Director: Cate Shortland
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, Olga Kurylenko, William Hurt, Ray Winstone, and Rachel Weisz
Black Widow. It’s been a long time coming. It feels like a lifetime ago when this movie was officially announced.
Well, now after delay upon delay, the movie’s finally been released, and there’s a lot to talk about.
But, before we really get into the nitty-gritty of this Black Widow review, I wanted to make it very clear that there are SPOILERS coming.
This Black Widow Review contains SPOILERS
OK, now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about Black Widow.
The movie is set before the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame.
This is how Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha is still alive (she sacrificed herself in Endgame).
Natasha is on the run after what happened in Captain America: Civil War and is being hunted by General Ross.
However, whilst hiding out in Norway, she encounters a new masked individual who Marvel Comics enthusiasts will know is the MCU’s take on Taskmaster.
The movie also introduces us to Yelena Belova (played by Florence Pugh) and also gives us some of Natasha’s backstory.
Basically, when they were children, Natasha and Yelena lived in Ohio with Russian undercover agents, super-soldier Alexei Shostakov and Black Widow Melina Vostokoff.
They were posing as a normal family, but they were really after some government secrets they could get back to mother Russia.
When their mission comes to an end – after a very exciting plane runway sequence – Natasha and Yelena are taken back to the Red Room.
This is when they are trained to become the super spies and assassins they are in the present.
Cut to the present day – in the movie – and Yelena is still working for the Red Room but soon finds out she’s being controlled against her will.
She’s freed from her mind-controlled state thanks to a red gas.
With the discovery of this gas, she can help save the other Black Widows who are also being controlled against their will.
However, she needs Natasha’s help.
Here come Marvel’s women!
One of the big selling points, and also the reason why this Marvel movie is actually quite important is because it’s the first film to really put the MCU’s female characters front and centre.
Scarlett Johansson has been trying to get this film made for years, but there has been so push back against the idea of a female-led Marvel movie.
Now, that push back mainly came from former Marvel President, Ike Perlmutter, but once he left, Kevin Feige made sure to get production on Black Widow underway.
It’s been a long time coming – Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff was first introduced in the MCU in Iron Man 2 and have been an important part of the franchise ever since.
However, it wasn’t until after she ‘died’ in the franchise that we finally got to see her in her own standalone MCU movie.
That said, I believe it was worth the wait.
And before you all say: “But wasn’t Captain Marvel the MCU’s first female-led movie?”, yes, technically it was.
However, I would argue that Black Widow is the first MCU movie to really champion its female characters.
Natasha and Yelena and its leads and I believe this does more in exploring their characters than Captain Marvel really did for Carol Danvers.
That’s jut my opinion though, and you’re very much welcome to disagree with me on that point.
F is for Florence Pugh
As far as the film’s performances go, I really can’t fault the movie at all.
Scarlett Johansson, Rachel Weisz and David Harbour are all brilliant and I love their whole ‘fake family’ vibe they’ve got going on in this film.
However, Florence Hugh is the one who really stole the show for me.
She is just a breath of fresh air in the MCU.
She plays Yelena so perfectly and yes, she does deliver a lot of jokes, but she delivers them perfectly.
I also think her brand of humour is actually quite different from the rest of the MCU.
This isn’t your Guardians of the Galaxy or Thor humour here.
Yelena is more snarky and also just super adorable in the film.
I think audiences the world over will fall in love with her character in this movie.
I would also argue that David Harbour is perfect as the Red Guardians and also has his hilarious moments in the movie.
Seeing him trying to get into his Red Guardians suit after having been broken out of a high-security Russian prison was just perfect.
Black Widow’s early reviews were pretty spot on
That said, I can’t really say the same thing for Ray Winstone in this film.
I cannot get my head around why people would cast him as a Russian villain when the whole of Hollywood knows he just cannot do accents.
His Russian accent in this movie is very off-putting – for me it was at least.
It took me out of the movie entirely.
I get that he looks the part, but he just doesn’t sound the part and that’s an issue.
I also struggled to understand why the film started with Alexei Shostakov and Melina Vostokoff speaking in perfect American accents.
However, when they make their escape, they’re suddenly speaking with thick Russian accents.
It was just another moment that took me out of the film somewhat.
It might be just a thing I have with accents.
I know I’m starting to become known as the one who complains about accents in films.
However, I do still think it’s an important part of acting – and films in general.
What’s next for Marvel and Black Widow?
The other gripe I had with the film was its final third, which I found to be a bit of a letdown when you put it up against the rest of the movie.
The film is very much a spy film, and it succeeds in that fact.
However, it descends into a CGI-heavy action sequence in the sky that I felt didn’t fit with the rest of the movie.
I also think they did a bit of a disservice to the Taskmaster character.
I do understand why so many Marvel Comics fans were upset with the character’s ‘twist’ at the end.
It does make sense as far as the film’s story’s concerned.
However, Taskmaster is a pretty big deal in the comics.
I just felt that they kind of misused the character in the MCU – so far.
That said, the movie as a whole is a good fun spy film that happens to be set in the MCU.
It’s actually one of the better spy movies I’ve watched in a while.
It also caters for an audience the MCU has kind of ignored for the most part.
By that, I mean women and young girls looking for good role models.
Natasha and Yelena are precisely that!
What do you make of this review of Black Widow?
Did you like the film, or did you think it was a bit ‘meh’?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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