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(Movie Review) Black Widow

This was our first trip to the movies in 18 months.  It was almost more about needing to experience a larger-than-life adventure on the big screen than anything else.  Of course, watching Scarlett Johansson take out the bad guys is always fun.

 

Summary:

Black Widow is set in the immediate aftermath of the events of Captain America: Civil War.   The Avengers have split up, and Natasha Romanoff is on the run from the U.S. government when she receives a mysterious package from an unlikely character.  Watching her protect the contents of said package gives the viewers the opportunity to fill in some backstory and learn more about Romanoff's childhood. 

 

Observations:

  • Some preexisting knowledge of the MCU is helpful here, but it's not entirely necessary.

 

  • It's already well-established that Scarlett Johansson is fantastic as Natasha Romanoff, so there were no concerns about her being able to handle a solo film.  As it turns out, her supporting cast is also terrific. 

 

  • Florence Pugh is a revelation as Yelena Belova.  This was the first time we've ever seen the British actress, but she'll be on our radar moving forward.  Belova is also a Widow, and Pugh does a magnificent job showing a mix of hurt, sense of humor, and love.  She and Johansson have terrific chemistry together.   This movie feels like a passing of the torch, and we're telling you, keep an eye on Pugh, both in the MCU and beyond.

 

  • David Harbour is hysterical as Alexei Shostakov, also known as the Red Guardian, an inferior Russian version of Captain America.  Alexi spends a good portion of the movie obsessing about his (alleged) long-ago encounter with Steve Rogers.  He also makes comments about family, and every joke hits the mark. 

 

  • Rachel Weisz is intriguing as Melina Vostokova, the Russian spy and scientist who is also the matriarchal figure of this unorthodox family.  Melina has her own childhood scars, and she throws a number of curve balls into the mix.

 

  • We try not to think too hard when it comes to logic for comic book movies.  Overall, Black Widow doesn't push the boundaries too far, except that Natasha takes a serious beating in a number of battles.  Correct us if we're wrong, but she's not an enhanced figure like Captain America or the Red Guardian, so while the movie does acknowledge some bruises, a few of these scenes really feel like they'd end with her in the hospital or dead.  It's a mild distraction, but nothing that derails the film.

 

  • There is a strong theme of women supporting each other throughout the movie.

 

  • Make sure you stick around for the post-credits scene.

 

Final Thoughts:

It was a gutsy move to slot this story into the MCU, since we already know Natasha Romanoff's fate by the end of Avengers: Endgame.  However, the movie has all of the action and suspense you'd want from a comic book movie, even if you know the ending of the story.  The first 20 minutes felt painfully slow, but it took off like a jet once all of the characters were in place.  Besides the fights, there was a lot of warmth, humor, and discussions about family that made this movie worth the wait. 

Having seen about 60% of the MCU movies, we'd put this in the top five.  It's a fun reason to head back to the theater and forget about the world for a little while.  While it's out of out of order in the character's timeline, this appears to be Scarlett Johansson's last run as Natasha Romanoff, and she ends on a high note.  Recommended.

 

Scarlett Johannson and Florence PughScarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh are a terrific pairing.  (pic via yahoo.com)

 

 

 

 

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