Black Widow (2021) – movie review

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Black Widow

Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz, O-T Fagbenle, Olga Kurylenko, William Hurt, Ray Winstone
Director: Cate Shortland

Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger

Black Widow mainly takes place immediately after the events of Captain America: Civil War. The movie starts by going back in time and explaining Black Widow’s history and showing how she escaped capture as a Russian spy in the USA as a child with her “family” and what happened to them when they returned to Russia.

We then have a time jump to the point at which Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) has disappeared into hiding with the split of the Avengers. We also see how Natasha’s “sister” Yelena (Florence Pugh) also became a Black Widow but under a mind control program.

The movie’s storyline sees Natasha teaming up with Yelena to destroy the mind control program and its creator, whilst freeing the other Black Widows in the program with the help of the rest of her estranged fake family, super-soldier Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour) and Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz).

I always thought the Black Widow character was totally underused in the MCU so it’s really good to see this Black Widow standalone movie finally released and with such a good cast and compelling storyline. Not to take away from any of the cast performances but Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh and David Harbour were particularly outstanding in their roles.

Scarlett Johansson is so good in this action role it seems ridiculous that her character has been killed off in the events that take place later in the MCU. The introduction of Florence Pugh as Yelena is a great piece of casting with her subtle delivery of dry humour and David Harbour is very funny as super soldier the Red Guardian.

Whilst so much of Marvel is about superheroes, Black Widow benefits from the fact that most of the characters don’t have superpowers. It’s really only the Red Guardian that is a super soldier and his powers are really only enhanced human abilities. So while the action sequences are somewhat beyond reality they don’t really come across as so crazy unreal in the way that a lot of this type of film can sometimes do.

Also just to point out that there is an important end of credits scene which will lead into the upcoming Hawkeye TV show.

6 out of 6 stars