After the events of Captain America: Civil War, Natasha Romanov is reunited with her little sister and tries to fix the sins of her past, while re-connecting with the family she wishes was real.
Spoiler Level: Teeny Weeny
Fan’s have been waiting a long time for a Black Widow solo movie, and had to wait even longer than expected due to the Covid pandemic. July 9th, we finally get to see Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) lead her own film. Revolving around her troubled past as a Russian assassin trained by General Dreykov at a facility called “The Red Room”, where young girls are taken off the streets and brainwashed into becoming lethal weapons.
In 1995, a young Natasha (Ever Anderson) was placed with Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour), Melina Vostaokoff (Rachel Weisz) and a very young Yelena Belova (Violet McGraw / later played by Florence Pugh) in Ohio to pose as an all American family while Alexei and Melina steal information on a chemical mental control formula being developed by Shield (Hail Hydra). For three years they lived as a loving family and in those three years the two girls become like real sisters. In fact, the whole “family” developed a bond, which made it even harder, when the mission ended, and Natasha and Yelena were returned to the Red Room. Twenty-one years later, Natasha is on the run from the American government after the events of Civil War, when she is pulled back into Yelena’s life and the whole “family” is reunited to bring down “The Red Room”. Their main adversary is Taskmaster, an assassin who can mimic any fighting style they see.
I was hopeful for this movie, as I really like Scarlett Johansson and think she added a lot of depth to a character that could have been very two dimensional. And the movie does deliver on a lot of fronts. It is well performed and fun to watch. It has a good balance of comedy, drama and action. Lots of explosions, fight scenes and chases. There are tender moments when the family is reconnecting and well-placed comical bits that don’t overwhelm the film. But…But the movie also fails in several areas and these areas are hard to explain, but I will try. I found the flow of the movie to not be as smooth. Movies have a certain rhythm, and I don’t feel like this film ever found its heartbeat. The fight scenes were not filmed with the same grace and precision that we had seen in other MCU movies, especially when dealing with The Black Widow. Watching her fight, is almost like watching a ballet, there is a certain elegance that we had come to expect, but never really delivered here. That isn’t to say, the fight choreography was bad, it was quite excellent but how it was shot made it feel rough. The deeper themes in the film, child trafficking, loss of childhood, free will and what makes a “family” are drowned out by the cacophony of explosions and action scenes. And finally, it lacked a bit of the “Wooo!” feeling in watching a Marvel movie. That little piece of heart and soul that changes a movie from “cookie cutter action film” to “Wow! I love this film”. It feels like an apology for what becomes of the character in Endgame and really for not doing this movie sooner.
Don’t get me wrong, Black Widow is an enjoyable action film with snappy dialogue, great production value and a stellar cast. Scarlett’s Natasha is a complicated character trying to make up for all the bad things in her past. Florence as little sister Yelena builds off that as well. She has a great mixture of regret and vulnerability hidden under a tough shell. You can feel her longing to have a family and a normal life, but with just enough whimsy to add some levity to the character. David Harbour was under utilized as “Red Guardian” the only Russian Super Soldier who longs for the adventures and glory of his youth. His character was used more for comic relief, which he expertly provided, but I would have liked to see him kick a bit more butt in some of the fight scenes. He is a great performer that could have been used for so much more.
An enjoyable film, with a lot going for it. It is beautifully acted with a lot of action and adventure, but I feel like the actors and characters deserved more and I hold the MCU to a higher standard.
Black Widow: The Family Web
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Acting - 10/1010/10
- Music - 10/1010/10
- Production - 10/1010/10
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