Our Take on... Black Widow
It feels like an eternity since we last had a new Marvel movie, and while some of the Disney+ TV shows have filled the void, and prepare for the future of the MCU, it's a nice to get something familiar, but new at the same time. That's where "Black Widow" comes in.
Things didn't go so well for Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) when we last saw her in "Avengers: Endgame", but what we have here is the beginning of her story, where "Endgame" represented the end. Her background has been hinted at in "Age of Ultron" and "The Winter Soldier", but it much more expanded upon in this, her first solo film.
Here, we see her origin story, as a young girl with her sister growing up in America, through her training in Russia, and then on to where this film takes place, which is just after the events of "Civil War". We find Natasha on the run, and facing up to her past, which involves her reuniting with her family; sister Yelena (Florence Pugh), and their parents played by David Harbour ("Stranger Things") and Rachel Weisz ("The Mummy").
This is one of the smaller scale Marvel movies that makes a nice break from the universe saving stuff. It's more in the vein of a spy thriller in the same way that "The Winter Soldier" was. Having a film like this gives us more time with the characters and find out who they really are and what drives them on. Away from the rest of the Avengers, we find out more about Natasha than we ever have before and it really helps round out the character.
The new characters are all welcome additions to the MCU, with Florence Pugh as the snarky, but equally capable, Yelena who we will be seeing more of later this year in the "Hawkeye" TV show. David Harbour has a great time as Red Guardian, who hasn't managed to keep himself in as good a shape as Captain America and seems to love trading on past glories, while Rachel Weisz brings a air of authority to the family. The scenes with the four together are a lot of fun, and they make for quite the dysfunctional family.
The action scenes are among the upper tier of the Marvel movies, and the fact that we're not dealing with as many characters on screen, as with the Avengers films, means we get more time to see the Widows show what they can really do, and they do not disappoint. While we may not get another Scarlett Johansson led "Black Widow", Florence Pugh will be more than capable of carrying the mantle forward if this film is anything to go by. The same can be said of the next tranche of Marvel films, of which there seems to be no shortage of in the year ahead. See you for the next one!
These are the compelling convictions of our man Kevin Dillon.