D: Cate Shortland
Disney / Marvel (Kevin Feige)
US 🇺🇸 2021
W: Eric Pearson [based on characters created by Marvel comics]
DP: Gabriel Beristain
Ed: Leigh Folsom Boyd & Matthew Schmidt
Mus: Lorne Balfe
Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow), Florence Pugh (Yelena Belova), David Harbour (Alexei Shostakov/ Red Guardian), Rachel Weisz (Melina Vostokoff), Ray Winstone (Dreykov), Olga Kurylenko (Antonia Dreykov / Taskmaster)
A Black Widow movie had been in the works even before the Marvel Cinematic Universe began, with initial plans being in place as early as 2004, before Scarlett Johansson first starred as the former KGB assassin in Iron Man 2 (2010).
Since then, the MCU had become a juggernaut and fans of the franchise had been crying out for a Black Widow stand-alone movie for quite some time, and this probably should have been made before the 2019 Captain Marvel movie, since Black Widow was already an established character in the series whose back story had not yet been presented.
Unfortunately, it’s sad to say that this did come too late and feels little more than an afterthought or simply fan service to give the people what they want, and not really bringing anything new to the table.
Set after the events of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, Natasha Romanoff is a fugitive in hiding following her actions in that film, and after escaping the authorities that pursue her, she is forced to confront her past and, in partnership with her sister & surrogate parents, seeks to find the Russian general who oversaw the Black Widow training programme.
While the action is well staged and there’s some good stunt work, visual effects and set pieces, the finale is quite underwhelming and the end credits bonus scene serves merely as an advert for a television series on the Disney+ streaming service.
Entertaining for sure, but this doesn’t push any envelopes and is amongst the weaker films of the franchise as a whole. A slight disappointment, as the character certainly deserved better.