“Black Widow” / Black Widow
Movie genre based on comics
Directed by Cate Shortland
Cast: Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow), David Harbor (Alexei Shostakov / Red Guardian), Florence Pugh (Elena Belova), Rachel Weisz (Melina Vostokova), O. T. Fagbenle (Rick Mason), William Hurt (Thaddeus Ross) ), Ray Winston (Dreykov) and others.
Release year 2021
Natasha Romanoff, played by Scarlett Johansson, was an integral part of the Avengers team and at the same time, alas, she never had a full-fledged storyline that could fully reveal the essence of the character. We caught a glimpse of her spy skills during the interrogation and heard a note of nostalgia at the cryptic mention of Budapest, but more often than not, Black Widow was fearlessly rushing into battle, performing well-coordinated teamwork, and other superheroes got big lyrical digressions.
Nevertheless, the creators of the Marvel Cinematic Universe still did not miss the chance and dedicated a full-length solo album to Romanoff – in order to properly honor the memory of the hero who sacrificed himself (well, and once again collect a large box office until Johansson finally moved on to other projects). Now one can only imagine how this film would have turned out if it had been filmed a few years earlier – as an option, the audience could have been shown a superhero spy thriller in the style of John Le Carre (at least, this direction was suggested by Joss Whedon).
However, the producer and head of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, took into account the changes in cinema trends and decided to show the past of the Black Widow in a completely different light (you can immediately forget how Johansson was presented in Iron Man 2, this will not happen again here). The studio created a story with a focus on family as well as emotional trauma from the past that resurfaces many years later. The production was directed by Australian Kate Shortland, a director for whom the set has never looked like a costume party before (Shortland filmed dramatic films about women with a focus on psychological stress).
All this sounds very serious, but this is Marvel, so the entertainment of the audience is still in the first place. The Black Widow script was written by Eric Pearson, he worked on the film Thor: Ragnarok (Thor: Ragnarok) – everything is clear here without further ado, something, and there will be no shortage of jokes in the new solo album. True, the fun will not begin immediately, first the most important background from Natasha’s childhood will appear on the screen, which will become the basis for understanding the main character.
It is worth immediately paying attention to the fact that the main events of Black Widow unfold in the period between the films Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. Having escaped from the US authorities, Natasha Romanoff temporarily settles in Norway, choosing for herself a secluded place in the mountains. Her quiet life is interrupted by the appearance of Taskmaster, a face-hidden soldier who is able to completely copy the movements of his opponent in battle. A sudden attack from a new enemy prompts Natasha to travel to Hungary, where she finds her sister Elena (Florence Pugh). Far from being the only encounter with the past, Romanoff will have to remember the Red Room that turned them, along with dozens of other enslaved girls, into ruthless killers.
It’s pretty obvious that the creators are betting heavily on Florence Pugh – she’s given an impressive amount of ironic lines that shoot at Natasha’s impeccable image (even on the run, she remains part of the illustrious Avengers team). Contrary to her sarcasm, it is Elena who will reveal the most painful moments in the life of spy soldiers, and the Black Widow will rightfully get the lead in the most spectacular scenes. By the way, they were shot on a grand scale, not relying only on CGI. Real armored vehicles drove around Budapest, participating in the pursuit of Romanoff, and the most spectacular skirmish happened on the site, imitating an isolated prison – four hundred people were involved in it for extras.
Fighting scenes in Black Widow alternate with moments of awkward family gatherings – none of the characters really know how to behave properly, so any initiative with an impulse to unite turns into a laughing stock. Here, the writing team is especially fond of the Red Guardian character (played by David Harbor), who dilutes the atmosphere with might and main with cranberry jokes. Fortunately, the creators do not romanticize Soviet heroism, but only comically play up the talkativeness and boastfulness of the Red Guardian, which rarely corresponds to the real state of affairs. David Harbor seems to be great in this role, so he can easily cheer the viewer up.
All the events of Black Widow, as befits a Marvel solo movie, prepare us for an epic final battle. The path to the denouement, chosen by the creators, does not seem very inventive, and in places it is frankly unsuccessful (using super-technologies that look extremely ridiculous without explanation). In addition, on the big screen I want to see much more battles with Taskmaster, but the film rather poorly reveals his interesting ability to duplicate the movements of the enemy. There are other controversial (ideological and solemn moments) in the picture that affect the overall impression.
Without a doubt, if the Black Widow movie had appeared five years earlier, it would have had a different content. But in general, the solo album about Natasha Romanoff, despite the controversial plot twists, turned out to be quite sincere – largely due to the successful interaction of Scarlett Johansson with Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz and David Harbour.
Pros: main cast; jokes that the writers shared between Elena and the Red Guardian; return to the past Natasha Romanoff; staging scenes that rely not only on CGI Cons: not always successful plot twists; scriptwriters make little use of the combat potential of Taskmaster. Conclusion:
against the background of other Marvel films, the Black Widow solo movie clearly sags. But it’s still worth going to the cinema to see Natasha Romanoff’s personal story, it has its own soul-superhero moments.