Black Widow is the Marvel Studios film that we should have had years ago and now that it is finally out, was it worth the wait? I would say ‘yes’.
Anyone that knows me, knows how much of a huge Marvel Cinematic Universe fan I am. Some may even call me an MCU tragic. And with the ‘Infinity Saga’ coming to a definitive close with Avengers: End Game, I was surprised to hear of a film for a character that, *spoiler alert*, no longer exists. Black Widow sacrificed herself for the Soul Stone and was set to never return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I was unsure how the Black Widow film would fit into this storyline. Upon watching, it became very clear that Black Widow had been on the cards for a long time. This film takes place on the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline directly after the events of Captain America: Civil War and should have been produced and released around that time.
So, what is Black Widow? Well, after discovering her sister Yelena (Florence Pugh) is alive and on the run from the institution that created the both of them, they band together to take down “he Red Room and the leader behind it all, Dreykov (Ray Winstone). However, they cannot go at it alone, so they enlist the help of their father, Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour) also known as the Soviet Union’s own super soldier Red Guardian, and their mother, Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz).
The absolute stand out from this film would have to be Florence Pugh’s portrayal of Yelena Belova. Pugh slots into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with ease and pulls off the little annoying sister role perfectly. Yelena is a badass and Pugh knows it, but she doesn’t let that get in the way of her having fun with the role. This is clear with how effortless the relationship with Johansson appears. Pugh’s brilliance is only enhanced when you add in Rachel Weisz and David Harbour as mother and father figures of the sister pair. The four create a wonderful family dynamic that a lot of viewers will identify with and relate to on a personal level. It is these scenes that give Black Widow much more depth than it being just another action film. Don’t get me wrong though, there is a hell of a lot of action. From the large-scale battles with brilliant CG to the excellent choreographed fight sequences, Black Widow definitely cuts it as a comic book action film.
I was pleased however to see the introduction of a new villain to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Taskmaster. A foe that possesses photographic reflexes that allows them to mimic the fighting style of their opponent makes Taskmaster a perfect advisory for the fighting prowess of Black Widow. Previously, I had only seen the character of Taskmaster in the Spider-Man PS4 game, and I was excited to see the character brought to life on the big screen. I was not disappointed at all. The character design and boss-like body language are fantastic and exactly what I was hoping for.
Overall, Black Widow is a fun action-packed film with a deep underlying back story that has cleverly placed moments of comedy and some self-awareness thrown in for good measure. Like most films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is a recipe for success, and it works really well with this film. The story of Black Widow provides fantastic insight into the character and how she became to be the Avenger that she is today.
I couldn’t help but find myself a little disappointed that it took so long to release this story to the world. Given what happens to the character in End Game, it is disappointing that the character didn’t get her own scored theme song (they just kept playing the Avengers theme song over and over). It is also immensely disappointing that this is Scarlet Johansson’s last hurrah as Black Widow. I honestly feel she has so much more in the tank that will never see the light of day. If I ever find myself doing one of my many MCU Marathons, I will be placing Black Widow somewhere after Civil War and before Infinity War.
Black Widow is out now in cinemas and available on Disney+ Premier Access.