Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher review

Avengers Confidential delivers lackluster Marvel action

For the continued excellence that is the Marvel Studios films, the animated movie wing is similarly consistent in its mediocrity. Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher easily maintains that not so proud tradition with another weak, uninspired effort that once again proves that if you want fun, exciting adventures featuring The Avengers your local theater is the only option worth considering.

Avengers Confidential Black Widow and Punisher - Nick Fury

Punisher (Brian Bloom, who provides the best voice performance) goes a ninja-like bad-guy shooting spree and in the process, ruins a carefully laid out S.H.I.E.L.D. operation. To make amends, Nick Fury (John Eric Bentley, a suitable stand-in for Samuel L. Jackson’s Fury), recruits Punisher to team with Black Widow (Jennifer Carpenter) to prevent terrorist organization Leviathan from using S.H.I.E.L.D. tech to create a new brand of super soldier. Because clearly in an operation that requires a certain level of tactful precision, agents able to be a team player and follow orders, Punisher is the first name that comes to mind.

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For a film featuring two of Marvel Comics’ most bad-a$$ heroes, Mitsutaka Hirota’s screenplay is far too melodramatic and silly. Punisher isn’t an especially deep character, but this is the second Marvel animated film he’s appeared in and this time he’s got an expanded co-starring role instead of a far more appropriate cameo. With his lack of powers and single-minded obsession with stopping gangsters and common street thugs, he’s a character that’s ripe for a live-action show not a budget-be-damned animation film.

Avengers Confidential Black Widow and Punisher - Black Widow vs Orion

Hirota can’t settle on a tone for Widow’s character either. One moment she’s overly aggressive, the next she’s trying to peacefully resolve conflicts. Of the cast, Widow is the most frustrating to watch because of how inconsistent she’s written. The tacked on romantic subplot, borrowing from Black Widow’s comic book past, is a dud too. It also doesn’t help that the filmmakers over-sexualize her every chance they get. She seriously looks like she’s concealing two missiles in her leather outfit.

Avengers Confidential Black Widow and Punisher - Black Widow, Amadeus and Punisher

Kenichi Shimizu, one of the key animators for Iron Man: Rise of Technovore, makes his directorial debut here and his work reflects both the best and worst of anime projects. The action scenes are dynamic with the final battle especially capturing the mayhem of an Avengers-style epic throwdown. On the other hand, the annoying amount of battles between Punisher and Black Widow; the unnecessary comedic characters; hard rock soundtrack and exaggerated video game-like fights, specifically the numerous punch stand offs, makes it hard to take seriously.

Avengers Confidential Black Widow and Punisher - Iron Man and Punisher

The box-cover image prominently features Iron Man, Thor and Hulk alongside the titular characters. Along with Hawkeye, Captain Marvel and War Machine, they come in near the film’s conclusion to help save the day. Alas far too late to rescue the film.

With such a vast collection of outstanding stories in the Marvel Comics library, I’m really hoping that the masterminds behind these animated features stop cranking out these lackluster original stories. They just need to adapt some of the classic Marvel storylines into films. Maybe then we’ll finally get an animated Marvel movie worth watching. This latest team-up, however, isn’t it.

Avengers Confidential Black Widow and Punisher - Hulk and Thor

Rating: 3 out of 10

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  • keith

    damn… not worth a 1 rental? I wish marvel would quit lending itself to the anime style. they have way too many Books that could get the animated treatment. why they kidding they need to go ahead do some daredevil, heros for hire to get things warmed up for the tv show. I dont know why this is so hard. I hope this doesnt lead to a Black widow stand a lone movie. I dont see the need.

  • keith

    if they could just get on the level of the ultimate avengers that would be good enough for me. amazingly nothing has beat Earth mightiest as a series for marvel. they should be ashamed they canceled it. That should take the freaking place of Shield sappy show.

  • Jeph Joeb is now one of the head guys in charge of TV and animation, which is 1 of the reasons A:EMH was cancelled. Why Marvel can’t get their animated act together is amazing to me. They’re part of Disney, you’d think someone there would be a fan and would offer to help get some stuff made.
    The last good Marvel animated movie I saw was Hulk VS, and that’s been a while.

  • That’s the only Marvel animated film I own. That seemed to be widely acclaimed. Don’t understand what the problem is with just not trying more films that had that same kind of tone and spirit. Ugh.

  • I’m behind about three episodes on SHIELD now, but I’ve heard really great things about them. Maybe it’s turning the tide?

    I may recap them if I find another couple of free hours 😉

  • If Scarlett is in it, I’m watching it.

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