Black Widow review
Finally, the MCU is back on the big screen.
Black Widow has finally been released and it has brought the MCU back in the big screen. This movie was supposed to release last year, but due to the pandemic it was continously postponed until right now.
I will be on the majority's opinion and claim that this film should have been released way earlier. I will explain why. First let's begin with the basics.
The film is directed by Cate Shortland (Somersault, Lore, and Berlin Syndrome) and stars (ofcourse) Scrallet Johansson, Florence Pugh (Midsommar) and David Harbour (Stranger Things). The film is centered after the events of Civil War and follows Black Widow while on the run from Thunderbolt Ross for her betrayal.
The movie begins with a glimpse at Romanova's past when she was still a kid and apparently she had a family. She has a sister and two loving parents who are quickly revealed to be undercover agents. We see a preview of our villain and then we travel to present time.
We see Widow outsmarting General Ross and his goons and escaping to Norway in which she tries to live a normal life. However, her path to a quiet life soon comes upside down when she is attacked by Taskmaster, a mysterious assasin who incorporates fighting styles from familiar faces. This forces her to connect with her old family to battle the Red Room (top-secret Soviet brainwashing and training program) that threatens the world.
Now that we have gotten this out of the way let's see if Black Widow brings back some of the Marvel Legacy or not. Let's begin with some of the pros.
+Scarlett Johansson's portrayal
Scarlett nails her role one more time, showing why she is one of the most busy women in Hollywood. We may have said goodbye to her character in Endgame but with her stand-alone movie we get a bittersweet feeling of her brief return in which we finally explore her character a bit more. I have been wanting to see some depth into this character ever since the first Avengers movie aired back in 2012. Johansson is simply the Black Widow and we have to be thankful for her since she was a primary member of the strong rise of the MCU.
We all know why we come back to the cinemas to watch Marvel movies. The action. And trust me, there is plenty of fashionable action. The movie is amazingly chereographed and delivers some good old Marvel action with plenty of explosions, powerful hand-to-hand fights and painful reprecussions. The final battle will surely impress you since noone does CGI-fests like Marvel. The prison break was also an astounding watch, especially if you do it in a big screen.
The chemistry between Black Widow with her old family is an exceptional one. Especially the back and fourth banter with her foster sister Yelena Belova, whom they share a common path of suffering and brainwashing. Harbour's Red Guardian is also a fun addition to the Universe since while he is simoultaneously shown as brutal, is given some emotional depth through the relationship with his foster children. The kitchen scene will be one of the most memorable from the movie aside from the action scenes since you see how this obscure family can show signs of a normal one.
"Natasha don't slouch"
+White Widow's character
Florence Pugh nails this role as the sarcastic younger sister of Natasha. As mentioned their chemistry is real-life which makes the illusion of fake sisters more realistic. The core of the movie is based on this character since she is certain to come later into the future of the cinematic universe (as shown in the post-credit scene. Seriously don't be a dick, stay and watch it).
-Taskmaster and the villain:
The movie had fans hyped when they showed Taskmaster in the trailers.
Let me just say this, The Taskmaster is one of the fan favourite comicbook villains including myself. However, they completely butchered him in the movie. Taskmaster is supposed to be a deadly assassin who is able to physically mimic his opponents with deadly precision (something that was attempted in the movie) AND is able to go hand in hand with heroes like Spiderman and The Avengers through his photographic memory, enhanced strength and speed gained by an injection of a modificated steroid (comic book logic huh?).
I get that the MCU is not supposed to be the same universe as the comics. I get it. I comletely comprehend it. And I do not mind any altercations of a character, but turning a fan-favourite villain into some brain-dead goon who completely lacks any personal motivations is just plain lazy writing. I do not get how they let one of the best villain's go to waste. In my opinion, Taskmaster's reveal makes the Mandarin's reveal from Iron Man 3 look like Citizen Kane type of writing.
Taskmaster's potrayal is simply the biggest flaw of the movie. Sorry fellow comicbook fans, this is not it.
The other villain (who I honestly do cannot remember his name to save my life) is just a plain, vanilla villain who wants to control the world through kidnapping children and training them to be his trained assassins. Big-whoopty-whoo. The backstory with his daughter did not save any grace from this plain boring villain.
Marvel is notoriously known for breaking emotional moments with simple jokes. It's not that I do not enjoy them. However, when you have a man spilling his emotional guts through a monologue, do not break the tension with throwaway jokes. They ruin plenty of moments where emotional tensions are risen that showcase that Marvel will not be ready to go serious until the next "Endgame".
As mentioned, the stakes of the movie are not very high. You will not feel stress or anxious about any of your characters. Especially since the movie follows a prequel form, since we all know what has happened to Black Widow's character. Moreover, Marvel follows a safe route with the movie's structure and does not endager the characters during the movie.
Black Widow's standalone film feels like one of the early origin stories that we have had during the 2008-2011 era of MCU. They are fun to watch, they contain a lot of action, there is nothing confusing about it, and it kicks ass. However, treating a fan favourite villain like trash damages the plot and the reception of long standing fans. The jokes are also a hit or miss situation just like in the majority of Disney Films. Black Widow is simply a laid-back watch where you can enjoy it alone or with company but you have to set your expectations. Do not expect to be emotionally invested into the characters as we have been with Endgame and Infinity War.
Nevertheless, if you are a hardcore fan of Marvel, you will feel some of the bittersweetness of seeing Black Widow's character one more (final?) time.