Black Widow Review: An Enjoyable Marvel Film with a few Misfires.
Updated: Sep 21
For sometime now the Avengers have been major players on the big screen. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes made a major impression in the hit 2012 blockbuster and the team have proven to be just as strong as individuals with the likes Iron Man and Captain America standing out in their own movies. Yet despite the various solo adventures, one character has remained untouched and that would be none other than the sleek spy Black Widow. Since making her debut in Iron Man 2, Black Widow has played a vital role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe whether she was backing up Captain America or even leading the Avengers. However, despite her position, the character had yet to receive a adventure of her very own-until now. As the MCU begins a new phase on the big screen, it retraces its steps by giving the acclaimed heroine her swan song in the summer film: Black Widow.
Directed by Cate Shortland, the new movie takes place after the events of Captain America: Civil War as Natasha (Scarlett Johansson), while on the run, uncovers a conspiracy that forces her to deal with her past. The movie was meant to hit theaters last year but, as the story goes, it was delayed and after an influx release dates the movie has finally made its way to theaters (as well as streaming on Disney+). Despite the character’s longevity, there have been many mysteries surrounding Black Widow that could easily make for a compelling feature presentation; and knowing her fate in Avengers: Endgame it was interesting to see if this new film would be a fitting way to bring Natasha’s story full circle. The end result was an exhilarating outing for the Avenger that certainly had its share of misfires.
As stated the mystery surrounding Black Widow could make for a captivating plot, and while the story does uncovers a thrilling adventures it had little to offer when it came to its revelations. The plot had a strong start as Natasha’s journey with her sister Yelena (Florence Pugh) was engaging-albeit a little straightforward in its direction. However as the plot plays out it begins to falter. While the conflict itself is solid it only goes so far to the point where the conclusion, while exciting, was underwhelming with its twists. Furthermore the plot does little to expand Black Widow’s world with points such as the Red Room and Natasha’s time with Shield were hardly touched. Despite these issues the plot’s true merit come from its character driven nature as Natasha’s dilemma with her family gave this story a personal touch. So while this plot left me a bit underwhelmed, its sense of enjoyment was enough to make this tale of super spies a satisfying experience.
For years Black Widow has been an enjoyable character who has earned her spot in the MCU. So it was interesting to see how the heroine would fair as the lead in her own blockbuster, and she did not disappoint. While the movie does little to expand on Natasha’s arc, it does cement her notable traits that have made this Avenger such an endearing character; and Scarlett Johansson continued to impress with her strong performance. Equally as impressive was Natasha’s dysfunctional family. Yelena was a good contrast to Natasha, and the chemistry between Johansson and Pugh was impressive in capturing the dynamic between the two wayward siblings. Red Guardian (David Harbour) was an entertaining addition to the cast, though he could be excessive at times, while Melina (Rachel Weisz) grounded the rest of the family. In the case of supporting players, the cast did alright. Characters like Rick Mason (O-T Fagbenle) and General Ross (William Hurt) had their time to shine, but their roles were limited which made a minimal impression on the overall film. However, in the case of villains Dreykov (Ray Winstone) and Taskmaster were lacking pair of rogues. Dreykov had a meager presence and his motivation was weak at best; while Taskmaster, though a formidable foe, had little impact to the movie and the details surrounding the mercenary felt like rehashed elements from better antagonists in the MCU. Together these two bland adversaries put a messy blemish on an otherwise stellar cast.
Being a superhero film, as well as a summer blockbuster, I expected Black Widow to be action packed experience and (for the most part) it was exactly that. From keen fight scenes to massive moment, the movie featured an array of fun action sequences that was worthy to the MCU’s tenure. While the action itself was good, aspects such as editing and effects was a contradiction to this attribute and the movie as a whole. Some of the film’s edits felt disjointed while the visuals were inconsistent with some of the cg looking weak in execution. Fortunately, elements such as music were effective in capturing the movie’s tone. The score by Lorne Balfe was thematic as it was fitting for both the movie and its title character-though some cues felt misplaced in a scene or two. Together these elements created a atmosphere that fitting for its respected cinematic universe as well as blockbusters in general.
Black Widow was certainly an enjoyable superhero film, but one that squander its potential. The film’s abrupt execution prevented elements such as the story from flourishing and made aspects like effects distracting in delivery. Yet the film had its merits as the likes of characters gave the movie a heart, and action created the right amount of thrills to make this blockbuster a thrilling one. While it may not be the strongest entry in the MCU, Black Widow was still an entertaining experience that was brings the aloud Avenger’s story full circle-even if it was a bit lukewarm.