A hugely expensive consolation prize for Scarlett Johansson and a glorified backdoor pilot for Florence Pugh, Black Widow achieves the unthinkable and dethrones Thor: The Dark World as the worst movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For it to be released (dropped, rather) in India on the same day as Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and following an ugly public brawl between Disney and Johansson, is a somewhat apt conclusion for a business. that was doomed from the start.
Showcasing all of the worst trends from the Marvel movies – flat visual style, generic structure, and an instantly forgettable villain – Black Widow isn’t just uninteresting, he goes out of his way to avoid having any kind of personality. Marvel has waited too long to give Natasha Romanoff her own solo film and, because of that hesitation, has deprived her story of all the stakes.
Watch the Black Widow trailer here:
Charged with knowing exactly how she will die in the future, virtually every second of Black Widow (which takes place before the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame) no longer makes sense. Director Cate Shortland should have harnessed the public’s goodwill to her advantage instead.
In all fairness, the movie tries to fill in some of the blanks, but what’s odd is which whites Shortland is focusing on. Thus, a potentially compelling story of Cold War intrigue is all but ignored in favor of fictitious conflicts that force audiences to, in a way, reinvest in the character. What was the point of a decade of preparatory work if you want to start the spectator’s movements over again?
We open in a flashback on Natasha’s childhood in Ohio, where her spy “parents” live undercover like the American couple. After an admittedly well-done breakout streak, the film settles into a plot that borrows heavily from other spy franchises – Shortland Apes the close-quarters combat action of the Jason Bourne series and the full-scale chaos of the Mission: Impossible films – but never really creates an identity of its own.
And it’s incredibly ironic, given that Natasha’s dominant arc thrust in the film is based on her identity crisis. Having been raised to be a “widow” by a Russian called General Dreykov, Natasha sets out on a mission to find emancipation from her troubled past. Along the way, she meets her ex-sister Yelena, played by one of the best young actors of her generation, Florence Pugh.
How the film is able to reduce someone of their talents to a generic ‘brave girl’ figure is beyond me, but I cringed at every tongue-in-cheek joke Yelena made and lost my patience with her. forced conflict with Natasha. You know they’ll eventually team up, so why not get right to the point, resist the airless tension between them and show them a connection instead?
It is all the rage these days to disparage Joss Whedon, but no matter how toxic he is as a person, one shouldn’t forget that he’s the only one who really understood this version of Natasha Romanoff. It is frankly shocking to see Yelena make a joke about how widows are sterilized – essentially an act of sexual violence – in this film, when the same theme was treated with appropriate gravity by Whedon in Avengers: Age. from Ultron. And make a director think that it would be funny …
But that’s on the mark for a film that regularly flirts with potentially interesting ideas and kills them royally. The leader of them is the bad guy, Taskmaster. Now, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is known for its lesser antagonists, but this one is especially forgettable. Not only does Taskmaster embody all of the issues that have long plagued Marvel villains, in that they are essentially evil clones of the heroes, but understand that, Taskmaster’s super power is to literally emulate others. And don’t even get me started on how the film spoils its biggest surprise in the opening credits.
Also Read: Spider-Man Far From Home Movie Review: A Passable Avengers Endgame Postscript, But A Wonderful Ode To Iron Man
It’s doubly disappointing when you consider the fact that Shang-Chi from the same studio has one of the best villains they’ve ever created. It wasn’t supposed to be like that, of course. I watched Black Widow months ago, before its international release and before it was thrown under the Shang-Chi-shaped bus. But Disney has done dirty things for Johansson, there is no doubt about it. Essentially aiding in her cannibalization feels like a deliberate attempt to disturb her again.
It’s a terribly unfortunate conclusion to what should have been a triumphant farewell for the only female character in the original Avengers lineup. But Pugh is incredibly talented, so even though the handover was awkward, she’s more than equipped to stage a win from behind.
Director – Cate Shortland
To throw – Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, David Harbor, Ray Winstone, OT Fagbenle