A film about Natasha Romanoff in her quests between the films Civil War and Infinity War.
It’s been almost 2 years since ‘Spider-Man: Far from Home’ was released into cinemas, making this the longest gap in Marvel movies since ‘Iron Man’ was released way back in 2008. We all know the reasons for that, however I’m glad to say they’ve made their return with ‘Black Widow’, a movie that recaptured what I like about these movies after a series of ever expanding universes, multiverses and crossovers. That’s because this is a movie that gets back to the basics with a smaller focus on one main character instead of multiple, and it’s made me realise that I much prefer the Marvel movies such as this without all the bombast and that overstuffed feeling that I’d been getting from the constant build up to ‘Infinity War’ and ‘Endgame‘.
The focus of ‘Black Widow’ is one of the most underserved of the ensemble in Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff, the feisty Avenger who up until now has only played a supporting role in other characters stories. This takes place prior to ‘Infinity War’ in the period after ‘Civil War’ (for Marvel timeline fans!) and centres on Romanoff reconnecting with her family whilst attempting to take down a villain she thought long dead. Johansson has long been one of the best performers in the MCU and she’s typically great as Romanoff, but where ‘Black Widow’ excels is in the smart casting for the supporting roles – Ray Winstone’s dodgy attempt at a Russian accent aside. Florence Pugh fits in seamlessly as her younger sister (it’s hard to not see this as an audition to take over the ‘Black Widow’ mantle as the MCU goes through its changing of the guard), Rachel Weisz is well cast as her mother, but the MVP is David Harbour as her father, a Russian supersoldier who is a little bit less than super these days and is languishing in a remote Russian prison cell. He is terrific value every time he’s on screen.
‘Black Widow’ also gets the balance right between humour, action and genuine pathos and it made me care about these characters and their fate, something that I’ve not felt in a Marvel film since probably ‘Black Panther’. I must confess to a certain malaise starting to set in around the MCU, particularly as it reached a fairly natural end point with ‘Infinity War’, and for full disclosure I’ve never been a fanboy for the movies in general, but ‘Black Widow’ gives me hope that there’s still some nuggets of gold to be created within this juggernaut of franchise movie making.
Directed By: Cate Shortland
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, William Hurt, Ray Winstone, Rachel Weisz, Olivier Richters and Olga Kurylenko