By: Amanda Guarragi
Our beloved Natasha Romanoff, the one woman that was a part of the original six, and came in like a firecracker in Iron Man 2 finally has her standalone film. The wait for Black Widow was long, and no, it wasn’t because of the pandemic. After being in the MCU for 11 years, Scarlett Johansson deserved her standalone. It should have come after her debut, or even placed her right after Civil War (as the timeline intended) but Kevin Feige has a way of making everything work. Even though the placement is odd and did not really work for me, seeing her in her own film made me incredibly happy. Director Cate Shortland took what she knew about Natasha/Black Widow and really presented her in a way we haven’t seen her before.
It wouldn’t have been a true Black Widow movie without the hand-to-hand combat and brilliant fight choreography. You felt every hit because the sound design made it crisp. The score also worked well during fight scenes but not enough to make it stand-out like some other original pieces. These fight scenes are on par with those in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and that is why I loved those scenes, especially when Romanoff was fighting. The main issue with Black Widow is that this does not feel like her movie. Majority was a set up for Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova. I’m not complaining because I adore her, but it still didn’t sit right with me. It felt like Johansson was sidelined in her own film, it was supposed to be her moment.
We do get to see how Natasha started out and how connected she was to Yelena. We are introduced to this dysfunctional family unit, as Melina (Rachel Weisz) and Alexei (David Harbour) are on assignment. The placement for Black Widow does make sense because the film explores Romanoff’s struggle with the idea of family. On this journey we see how much love she has for those around her. This movie added so much depth to her character and it is the development she needed in order for her to come full circle. The entire cast gave very strong performances, especially Florence Pugh, I also need to give David Harbour credit because his comedic timing was spot on.
My number one issue with Black Widow is the use of Taskmaster. When you first see the costume and see him in action, it’s absolutely wicked. Taskmaster is one of the best Marvel villains and when he was introduced in the trailer, I was beyond excited. His character being able to mimic, and go toe-to-toe with anyone in the MCU, was something I was looking forward to. But sadly, like most Marvel villains, he was underused. There was so much more they could have done with him and it was just underwhelming. There were strong action scenes, but there were also weak ones towards the end, that the poor CGI really took me out of the film.
Black Widow is your typical MCU film but the fight choreography is what puts it above majority of them. The banter between Natasha and Yelena was perfect. Their chemistry was electric and you could genuinely feel the love between them. It’s interesting because towards the end of Natasha’s arc, she became the heart of the team. She has changed the most out of all of them and we really see that in this film. Again, I have to praise Cate Shortland for giving us an action-packed film, with so much heart, key emotional moments, spurts of humour, and a post-credit scene that will knock your socks off.
Make sure to catch Black Widow in theatres or on Disney Plus Premier Access July 9th!