Director: Cate Shortland
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Ray Winstone and Rachel Weisz
It’s been a strange that for the better part of 2 years we have been seeing Black Widow promotions and trailers both online and at the cinema. That’s over now and so is the longest gap between films since the MCU began back in 2008. Black Widow is finally here. Does it live up to the hype and expectations? Mostly. It’s a Marvel film and if you’ve liked the ones so far, then chances are you’ll like this one too. It looks great with polished effects and well-choreographed action sequences.
Part origin story and part sequel to Civil War, with Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson, Jojo Rabbit) on the run. The film starts with an extended flashback showing Natasha as a child in Ohio with her spy family. It then jumps to moments after the ending of Civil War and that’s where the bulk of the story is set. The plot is nothing special or exactly ground-breaking. It sticks to the Marvel formula and like most of the films in the series so far is enjoyable to watch and entertaining, but this isn’t something that’s going to stay with you for long after the credits roll.
It’s nice to have a smaller scale entry to the MCU. It’s not the end of the world at stake, but the lives of a group of brainwashed assassins. The stakes feel really low, especially as we know that Black Widow survives the events to appear in Infinity War and Endgame. By having smaller stakes it gives the family dynamic between Natasha and her pretend sister, Yelena (Florence Pugh, Midsommar) and parents (Rachel Weisz, The Mummy & David Harbour, Stranger Things). The best part of this film is when the 4 of them are on screen together. The reunion family sequence is the closest this gets to being more than just action-adventure and actually has some emotional wright to it.
For the most part this is an all out action film. Once the action starts it doesn’t really slow down, except for the family reunion. It’s pretty relentless and keeps the pace moving nicely. Even though this is over 2 hours long, I was surprised when the end came around. It’s exciting and entertaining, what more could you want from a Marvel film. It does feel very formulaic at the beginning, but once it gets going the humour starts to shine through and the way Johansson and Pugh bounce off each other is really funny. However there are a few lines that are trying to be jokes, but don’t land well and it can be distracting at times, but not by much.
And in case anyone was wondering, there is a post-credit scene. It’s not worth staying for though. It seems to mostly be setting up the Hawkeye Disney Plus Series that is on the way. If you don’t want to wait through nearly 10 minutes of credits, and don’t mind being the pariah leaving the busy screening, then catch it later online or Disney Plus.
I also saw this in 4DX, which I would recommend greatly for most big budget action blockbusters, but not this one. It’s just too much and distracting from the film. There are moments, like when it snows and a helicopter is going down where it’s really immersive, but being thrown around every moment for 2 hours isn’t as fun as it sounds.
If you’ve liked the Marvel films so far, then this one will be for you. If you’ve somehow missed the series, then there isn’t much you need to know before going into this one. It’s self-contained and enjoyable enough. It’s bizarre that it’s taken this long for Black Widow to get her own film. It should have happened a long time ago, and finally that’s been put right.