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Black Widow ★★★



Director: Cate Shortland

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

Released: 7th of July (Cinemas) & 9th of July (Disney+ Premier Access)

When Natasha Romanoff entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2010, who knew what her fate would be? Regardless of what happened on Vormir in Avengers Endgame, she was one of the only original heroes not to get her own stand-alone film. Well, after many delays due to one virus of the corona variety Scarlett Johansson finally gets to flex her skills in her very own movie titled Black Widow (original, I know).

Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow (Johansson), confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.

Black Widow has been one of the shining lights of the MCU over the decade she has been a part of it. Her past has been scattered across the timeline, and the sheer mystery of Natasha is what makes her such a memorable character. While this is Scarlett Johansson’s lap of honour, it is quite a muddled one. As the film starts with a blistering rendition of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, everything seems settled. Still, Natasha’s initial journey here feels one dimensional, and the first thirty/forty minutes feel like filler to push it into a longer runtime. Yes, there are some great moments and chemistry between the cast, but that sheer mystique about Natasha seems missing.

As the narrative and the mission of revenge become clearer, Black Widow becomes a dynamic espionage-action film helmed explosively by Johansson and Florence Pugh. Cate Shortland has wonderfully grasped the film’s emotional weight, but it goes full inferno when the heat is on. When anyone deals with their past, it can ignite many difficult memories, and Natasha faces her demons with no remorse. It helps the emotional dynamics within her re-connected family and with herself.

The chemistry between Johansson and Pugh is quite memorable as they come to terms with their choices and the challenge ahead of them. I will add Pugh’s Russian accent can be pretty irritating at times. The family dynamic is quite an excellent addition to the MCU canon too. Rachel Weisz and David Harbour bring that parental humour to the mix and stand their ground in action. As they sit around a table and bicker like any family, it’s pretty amusing and that Marvel humour we all know flows through these scenes.

As the film ends, I ended up wanting more of the mystery that Natasha Romanoff has brought into this universe. The narrative needed more grit and ambience, but overall Black Widow is an entertaining spy-action film, but it takes a while to go full throttle. 

Lover of all things indie and foreign language. Can be found rambling on YouTube at times!

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