Friday, July 9, 2021

Black Widow Review: An Explosive Origin Story For An Avenger Favorite

Scarlett Johansson	...	Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow Florence Pugh	Florence Pugh	...	Yelena Belova Rachel Weisz	Rachel Weisz	...	Melina David Harbour	David Harbour	...	Alexei Ray Winstone	Ray Winstone	...	Dreykov Ever Anderson	Ever Anderson	...	Young Natasha Violet McGraw	Violet McGraw	...	Young Yelena O-T Fagbenle	O-T Fagbenle	...	Mason William Hurt	William Hurt	...	Secretary Ross Ryan Kiera Armstrong	Ryan Kiera Armstrong	...	Young Antonia Liani Samuel	Liani Samuel	...	Lerato Michelle Lee	Michelle Lee	...	Oksana Lewis Young	Lewis Young	...	Scientist Morocco 1 C.C. Smiff	C.C. Smiff	...	Scientist Morocco 2 (as CC Smiff) Nanna Blondell	Nanna Blondell	...	Ingrid Simona Zivkovska	Simona Zivkovska	...	Widow Erin Jameson	Erin Jameson	...	Widow

Release date: July 9, 2021
Running time: 133 minutes
Director: Cate Shortland
Writers: Eric Pearson (screenplay by), Jac Schaeffer (story by), Ned Benson (story by)
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz, Violet McGraw, O-T Fagbenle, William Hurt, Ray Winstone

A film about Natasha Romanoff in her quests between the films Civil War and Infinity War.

Black Widow is a bridging movie; one that fills in some story for the iconic character between two major plot threads, and also one that delves a little into her own backstory and how she became the superhero she is.  The film starts with a great Americana feeling, as Natasha Romanov and her "family" are growing up in Ohio as your typical Midwest family.  There is a great setup as this family is living what you think would be the American dream complete with a beautiful house, meat and corn dinner, and some classic American music.  But that is all torn down when the family have to return to Russia after the successful completion of their mission.  But to Natasha and her sister Yelena, this was their childhood.

Shaina West	...	Widow Yolanda Lynes	Yolanda Lynes	...	Widow Claudia Heinz	Claudia Heinz	...	Widow Fatou Bah	Fatou Bah	...	Widow Jade Ma	Jade Ma	...	Widow Jade Xu	Jade Xu	...	Widow Lucy Jayne Murray	Lucy Jayne Murray	...	Widow Lucy Cork	Lucy Cork	...	Widow Eniko Fulop	Eniko Fulop	...	Widow Lauren Okadigbo	Lauren Okadigbo	...	Widow Agel Aurélia	Agel Aurélia	...	Widow Zhane Samuels	Zhane Samuels	...	Widow Shawarah Battles	Shawarah Battles	...	Widow Tabby Bond	Tabby Bond	...	Widow Madeleine Nicholls	Madeleine Nicholls	...	Widow Yasmin Riley	Yasmin Riley	...	Widow Fiona Griffiths	Fiona Griffiths	...	Widow Georgia Curtis	Georgia Curtis	...	Widow
Black Widow feels a lot like a movie that doesn't need to have been made, but it is entertaining nonetheless.  The film features some more obscure characters from Marvel's catalogue, including Widow's sister and the Red Guardian, Russia's version of Captain America.  The highlight was David Harbour as the Red Guardian, who really pulls off the stereotypical Russian analogue to Captain America.  He had such a great comedic sense about his character and added plenty of levity with his observations and rants.  He was the perfect Russian stereotype, but a rebellious, funny version of this all.  He had some great one liners and a wonderful sense of his past glory, the perfect foil to his nemesis, Captain America.  And Yelena is also a fun character, who is every bit the equal of Black Widow (though Pugh definitely has a questionable accent in this one).  There is a lot of funny back and forth at the start between the long separated sisters, and the whole family dynamic of this group drives a lot of the story and heart.  And Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff (the "mother" in this family) was a welcome treat as she provided the glue that held this family together.

However, although Black Widow is an over the top summer action film to complement the Marvel line, it doesn't feel like it advances it much.  It fills in some backstory for the characters and very briefly starts another story thread, but overall it just feels like a movie that didn't have to be made.  I enjoyed these characters and the story, but it doesn't seem to enhance the cinematic universe that much.  When people are clamoring for the next movie in Marvel's 4th Phase, this just doesn't scratch that itch.  And although the film has some good fighting and choreography, it has a disturbing amount of CG.  Although Marvel movies are generally known for very good CG, this was over the top and explosive, but often times clearly computer generated.  Some characters did not move correctly and some very insane actions are done with ease.  I'm fine with some Marvel movie magic, but this just didn't feel like it hit the same level.  

Black Widow is an entertaining and funny Marvel movie that gives some background to one of the most popular Avengers while also providing an explosive summer blockbuster.

Rent it.

Svetlana Constantine	...	Widow Ione Butler	Ione Butler	...	Widow Aubrey Cleland	Aubrey Cleland	...	Widow Kurt Yue	Kurt Yue	...	Ross Lieutenant Doug Robson	Doug Robson	...	Ohio Agent Zoltan Nagy	Zoltan Nagy	...	Budapest Clerk Marcel Dorian	Marcel Dorian	...	Man in BMW Liran Nathan	Liran Nathan	...	Mechanic Judit Varga-Szathmary	Judit Varga-Szathmary	...	Mechanic's Wife Noel Krisztian Kozak	Noel Krisztian Kozak	...	Mechanic's Child Martin Razpopov	Martin Razpopov	...	Tattoo Gulag Inmate Olivier Richters	Olivier Richters	...	Ursa Dalibor Bajunovic	Dalibor Bajunovic	...	Gulag Inmate Andrew Byron	Andrew Byron	...	Cookie Gulag Guard Ed Ashe	Ed Ashe	...	Strudel Gulag Guard Dawid Szatarski	Dawid Szatarski	...	Red Room Scientist 1 Cali Nelle	Cali Nelle	...	Red Room Scientist 2 Geoffrey D. Williams	Geoffrey D. Williams	...	Ross Agent
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Black Widow is in theaters on July 9, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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