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‘Black Widow’ Is An Exciting Spy Thriller That Gives Natasha Romanoff Her Due – Review

If you were wondering what Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) was doing after the events of Captain America: Civil War and before the snap of Avengers: Infinity War, then look no further than the next entry into the MCU, Black Widow.

Black Widow
Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff and Florence Pugh as Yelena in Black Widow. (Courtesy of Marvel Studios)

Black Widow follows the former Red Room-trained assassin as she navigates life after the events of Civil War. Clearly, she did not think she could zap the King of Wakanda and simply get away with it, right? So currently, she is on the run and living off of the grid, save for some communication with a friend and some time aide, Rick Mason (O.T. Fagbenle). Natasha is seemingly settling into her new life but when you’re a super spy, assassin and Avenger, quickly learns that nothing is ever that simple. When a package arrives for her from her sister, Yelena (Florence Pugh), Natasha must take action in an attempt to save her family and help the other women who are still trapped in the Red Room.

To help Yelena and put a stop to the Red Room, Natasha must seek out the rest of her family, which includes, former Black Widow, Melina (Rachel Weisz), and Alexei a.k.a. Red Guardian (David Harbour). Their family reunion is definitely not met with hugs and kisses, but the quartet is quick to realize that they do indeed need one another if they are to complete this mission. Whether the unlikely family will be able to put aside their differences and rise to the occasion, well, you’ll just have to watch the movie and find out for yourself.

Florence Pugh as Yelena in Black Widow. (Courtesy of Marvel Studios)

Directed by Cate Shortland, Black Widow is a movie that many fans have been waiting for. Although this film comes to theatres and our homes in 2021, there is no escaping the fact that Natasha Romanoff should have had a solo film years ago. While it still lingered with me that by this time Black Widow could have had her own movie trilogy, I attempted to not let this bog down my thoughts throughout watching the film and even now as I write this review. That being said, Black Widow is a film that I enjoyed much more than I thought I would. Not only was the directing by Shortland superb, but we get the most out of all the characters that we see on-screen.

No one will likely argue that Black Widow’s gotten the short end of the stick for the larger part of the Avengers franchise, but in Black Widow it is great to see Natasha stand on her own. She is formidable, cunning, loyal and deadly. Finally, we’re able to see more of what the former assassin learned in the Red Room – even if all that she learned and all that she was forced to do still haunts her to this day. Johansson is finally able to fully step into Natasha Romanoff and it’s the best we’ve seen from Johansson as the character since Captain America: The Winter Soldier. In addition to viewers being able to see Natasha come into her own, they will also see her interact with characters outside of the superhero spectrum, and these make for some of the film’s best moments.

Newcomers to the MCU, Pugh, Weisz and Harbour all make huge impacts on-screen, and give noteworthy performances as their respective characters. If you weren’t a fan of this trio of actors before (and I would be surprised if you weren’t), their time in Black Widow might make you change your mind. They are great whenever they stand alone and even better when they feed off of one another’s energy. It was a delight to see and you could just tell that they were all having so much fun.

Rachel Weisz as Melina in Black Widow. (Courtesy of Marvel Studios)

In addition to the wonderful cast, the action sequences throughout the film were some of the best in the MCU thus far. The fight choreography was brilliantly done and the John Wick-esque hand-to-hand combat scenes will easily remind viewers of what they were missing (and should have been getting) as it pertains to Black Widow and what she can do, and is known for. Not only do you get to see Natasha at work, but you get to see the same from Yelena, Melina and the Widows who are still part of the Red Room. Each one of these women gets their moment to shine in the film and it seemed so much more organic than that very brief A-Force moment that happened in Avengers: Endgame – especially since it happened without the only woman Avenger. Thankfully in Black Widow, we get to see these women at their best and perhaps even at their worst, and it all comes together excitingly.

Now, while I did enjoy the movie better than I expected to, something tells me that it will be divisive. I say this because we finally got to see Black Widow how we should have seen her for years, but does that matter when her character yeeted herself off the cliff on Vormir and we likely won’t see her again? In addition to that, there are some elements of the film that fall into tropes we regularly see on-screen both in comic book movies and outside of them. There was a certain comic book film that I couldn’t help but think about during various points of Black Widow, specifically the third act, and I wonder if anyone else will see the similarities. Now, I wouldn’t say that these elements ruin the movie-watching experience, but it would have been nice to leave out some of these moments.

Black Widow is a thoroughly entertaining flick that is likely to please audiences with its action, wittiness, and great characters. It is very much a spy thriller and different from the other movies we’ve received from the MCU thus far. As a standalone prequel, it does its job and serves as both a great ode and goodbye to the one and only, Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow. 

Rating: 8/10

Black Widow hits theatres on July 9th and will stream simultaneously on Disney+ with Premier Access.

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