The reason that Tony Stark didn’t get a cameo in Black Widow is that it wasn’t much of a scene, to begin with, since it was more of a staging point to tell the audience, ‘this is where we left off’. In fact, there was even mention of why Clint Barton wasn’t given a cameo, and it was essential to prove that Natasha didn’t need the boys to tell her own story, which is fair until one realizes that Iron Man had Pepper Potts, Thor had Jane Foster, Captain America had Peggy Carter and the Hulk even had Betty Ross. So the whole idea of “I am woman hear me roar” is a bit hypocritical, but moving on. Black Widow is a movie that’s been overdue for a while, and not just because of the pandemic. The movie is enjoyable enough thanks to the action and the family dynamic that turns out to be less than real but was still real enough that it was a big part of Yelena’s world. Being the older of the two of them, Natasha knew more about the Red Room before they were separated, so she knew what was coming when their cover had been blown.
But while the movie was great without the cameos it did have a couple of glaring mistakes that were easy to notice. One was that Natasha became superhuman somehow and was able to take the type of damage that should have incapacitated her without fail, as it did in other movies. This wasn’t to bring her down, but it would have made her easier to relate to, since even the intense training that she underwent as a spy in the Red Room couldn’t have kept her body from wearing out eventually since the damage she incurred in the movie was enough to elicit a wince from many moviegoers since smashing her own face on Dreykov’s desk to disable the pheromone blocker that kept her from attacking her enemy should have come close to putting her out of that particular fight. Seriously, does anyone at the MCU know anything about head trauma?
And since I bring up the main enemy, another issue is that Dreykov, as an enemy, is pretty weak. Sure, he has an army of Widows at his disposal and has been seeding them all through the world, which is amazing and kind of not realistic at all, but from his lack of fighting ability compared to his Widows and the ridiculous pheromone blocker, one can’t help but think that he’s a planner that should be well away from the front lines. It’s fair to say that Taskmaster was the main villain that everyone was waiting to see. The fact that the character was retconned to be female is yet another light slap in the face to remind people that this is, like it or not, a story promoting female empowerment, which is pointed out since the male characters in this movie are either overbearing, boorish and kind of dumb, well-meaning and considered “cute” when it comes to their attempts to help out, or irredeemably evil. The positive male role model doesn’t really exist in this movie, but oh well. The kickass, empowered woman that’s trying to make things right is there, and that’s the point.
In all fairness, the cameos weren’t needed. In fact, General Ross wasn’t even needed in this movie. Taskmaster would have been the best villain to keep front and center, and revealing her as a woman would have been fine, but eliminating Dreykov entirely and showing that Taskmaster was in charge of the Red Room would have been a lot more effective. But this is what we got, and people are happy, so there’s no need to make a big fuss about it at this time. Black Widow is a pretty good action movie and is a great addition to the MCU, but now the motivation behind pitting Yelena, who is thought to become the next Black Widow, against Clint Barton has to be figured out since the post-credit scene shows Valentina twisting the facts to make it appear as though Clint is responsible for Natasha’s death when everyone that’s watched Endgame knows that Clint was ready to sacrifice himself to get the Soul Stone, while Natasha stopped him and made the sacrifice instead.
How things are bound to shake out now is already shaping up to be a pretty decent story, but until it finally comes around, it’s fair to say that there’s a bit of a push and pull act going on when it comes to men and women in the MCU, and while it’s a little bit irritating, it’s also hard to dispute the reason behind it. Hopefully things will continue to even out as we go along since otherwise, it might actually become a bigger issue if things aren’t settled.