Directed by : Cate Shortland
Written by : Eric Pearson (Screenplay), Jac Schaefer & Ned Benson (Story)
Starring : Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz, O-T Fagbenle, with William Hurt and Ray Winstone.
It’s been two years since we all sat together in a theater with a tub of salted cholesterol for a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. After fulfilling a supporting role for 10 years — the titular master assassin herself Natasha Romanoff finally gets her own movie to shine in.
Was the 10 year wait worth it? Let’s see…
Directed by Cate Shortland from Lore fame, and written by Eric Pearson, Black Widow takes place immediately after the infamous airport battle that took place in Civil War. Natasha Romanoff is on the run from Thunderbolt Ross and has to come to terms with her checkered past as she meets with her former family (Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, and David Harbour).
What makes Black Widow unique is that, despite the fact that audiences have been clamoring for her solo movie — Black Widow does not capitalize on that very fact — the entire film feels like it was released in 2016 — as a true follow up to Civil War, with very little nods to the future nor the past. A byproduct of this choice is that the film inherits the gritty spy-thriller tone that was present in Civil War – albeit more Bourne Ultimatum than Three Days of Condor.
The heart of this movie is the relationship between Natasha and her family, Florence Pugh provides a spunky and charismatic performance as Yelena – Natasha’s sister, while Rachel Weisz and David Harbour plays a quirky yet deadly duo, with Harbour mostly filling out the duties of comic relief. The sister dynamics between Johansson and Pugh were specifically a joy-to-watch. Shortland’s action-directing was also on point – all the fights had a visceral sense without feeling over-choreographed.
Where this movie falters however, is the villain. Taskmaster and the forces behind them had the good components of a good antagonist, but this movie feels more like a stepping-off point for these characters to flourish in a future installment — not so much here.
Villain-deficiencies aside, while Black Widow was never made with the intention be groundbreaking – it is more than worthy as a solo outing for Natasha Romanoff.
Black Widow is now available in theaters and Disney+ with Premier access.