Monday, July 5, 2021

Black Widow - Movie Review

The Movie: Black Widow

The Director: Cate Shortland

The Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, William Hurt, Ray Winstone, Rachel Weisz

The Story: A film about Natasha Romanoff in her quests between the films Civil War and Infinity War.

The Review:
May 1st 2020 was supposed to be the day the world would receive it's second female led film within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As we all know, a global pandemic put a halt not just to this movie but to all movies and to just about anything and everything you could think of that didn't involve staying home and staying safe. Over a year later and multiple release date changes, I have finally seen this highly anticipated entry into Marvel's series of comic book movies and I am now here to tell you that it was worth all the wait and all the fuss.

Scarlett Johansson is of course the star of the movie as the one and only Black Widow/Natasha Romanov although she brings along a cast of characters worthy of standing alongside her to fill out the roster of this feature film. First and foremost is Florence Pugh who plays Yelena Belova, Natasha's sister who has also gone through the Black Widow training program and has become one of the world's elite assassins. As she normally does, Pugh turns in an excellent performance and easily sets herself up to be a part of MCU stories moving forward, I think most likely joining Sam and Bucky in the next Captain America movie.

If I was to compare this film to other MCU entries, I would say it is closest to Captain America: The Winter Soldier in tone and style as a spy thriller within the comic book world but it also stands on it's own with its interesting mix of personalities. Speaking of which, we also get to meet Natasha's adopted parents played by Rachel Weisz and David Harbour who brings the classic Red Guardian Rissian superhero character to life as only he can. His boisterous personality plays well with Weisz as they are constantly going back and forth and playing off of each other's strengths.

The whole family dynamic that plays out in the movie is quite interesting and the filmmakers take great care on showing who Natasha is as a human being through her relationships all of which leads up to what we know will be the eventual conclusion to her story in Avengers: Endgame. The world's most dangerous spy has come a long way since her introduction in Iron Man 2 and it's been really fun to see how Johansson has evolved her character over the years. I also like how teaming Johansson up with Pugh gives them a few opportunities to poke fun at each other with one of the highlights being how Belova shows her disdain for Romanov's super hero action poses.

The whole movie is just a really fun time with lots of big action sequences although none of it ever goes off the charts crazy which is nice because we're not dealing with gods and sorcerers in this movie, it's more about highly trained and highly skilled human beings doing the best they can with their back against the wall to save the planet. I will also say that this story stands alone quite nicely while also fully being part of the MCU with nods to the past and preparations for the future all in place so no worries either way whether you are a die hard Marvel fan or dipping your toes into these deep waters for the very first time.

The Verdict:
Black Widow is a perfect way to flesh out the Natasha Romanov character while putting her front and center in the spotlight and also giving a worthy sendoff to one of Earth's mightiest heroes. 

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