Black Widow is a pleasant surprise! An action packed gem full of female badassery, surprisingly dark themes, and delightful humor all wrapped up in one big family drama. A promising start to the film side of phase 4. And here I was standing on my soap box these last two years saying this film shouldn’t exist because it makes light of the stakes Marvel tries so desperately to raise though they lack the commitment to stick to any major decision. I can admit I was wrong. Not about the stakes thing, definitely right about that. About its existence because this film has found a way to elevate the MCU to new heights I worry they won’t be able to maintain.
Between the Wars (Civil & Infinity) Natasha Romanof, aka Black Widow, is pulled back into the past she left behind all those years ago and is forced to reunite with her sister to confront the Boogeyman from their childhood.
To say that I wasn’t looking forward to Black Widow would be an understatement. I’m just so tired of seeing people die in this universe only to be brought back a couple of films later. Yes, I know this is a prequel. Still makes her death less impactful in Endgame when you know you’ll see her again soon. Yeah it’s sad when Peter says “Mr. Stark… I don’t want to go. Please…” But it’s less sad when you remember he’s shooting the sequel to Spider-Man in Europe. Marvel has a gift for doing just this. That is still true after finally seeing the film but it is very much forgiven because this film is on another level.
First off, the screenplay by Eric Pearson is clever, thrilling, and dark. The last one being very fitting in the story of Natasha. Eric continues the trend of addressing uncomfortable themes in a digestible way that still very much fits into the universe. Great dialogue, well timed comedic relief, so much heart, and villains that actually feel real and have agency.
Cate Shortland, a director that is not very well known yet, brings the script to life beautifully. Taking advantage of the moments, the dialogue, the locations, of the history between these characters, and of course, of the action.
The choreography is at the level we expect post Winter Soldier and our actors deliver on these action packed sequences like the pros they are.
Yes Scarlett Johansson is amazing. Of course David Harbour is hilarious as being a troubled narcissistic super soldier. You bet Rachel Weisz is dope. But did you see Florence Pugh though?! She is a magnet, every line drawing you in. Nailing the broken and abandoned little sister who has found a way to put herself back together after going to hell and back again but who, despite all of it, still just wants to be loved, cared for, and embraced… AND she can rock the hell out of a vest she most definitely bought at an army surplus store.
This is one that has instantly climbed the ranks of best MCU films in any phase for me. Roll your eyes all you want, that just means you haven’t seen it. Go out and experience it in the biggest screen you can, and that may be your TV at home. #NoShame. Sit back and enjoy this delightfully surprising walk through the life of our favorite ibuprofen popping Avenger!