HomeMovies'Black Widow' Review: A Fun Action Film, But This Character Deserved Better

‘Black Widow’ Review: A Fun Action Film, But This Character Deserved Better

Black Widow
Photo Courtesy of Marvel Studios

The time has come. After two long years we finally get to see the movie we all feel this heroine has deserved for at least a decade.

But was it worth it?

The short and simple answer is….well, kind of. As this is Marvel, however, it’s just more complicated than that.

Black Widow (played by the ever stoic Scarlett Johnasson) is a character that we have known and loved since Iron Man 2. While Iron Man 2 left a lot to be desired, ranking in as one of the weakest MCU movies to date, Johnansson made her mark as Natasha Romanoff.

Fans have been clamoring for a dedicated story about her and her backstory since she “hero posed” on the big screen. Yet, the issue here is time. We have been waiting a long time for the Black Widow movie, a film that is rightfully earned for this character. However, as we waited for the film (originally scheduled for a May 2020 release) hope and anticipation grew bigger and bigger.

Black Widow is by all intentions a good standalone film. It gives a backstory to a jaded and important character that we have known since 2012. MCU fans may think they know Black Widow because of references to Budapest and the redemption arc she’s on due to her shady past. But you only know the vague answers.

The film attempts to answer some of these questions, giving us a nice story on Budapest, her family life, and Natasha’s time in the Red Room that she referenced in Age of Ultron. But even this movie keeps the answers vague and the action a little too heavy.

Natasha is known for her fighting skills and ultimate spy attitude, but she always keeps other characters as well as the audience, at arm’s length. This movie, unfortunately, is no different. By no means is this a bad movie, it’s actually a very fun summer flick and a pretty good superhero/Marvel movie. But, she deserved more. We have been waiting a very long time for a standalone Black Widow film — even longer due to COVID — but this film felt too heavy on the action and slow-motion scenes, and less on the emotional substance/answers we have been craving for.

The film has many strong points particularly Florence Pugh being an easy standout and a fun addition to the MCU as Yelena Belova. Pugh gives the emotional punch the movie needed more of as she lets the audience know and feel her pain from her time as a Widow. This is something unfortunately missing from Natasha’s character and Scarlett Johansson’s performance.

Another highlight is the ever-charming David Harbour as Alexei aka The Red Guardian. His talks of the glory days and his rivalry with Captain America is great comedic relief. Pugh and Harbour two truly elevate the film, but that’s not what we came for. We came for a powerful and moving Black Widow story, but in the end we got an action movie with a few tidbits of information that we could have guessed from past movies.

The movie is great as an action film. The fight scenes are executed well, the performances are top notch, and it’s a fun ride to return to the movies with. But as a Marvel movie, it’s just okay and as the first Black Widow solo movie, it’s mediocre at best.

Some may disagree with this assessment, but know this judgment is not made lightly. As a fan, I have been waiting ever so patiently for a Black Widow solo movie, one that she should have gotten a long time ago. But like her fate in Endgame, and in the MCU in general, she just deserved better.

Black Widow is currently in theaters and streaming on Disney+ with Premier Access.

Laura Dengrove
Laura Dengrove
Hello! My name is Laura Dengrove. I am currently a Junior at Rutgers University, double majoring in Journalism/Media Studies and Cinema Studies. I am a film critic and interviewer by choice, professional Linda Belcher impersonator by birth.

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