Title – Black Widow (2021)
Director – Cate Shortland (Somersault)
Cast – Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz, Ray Winstone
Plot – Avenger Natasha Romanoff (Johansson) deals with her traumatic past and dangerous present as she is reunited with ghosts from the past on her quest to rid the world of evil villain Dreykov (Winstone) while being on the run from Shield.
“I’m done running from my past”
Review by Eddie on 16/07/2021
In the grand scheme of things, the long time coming standalone Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow film doesn’t play any truly significant role in the extended Marvelverse/Avengers world, but as is now to be expected from the Marvel cinematic wheelhouse (and even more so at the moment TV space), Australian director Cate Shortland’s feature film is an above average summer event film that never becomes anything more than you’d expect as it fly’s along at a rollicking pace all the way towards another CGI-invested explosive finale.
Kicking things off in great fashion with a throwback to Natasha’s early life as part of a fake American white picket fence family (Nirvana cover songs included), Black Widow wastes little time getting stuck into the action as we join up with Scarlett Johansson’s Romanoff in between the events of Civil War and Infinity War as she becomes estranged from the Avengers team and on a life changing quest back to her home country where she rediscovers old family including sister Yelena, father Alexei and mother Melina.
These new additions to the Marvel world are played by scene stealer Florence Pugh (the first of now many planned gigs for her in this universe), Stranger Things favourite David Harbour (getting the films best laughs) and Rachel Weisz and all three performers are a key reason to Black Widow’s success and while Romanoff and Johansson get too do more of the same as we’ve seen multiple times before, Shortland and her creative team maximise the opportunity to add some extra flair and spice to proceedings with these new characters as Black Widow looks to stop Ray Winstone’s generic Russian baddie while dealing with deep seeded family issues at the same time.
Balancing a nice mix of thrills, spills and perhaps a little too much family frills, Black Widow does feel in many ways like a different type of Marvel film, more Bourne than talking raccoon’s and troublesome evil Grimace’s and the action and carnage here is mostly frenetic and in your face, more down and dirty than we’ve come to expect from Marvel previously in this side of their offerings and it helps give Shortland’s film a different energy than some of the more clean-cut comic book fair we’ve had over the last decade.
One thing that hasn’t changed however is yet another explosive riddled Marvel final act, one that not only outstays its welcome but fails to close out the film in a refined and satisfactory way and where the film worked so well in more singular moments and action that was smaller in scale (other than a prison break out that gets real very quickly), the finishing touch to Black Widow is but another procession of CGI showmanship that is technically of the highest order, but far from overly memorable or gripping. A shame considering the groundwork leading up to it.
Final Say –
The first Marvel film in many a moon is more of the same solid stuff from a company that has perfected its offering into a finely tuned machine, Black Widow isn’t necessary or groundbreaking but its a winner for comic book fans and those seeking quality made blockbuster entertainment.
3 1/2 mind controlled pigs out of 5