REVIEW: Black Widow, out now in theaters and Disney+, may not be what you expect
The release of Marvel’s Black Widow is a big moment for the movie industry this year, but it will leave many fans with a sense of disappointment.
Millions of Marvel fans are on the verge of returning to a theater for the first time since the start of social distancing. For the first time in over a year, a new Marvel film hits theaters this weekend with the release of Black Widow, which details the origins of Scarlett Johansson’s super spy, who earned her place among the world’s greatest superheroes in the Avengers films.
Fandango confirms that the release of Black Widow set a record in terms of ticket sales in 2021, surpassing Fast & Furious F9, which was released last month. So far, it is even surpassing films that were released in theaters prior to the pandemic, such as Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and Doctor Strange (2016).
Clearly, no one can deny the success that Black Widow will bring, as it has been a long time since Marvel’s last film, and this release is a moment of cinematic magic for all MCU fans. Early reactions to the film, which debuted overseas a week ago, were mixed. It is a somewhat anticlimactic film that falls somewhere near the tail end of Marvel’s cinematic oeuvre.
Black Widow is set between the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Avengers: Infinity War (2018). The film takes a long journey and attempts to avoid spoilers.
In this film, we learn about Natasha’s background. She has a family of sorts, which she hopes to rejoin in order to disrupt the KGB-like organization that is weaponizing orphans to become assassins and spies like herself. There is a whole army of young Russian female soldiers trained for special ops in the film, just like Natasha was before she switched allegiance to the US and became engulfed in super-heroics with the Avengers.
Natasha joins forces with fellow Widows Yelena (Florence Pugh) and Melina (Rachel Weisz), as well as Russian soldier Alexi, the Red Guardian (David Harbour) to destroy Gen. Dreykov’s (Ray Winstone) evil organization.
The three Widows and Red Guardian share a familial bond that serves as the heart and soul of the film, which is otherwise an action fest for the sake of action. Despite the fact that the Widow “family” is as dysfunctional and odd as one can imagine, the actors make it work. The sisterly bond between Johansson and Pugh shines, and Harbour is hilarious as the blowhard, over-the-hill super-soldier.
Winstone gives a menacing performance as Dreykov, particularly in a fight with Natasha, but the Taskmaster is reduced to little more than a mysterious henchman role, which is a shame.
As Marvel Cinematic Universe fans, we all know that Johansson’s character Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow makes the great sacrifice in Avengers: Infinity War to give her fellow heroes a chance to defeat Thanos. Knowing Natasha will make it through this adventure is a minor setback for the film. Though the outcome is never in doubt, the film is a very entertaining action film in the Marvel style.
The film appeals to me in particular, but after such a long wait for another Marvel film, Black Widow falls short of my expectations. When viewed objectively and not as a Marvel fan, the film lacks the essence of what makes MCU films great.
Knowing the tragic future that awaits Romanoff in Infinity War may be the source of the emotional drain that you will experience while watching the film. It has a good number of action scenes and is on par with many Marvel films in this regard, but nothing compares to the last three films. Without a doubt, it ranks higher than the second and third Iron Man films.
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