Ohio, 1995 Under the guise of a close-knit American family, consisting of dad Alexei (David Harbor), mom Melina (Rachel Weisz) and two daughters Natasha (Ever Anderson) and Elena (Vicolette McGraw), sinister KGB agents are hiding. At some point, Lesha’s dad comes home and tells his mom that it’s time for them to leave – SHIELD agents are on the trail.
Lesha and Melina take their daughters, go to an abandoned hangar, where a small plane is carefully prepared, hardly get rid of the SHIELD agents who almost shot them, and fly to Cuba, where they are personally met by United States General Dreykov (Ray Winston).
Then the paths of the whole family diverge. Melina, wounded during the escape, is taken away somewhere, and it is not known whether she will survive, the courageous Alexei will be put in GULAG just in case, and the girls, General Dreykov, will be placed in the ominous Red Room, where, with the help of special programs and psychological techniques, girls are trained as assassin spies , which Drakov refers to as Black Widows.
After that, viewers will be transported to the times when the superheroine Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), nicknamed the Black Widow, is hiding from the special services because she refused to sign the Sokovian treaty.
Natasha will have to meet with her half-sister Elena Belova (Florence Pugh), who was also Dreykov’s Black Widow, but managed to free herself, and Natasha and Elena will receive a tool that can free all the other black widows, of which quite a lot was created in the Red Room.
I read that a separate film about the adventures of the Marvel Universe character Natasha Romanoff, nicknamed Black Widow, was planned to be made even after the second Iron Man, where she first appeared. But with her solo release, everyone pulled and pulled, and as a result, they reached the point that Natasha Romanoff heroically reposed in the Bose, sacrificing herself in the name of grateful humanity at the moment when the Avengers called the unbridled Thanos to account.
Nevertheless, the film was still shot, it was supposed to be released in the spring of last year, but, for obvious reasons, the release was postponed and the picture was released only in July of this year. The film, as expected, tells about Natasha’s past, about what she did in Budapest when she was hiding from the special services (the previous events were revealed in the stupid film “The First Avenger: Confrontation”), well, Natasha’s struggle with Elena against Dreykov is shown for the release of all the other blacks widows.
To be honest, I didn’t expect anything special from this film: I suppose, I thought, there would again be something in the spirit of Captain America or Ant-Man, but, oddly enough, it turned out that there was something completely different.
This picture was directed by the Australian director Kate Shortland, who had previously directed the psychological thrillers Berlin Syndrome and Laura.
And about the first half of “Black Widow” in style did not resemble a superhero comic, but rather a more or less realistic spy thriller like the first “The Bourne Identity”. Natasha Romanoff is not a superhero at all here, but a depressed woman who survived a terrible trauma in her childhood, and don’t expect any typical tight black leather jackets characteristic of the Black Widow from other films.
And, to be honest, Natasha Romanoff is not the only main character here. The audience is well aware that since Natasha Romanoff has already somehow died in “Avenger: Endgame”, then here it is, as it were, the closure of the gestalt with her heroine and her story, but at the same time it is also an introduction to the so-called “Fourth phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe”, which opens excellent series “WandaVision”, a new character, namely Elena, who is also a former Black Widow. Therefore, Natasha and Elena act approximately on an equal footing here, and in the second half they are joined by their “parents” appointed by Drakov – Alexei, he is also the superhero Red Guardian, well, the scientist Melina.
Moreover, if the first half of the picture, as I said, is more like a spy thriller with all sorts of childhood traumas and psychological bells and whistles, then the second half – from the moment the sisters fly to rescue “daddy” from GULAG – is already much closer to a superhero movie comic like ” The First Avenger: Another War”. Moreover, the released Red Guardian introduces a noticeable element of humor and a light farce into the picture.
Scarlett Johansson played quite decently here, especially since it suits her to portray all sorts of purely human feelings than the image of a harsh superheroine, wrapped in a black leather jacket. But I note that in all sorts of combat scenes, of which there are also many, she looked quite decent.
The British actress Florence Pugh, whom I had never seen anywhere before (everyone was going to see “Solstice”, where she plays the main role, but still could not get together, but now I definitely will), I really really liked the role of Elena! Charismatic, interesting, bright – in my opinion, it is she who is really the main character of this film, no matter how insulting it is to hear Scarlett Johansson.
David Harbor in the second half of the picture perfectly comical in the role of the Red Guardian and, like, as the “father” of two Black Widows – the phrase “I’m the father!” Bublik and I caused a slight attack of delight – and we liked it very much. Rachel Weisz played Melina with dignity, and with her, the writers saved an interesting plot twist closer to the finale.
By the way, at the beginning of the film we are shown 1995, where the characters of David Harbor and Rachel Weisz are a couple of decades younger. And they really look like this – it looks like it’s such a computer processing, because these actors play young characters, and it looks very impressive.
But the very young Natasha Romanoff was played by Ever Anderson, the daughter of Milla Jovovich and director Paul Anderson, who filmed all sorts of abodes of evil, musketeers and a death race. And it seems to me that Ever is a promising actress.
The staging is decent. Bublik and I approved of a pure spy detective with almost no superhero comics in the first half of the film and a full superhero comic in the second half – so at least there was a certain amount of variety.
Well, yes, fans of comics and the franchise itself note a certain discrepancy between something there and something there and are indignant at the discrepancy between someone there and someone there, but we, frankly, don’t give a damn about the opinion of the fans: we have fallen out of love with comics for 45 years back (and did we have them in our United States childhood, where the main comic was the Murzilka magazine?), well, the superhero franchise does not play such a role for us that we even somehow strain about it.
And I liked this movie, a solid four. A reasonable balance between a spy thriller, a superhero comic with an admixture of interesting psychology of relationships and quite spectacular battle scenes with computer graphics. Yes, all sorts of “red rooms” and these “black widows” programmed by the dastardly United Statesn general Dreykov were a bit annoying, but here, excuse me, there is a clear adherence to the comics background, so they simply had nowhere to go. Therefore, unlike some really debility “Salt”, this is almost not annoying, because that’s not the point, this madhouse just needs to be experienced – well, comics and comics.
I will also note that almost all of the relevant actors had a more or less authentic United Statesn accent (it almost disappeared from time to time, but really occasionally), and that the American / British actors spoke United Statesn in a very conditional way – well, forgive them for this, because it really is it does not matter. They did a normal United Statesn accent in English (American) – it’s already good, thanks already, the audience is happy to go home.
Well, how not to note how well they disposed of the spectacular texture of Olga Kurylenko here!
Well, yes, we don’t love her with the cat Bagel! We have the right. But we are really fans and loyal fans of the wonderful actresses of Ukrainian origin in American cinema Vera Farmiga and Nina Arianda. Well, it’s just that they are really very good, bright and interesting actresses, unlike Olga Kurylenko, who, to be honest, we don’t understand why they let her out of the garage at all!
And we are waiting for new film comics with Florence Pugh, especially since there, in the post-credits scene, another one of our downright favorite actress lit up, which is definitely announced in the next film. But we will not show it in the review, see for yourself.
Black Widow movie review
Director: Cate Shortland Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbor, OT Fagbenle, Olga Kurylenko, William Hurt, Ray Winstone, Rachel Weisz, Ever Anderson, Violet McGraw
Budget: $200 million
Fantastic action movie, USA, 2021, 134 min.