#movie review, #Film, #Cinema
Jul 16, 2021
Review: Black Widow
Black Widow was directed by Cate Shortland and stars Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers, Lucy), Florence Pugh (The Commuter, Midsommar), David Harbour (Hellboy, Stranger Things), and Rachel Weisz (The Mummy, The Constant Gardener). Black Widow is the twenty-fourth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This film is set after Captain America Civil War (2016).
As a side note, this was the first film I’ve seen in the theater in over a year and a half. The cinema was packed with people who must be suffering from acute cabin fever.
This is the ninth MCU film Scarlet Jo has appeared in but they still treat this movie as the last film of a trilogy. The film begins in 1995 with a young blue-haired Natasha Romanoff (Ever Anderson), her younger sister Yelena (Violet McGraw), her father Alexie (David Harbour), and her mother Melina (Rachel Weisz). They seem like a happy well adjusted American family. We’re then treated to a suspenseful action sequence before pushing forward twenty-one years into the future.
The family has separated and gone their own way. Meanwhile, Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) and Yelena (Florence Pugh) end up reuniting, seeking an antidote for whatever had controlled and forced them to become weapons.
Scarlet Jo is as good as ever, playing a slightly younger version of her character. She slips back into the role along with her once-iconic long red hair. Florence Pugh holds her own, but if they plan to use her in upcoming marvel films, I think she’d be better as a supporting character. She just doesn’t have Scarlet Jo’s charisma in a role like this. Still, there is a fun running gag throughout the film and she nails it. David Harbour is the standout here playing Alexei/Red Guardian. He brings great comedic timing to the role and adds humor to the movie. It’s always nice to see Rachel Weisz who is also great here especially in the humor department.
The film flows well without getting too bogged down in all the moving parts. This is one portion spy thriller, one portion superhero film but it works well enough.
We basically already know how this movie will play out but it’s a fun ride getting there. I don’t like what they do with the Black Widow concept and I don’t know if they have done before it in the pages of Marvel Comics, but it seems like a case of retconning.
The ending comes off a little ridiculous and had me wondering if what Romanoff was attempting is physically possible, along with the consequences. Yes, I’m thinking about physical possibilities and real-life consequences in a superhero movie but, in this case, I just didn’t buy it.
Also, the final confrontation suffers from the same problem as the first John Wick, Total Recall (2012), and even Wonder Woman—a bad guy who’s too old to be a credible threat. The Task Master also appears in somewhat of a novel form but comes across as a throwaway secondary villain.
Overall, Black Widow is a fun romp that’s enjoyable even with a few flaws. I thought with Natasha’s Black Widow already out of the MCU, that this would be a movie that came out too late. I was pleasantly surprised. Certainly, it’s one of the best movies of its kind I’ve watched this year.
Don't forget to stay to the end of the credits if you’re a completist. An Easter egg scene awaits. It’s really of no consequence but might whet your appetite for the next movie. Recommended!
Black Widow is available for streaming on Disney+ as a premium add-on and is still available in theaters.
A few scenes could use some trimming, especially interactions between characters in some scenes and during the final confrontation with the bad guy. Speaking of the bad guy, as stated earlier, a stronger villain or villains would increase this film's star rating.
Four out of five stars