbolic, I guess.

Ariel Landrum 1:11:11
Yeah, definitely foreshadowing for the, the the way the story is supposed to go, which is like illuminating this, this person operating in the dark and in the shadows, but I, I think it should, it seemed more like it was going to be talking about their sisterly connection. And I agree with you. Like if we saw the fireflies in regards to like at her grave that would have felt like very healing as part of just grief and loss. We do tend to look for the ones that we’ve lost in the symbols around us. So I think there was a hidden amiss there.

Stefanie Bautista 1:12:13
Yeah, for sure. Yeah, I definitely agree. And I think that, you know, minus those little snafus, I think Marvel did a pretty good job considering that this is a release, not just in theaters, but also Disney+ as premiere access. Again, as a big theatrical release, it’s pretty hard. But I know that they’ve done quite well. Making I’m not sure hundreds of millions at this point 5, 7 or whatever.

Ariel Landrum 1:12:44
Yeah, yeah, domestically and internationally, this is broken, broken the records. And I think I think what we expected and even broken records in regards to premiere access and new subscriptions. Totally worth it overdue for this character.

Stefanie Bautista 1:13:01

Ariel Landrum 1:13:03
And really just makes me sad that we aren’t going to see her again. I’m hoping maybe flashbacks? Or like a variant?

Stefanie Bautista 1:13:10
Who knows like it like we’ve said before, the multiverse will probably surprise us in ways that we can’t even figure out yet.

Ariel Landrum 1:13:18
Can’t even figure out.

Stefanie Bautista 1:13:19

Ariel Landrum 1:13:21
Well, if you want to hear more about Black Widow, go ahead and check out GT Radio’s episode where they talk about more of the family dynamics.

Yeah, definitely.

Stefanie Bautista 1:13:31
I know that there’s much to explore with that with the dynamic of what is considered a family and what they define as a family and what Natasha, all of those people go through because of their experience as this undercover family. And yeah, it’s a must listen to.

Ariel Landrum 1:13:51
Yeah. So thank you, everybody for listening to Happiest Pod On Earth. I’m Ariel.

Stefanie Bautista 1:13:58
And I’m Stefanie.

Ariel Landrum 1:14:00
And we are Disney fans. But we’re so much more let us know how much more you are than just the Disney fan by tweeting us @happiestpodgt or dming us on our Instagram @happiestpodgt.

Stefanie Bautista 1:14:12
Yep. And let us know how you like the movie and maybe some of the things that you noticed or had gripes with also. We would love to hear there is no judgment here. Okay, bye. See you next time.

Media / Characters Mentioned
  • Black Widow
  • Captain America
  • Thor
  • Iron Man
  • Iron Madien
  • Loki
  • Sylvie
  • Red Gaurdian
  • Yelena
  • Stranger Things
  • My Little Pony
Topics/Themes Mentioned
  • Trauma
  • Objectification
  • Human trafficking
  • Sex trafficking
  • Childhood trauma
  • 80s themes
  • Anatomy
  • Continuity error
  • Leadership skills
  • MMA fighting
  • Cosplay
  • Costumes
  • Body image
  • Body types

Questions? Comments? Discuss this episode on the GT Forum.

 Website: happy.geektherapy.com
 | Instagram: @HappiestPodGT | Twitter: @HappiestPodGT | Facebook: @HappiestPodGT |
 | Stef on Twitter: @stefa_kneee | Ariel on Instagram: @airyell3000 |

Geek Therapy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit with the mission of advocating for the effective and meaningful use of popular media in therapeutic, educational, and community practice.
| GT Facebook: @GeekTherapy | GT Twitter: @GeekTherapy |
| GT Forum: forum.geektherapy.com  | GT Discord: geektherapy.com/discord |

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