Shauna Fox fires spider threads.
Black Widow is the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to be released since Covid-19 led to a worldwide lockdown, and with it the temporary closure of cinemas. Spiderman: Far From Home was the last MCU movie to be released in cinema in 2019, before the pandemic; so you can imagine there was a fair bit of excitement and expectation for Marvel’s return to the big screen. However, my trip to the cinema is still on hold, as there is something unsettling to me about sitting in a dark room, with no ventilation, for two hours with no mask on… and the fear of hearing someone a few rows away coughing. So, instead, myself and the brother remained in the comfort of home, donned our Marvel t-shirts, and enjoyed the benefits of Disney+.
Black Widow is the cinematic beginning of phase 4, although we’ve been in phase 4 since the televisual release of WandaVision, with Loki being the latest TV instalment of Marvel’s fourth phase. Black Widow, however, unlike the TV series, does not really progress the universe forward, as Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) died sacrificing herself in exchange for the soul stone in Avengers: Endgame. It is only the end-credit scene of the movie that marks a link to other projects to come in phase 4.
Even knowing that Black Widow was essentially a ‘dead-end’ movie, I was still very much looking forward to it, because it was to be the farewell that Natasha Romanoff deserved. Her character has been in the Marvel universe since Iron Man 2, and she was the first female Avenger. The lack of a proper send off in Avengers: Endgame didn’t sit well with me… Natasha deserved more.
And, I’m afraid to say, she still does. While Black Widow was an entertaining and enjoyable spy thriller, it felt less about Natasha and her story, and more about her sister, Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh).
I love Black Widow, I think she is such a great character, with an interesting and dark past; this film promised an insight into who Natasha was before the Avengers, and I do feel I got a glimpse of who she used to be, but it was her sister’s story that really took front and centre. Knowing that no more can be done with the Black Widow character, Marvel has introduced another assassin, with a similar past to Natasha, to take her place. While she may not be joining the Avengers any time soon, Yelena definitely stole the movie with her sharp wit and blunt attitude.
Pugh’s Yelena was only one member of Natasha’s ‘family’, Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff and David Harbour as Red Guardian were also great additions to the MCU, and I hope we get to see more of them as we continue through phase 4. While I still prefer Harbour as Jim Hopper from Stranger Things, his role as Red Guardian was very funny, and he was almost unrecognisable as the annoying, bragging Soviet warrior.
Black Widow is unlike most of the MCU films that came before, in that it is quite a serious thriller-esque movie, low in big CGI magical sequences; which works for this story, and stands as a positive. It tells the story of a woman who is struggling to come to terms with her past, with her dysfunctional family, and even struggles to remain the main character of her own story.
However, it does have humorous moments splashed throughout, intense action sequences, and the signature Black Widow moves we have all come to know and love (and wish we could pull off ourselves).
But, as far as doing justice to Natasha Romanoff, and bringing closure… that is where Marvel failed her.
Black Widow is released in cinemas & on Disney+ on 9th July 2021.