2 years. 2 months. 1 week.
The wunder spy introduced as Natalie Rushman in 2010’s Iron Man 2 has finally received her own film. With a 9 year wait followed by the aforementioned 2 year delay, Scarlett Johansson finally gets to step away from the boys club that is the Avengers to get up to her own thing. Her own thing is abruptly interrupted as the collapse of one family leads to her finding her own again.
Yes, those ‘family’ memes currently circulating aren’t just beneficial to the Fast Saga. I think they’re going to prove to be hugely beneficial to Marvel’s Black Widow too.
Opening with a stellar reflection on the MCU before our classic Marvel Studios logo, we journey through the decade we’ve had with it. Sensationally ending on the viral audience reaction to the “Assemble” scene in End Game, we head into its bold new future. The future being a brief reprise into its past, which THEN heads toward its future.
Black Widow finds itself inserted neatly between between the two Wars (Civil and Infinity). This piece of continuity genius thanks to WandaVision’s writer Jac Schaeffer, in collaboration with Ned Benson. A montage of supposed happy families, hands to a more familiar era as we come straight off the end of Civil War. Hoping to settle into a peaceful present, it’s not that simple when you’re one of the world’s most popular superheroes.
Oh, and when the events of Budapest begin to affect you again.
While it doesn’t completely dive into the infamy of “Just like Budapest all over again!”, it does introduce us to Yelena (Florence Pugh) and some of the lore of this historic event. With plot device in tow, and renewed red in Romanoff’s ledger, they decide they need to destroy the place which created them; The Red Room. Forcing our sibling spies to reconnect with their parents, they track down Rachel Weisz returning to action comedy form, and Daddy David Harbour as a knock-off Captain America, who in-fact knows how to use his powers better than Steve did.
This wraps itself into a burrito of broken people and broken family discord bolstered by a tonne of comedy. Honestly, I was not expecting Natasha’s film to be so funny, but it really is. Pugh especially stands out, as a Widow who just wants to have fun, parallel to Johansson’s Nat who still has things to atone for (this a nice nod to the choice she makes on Vormir). And the parents are THE parents. Providing a sense of familiarity and reflection of your own upbringing, this makes their jokes drop so well.
Ray Winstone‘s Dreykov is fine, but the actor has left me with some form of unintended brainwashing. I just couldn’t see him in a scene without thinking “this mans always playing a bad guy…”. But shout out to O.T Fagbenle‘s Rick Mason, who I honestly hope shows up throughout this next saga, as he is just an excellent, fun and mysterious character.
Action lives up to the legend of Romanoff, especially brutal when it’s Widow versus Widow. Slightly sensationalised by slo-mo and some choppy CGI, it’s not so much as to have any negative effect on the overall film. The Taskmaster is done well, recreated for the MCU while carrying all the nonsense of their power. Their fights replaying scenes we’ve seen before are especially fun, when it’s something like the might of the Red Guardian meeting Captain America and the Black Panther at the same time.
Black Widow rules.
It lives up to something deserving of Romanoff. While it may not be life-changing or flip the status quo of the MCU, it becomes a new epic in the Infinity Saga itself, tying in a period we may not have even thought of. Intriguing thrills and background provoke, as Natasha goes on one last ride with family. And yes, there’s definitely a post-credits scene to wait around for.
Welcome back Marvel!
Marvels Studios Black Widow is a great welcome back for them and the MCU, with a fun romp for a character who deserved their own film.
An incredible supporting cast and fun action, brought together under the excellent eye of Cate Shortland, sees the gaze averted from male, to firmly locking in on the sheer power of one Natasha Romanoff.
Thank you for your cooperation Black Widow. You absolutely ruled.
Marvel Studios BLACK WIDOW is in NZ CINEMAS NOW. It will also be available on Disney+ via its Premiere Access service for NZD $39.99 on July 9th. This means you can watch from the comfort of your own house from this date, at any time you want, as much as you want.