After many delays, Disney finally released Black Widow.
The latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it follows the events of Captain America: Civil War as Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff works to dismantle the Red Room, the program that turned her into Black Widow, as well as its leader General Dreykov.
When I went into this movie, I didn’t exactly have high expectations. I didn’t expect another Infinity War, but I wanted a fun action-adventure movie. When I finished Black Widow, I found it underwhelming.
Here is your partial spoiler warning. Proceed at your own risk.
The main issue with this movie is that Black Widow isn’t the most interesting character to make a solo movie about. Don’t get me wrong, I think Scarlett has done a great job with the character and it was fun seeing her grow into the role as these movies went on, but Black Widow always does well when she has other characters to work off of.
She spends most of the movie with her adoptive sister Yelena (portrayed by Florence Pugh). The scenes where they play off of each other are great. But when Yelena isn’t around, Natasha defaults to “generic badass woman” and that’s gotten old.
This movie can also get really boring. It goes back and forth between action set piece and wordy exposition for almost the entire runtime. I could maybe forgive this if these action scenes were actually interesting, but they’re just the same dumb action that we’ve been getting for the last 10 years.
There’s a part about mid-way into the movie where Natasha and Yelena confront their “parents” about everything they went through, and this entire sequence is really moving and interesting. But then we get another standard action sequence with the Widows invading the house they’re in.
My last gripe with this movie was the villains. Phase 3 of the MCU had amazing villains, and now we’ve reverted back to “weird pervy old dude” and his quiet bodyguard. I was especially disappointed by Taskmaster. I won’t give too much away, but just know that if you’re a comic book fan, you may get upset with how they handle this character.
Despite all this, the movie does have some good points.
The actors in this movie are all great. This is easily Scarlett’s best performance as Natasha besides Endgame. She really sells Natasha as a lost, confused character who is struggling to figure out what to do after the events of Civil War. The movie has an overarching theme of the importance of family, and Natasha learning to realize just how important the Avengers have become as her surrogate family really makes her sacrifice in Endgame hit different.
David Harbour’s and Rachel Weisz’s characters Alexei and Melina are also very compelling. They both play a role in Natasha and Yelena’s trauma during their time as Widows, but neither of them genuinely thinks they did anything wrong. This leads to some interesting moments.
Without a doubt, the best part of this movie was the introduction of Yelena into the MCU.
She has the same skill set as Natasha, but the way Florence portrays her gives her an energy that Scarlett didn’t have in her earlier outings as Natasha. She does a great job of portraying Yelena as a confused girl who is trying to find her place in the world now that she’s free of Dreykov. She’s one of the few characters that kept me invested in the story.
This movie feels more like Yelena’s origin story than anything else. If you watch it with that frame of mind, it makes the movie much better.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I give Black Widow a 5. It’s definitely not the worst Marvel movie we’ve gotten, but it’s nowhere near the best. It’s just painfully average.
This feels like a movie that came out way too late. If this movie had come out after Civil War, then I think it would’ve had the potential to do a lot better. But any potential it has just feels wasted, which sucks considering this is Scarlett’s last outing as Natasha.
Thank you, Scarlett, for giving us such an iconic role for the past 10 years. I’m sorry you couldn’t have gone out on a higher note with Black Widow.
Featured Photo via Disney+ Black Widow Moview