Review: Black Widow

Despite only being half way through 2021, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has quite the year already but with WandaVision and lighting up Disney Plus, its easy to forget the Black Widow marks the first big screen outing for the MCU since Spider-Man: Far From Home two years ago.

Black Widow follows Natasha Romanoff shortly after the events of Captain America: Civil War and on the run from following her actions in that film. However, in true cinematic fashion it doesn’t take long for to get caught up in an adventure of her own and for the first time we really see Romanoff fight make her way in the world without her superpowered companions to back her up in what may be one of the most personal stories that we’ve seen in the MCU in quite some time.

The film itself does have some problems, in particular the fact that Taskmaster felt like the biggest disappointment in the MCU since Iron Man 2 and don’t get me started on Ray Winstone’s Russian accent… The pace of the film is also a little off with the first half feeling a little rushed in comparison to the second. There was also no real tension or concern for Natasha’s wellbeing in this film simply because we already know how her story ends in Avengers: Endgame.

However, what Black Widow does well is give some new context to Natasha’s backstory and her character’s origins. Until now, we’ve only been spoon fed bits and pieces over the course of a few films here and there but this delves deep into her character’s history and helps give new context to what we already know.

As you’d expect from a Marvel film at this point, the film is incredibly well cast with nobody really feeling out of place. Florence Pugh, who I’ve only seen once before, done an incredible job here and I’d really like to see a lot more from her character moving forward and the same goes for David Harbour as Red Guardian with the latter of the two feeling ripe for a his own show on Disney Plus.

I’ve seen a few comments about Black Widow being a film that should have been released years ago but I honestly think now is the perfect time for it especially if it really is the last time we see Scarlett Johansson suit up as Natasha Romanoff and to be honest I’m not particularly sure there would have really been enough interest in a Black Widow solo film had it not been for Avengers: Endgame. Interestingly though, despite being set about six years behind the current MCU timeline, the film does leave a few interesting plot threads dangling for later films and / or shows to pick up down the line as well.

Black Widow isn’t the best film Marvel has ever made but nor is it the worst. It does however feel like an entirely unnecessary entry into an already massive franchise and with everything else Marvel has on the slate for 2021, I’m not so sure they wouldn’t have been better releasing this film a year ago exclusively on Disney Plus.

by Edward Laing

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