MOVIE THEATER REVIEW: “Black Widow” stars Scarlett Johansson (Jojo Rabbit, Marriage Story ), Florence Pugh (The Commuter, Midsommar), David Harbour (Stranger Things [TV series], Revolutionary Road), Rachel Weisz (Oz the Great and Powerful, The Bourne Legacy), Ray Winstone (The Departed , Cold Mountain), O-T Fagbenle (The Handmaid’s Tale [TV series], Maxxx [TV series]), Ever Anderson (Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, Peter Pan & Wendy), Violet McGraw (The Haunting of Hill House [TV mini-series], Doctor Sleep), and William Hurt (A History of Violence, Broadcast News). It is directed by Cate Shortland (Lore, Berlin Syndrome), and written by Eric Pearson (Thor: Ragnarok, Godzilla vs. Kong), Jac Schaeffer (Timer, The Hustle), and Ned Benson (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them, The Westerner [Short]).
After the events of Captain America: Civil War, Natasha Romanoff (Johansson) goes into hiding, only to resurface when she learns that the leader of the Black Widow organization is still alive and brainwashing innocent young women to carry out his plans.
You know we’re getting closer to normalcy when Disney decides to drop a Marvel movie in theaters. Little did I know that the night my friend and I spontaneously chose to watch “Black Widow,” it was actually its opening day. Of course, this review has been posted quite a bit later… but I’ve been busy.
It’s fair to say that I had absolutely zero expectations for this feature. Once “Endgame” came and went, I was burnt out from superhero flicks; they’ve had their run for me, but now I’m ready to hang up the hat on them. Sure, there’s interesting elements that “Black Widow” presents. It’s her first solo outing (post death? Odd timing) and the cast looked like a good ensemble. Truthfully, I wanted to know more about this character’s backstory whenever we were shown glimpses of it in “Age of Ultron,” but that desire has come and gone.
Now we’re here. The movie’s finally released. And I gotta say… I was surprised. This one is actually pretty good, crafting a more action/adventure tale with a dark underbelly. It’s not your usual suit and tights caper; this one is more of an espionage thrill ride that paints a dysfunctional “family” picture. One that lends to often humorous and likable moments.
While my emotional attachment to this character has passed, Black Widow’s story is a refreshing one, with a tie into child trafficking and a contained tale to keep me engaged. There’s not much to lead into another feature (besides the post credit scene), so it was nice to watch this as a one-off. It’s a complete story with enough to give Black Widow closure as a character. Could we have done without it? Sure. But I’m glad we received it nonetheless. The writers don’t waste our time, enforcing funny dialogue that carves out memorable figures in Natasha’s clan. There’s a sense of fun (as usual with most Marvel flicks), but there’s a hearty balance with the serious as well. And with this movie (and franchise it’s attached to), it’s not like I’m looking for much; at the end of the day, I just want an entertaining experience, which I received.
The performances and action sequences are the highlights of this feature. I loved the ensemble, with new additions Florence Pugh, David Harbour, and Rachel Weiz doing solid jobs. Their chemistry worked wonderfully, and eased into Natasha’s life well. Scarlett Johansson of course kills it still; to this day she’s still flipping, punching, and kicking her way through stories (well, her stuntwoman, but you know what I mean). The filming of these fight sequences was awesome, with shots lasting longer than usual to allow the performers to kick each other’s butts within the frame. It’s their strength of this movie, and I certainly felt more of the punches than usual.
As this film wrapped out, a weird feeling was brought on. The fact that this was released after “Endgame” is an odd move. If this were to come out before “Endgame,” I surely would have been more invested into Natasha as a character going into her final act. But, I can’t blame this film for that. If anything, I’ll say that watching this movie now is something interesting. As I’ve stated, I’m not as committed to this franchise as I once was, and I’ll admit that there were moments of this feature that didn’t hit with me as hard as they should’ve, solely for that reason. But, that’s not to discredit this for absolutely exceeding expectations. The filmmakers did a terrific job crafting an entertaining, loving story that at least gives you some things different. At the end of the day, I enjoyed it, and if you’re looking for something to watch at the theater, this one is a solid option. FINAL SCORE: 84%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: