Black Widow; Another Day, Another Throwaway Film from the MCU. Grade: C
Black Widow tells a story about the Avenger Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), whom goes on a quest to defeat a psychopath whom is doing inhumane things using... MIND CONTROL! Natasha won't be doing this alone however, as she'll be accompanied by some childhood pals back in days. Black Widow we'll give us the back story MCU fans have yearn for years within this character, her up bringing, trauma within one event within her past in a non stop action packed thrill ride.
Attending a Marvel Cinematic Universe Film for me is like attending a friends child's birthday party... You don't really understand why exactly are you there in the first place, as it feels like an unnecessary chore being there, but perhaps there is some kind of moral purpose in being there so you're just there.
Lets go through some positives I have with Black Widow. I thought the cast all in all was solid, only complaint I have were the child actors in the beginning. Scarlett Johansson does her typical performance in these Marvel Films, she's got the personality, charisma, and tough persona this character has to have so she does well. I feared Florence Pugh was going to be awful as Yelena as the trailer gave me such a scare, considering I loved what Pugh has done thus far in her career dating all the way back with Lady Macbeth. However Florence Pugh actually did a good job, she was fairly consistent with her Russian accent, as she did some cool things with this character. Would I like to see Pugh more in the MCU?! Hell No, nothing against Pugh in anyway I just rather see her involved in great original stories instead that'll challenge her acting ability, instead being involved in repetitive super hero nonsense.
Black Widow does a pretty decent job establishing some kind of connection between Natasha and the three other fellow friends of her past. Especially the dining table sequences, I felt those sequences were fairly written and honestly the best part of this entire film by far. You get to learn the emotional side of these characters, as they were taught to be emotionless, where in fact they finally shown themselves as vulnerable through that difficult process, especially Yelena whom kind of breaks down when reality strikes in.
Marvel fans really wanted a Black Widow film so badly, that it doesn't matter the outcome, they just wanted it to exist and nothing more. I feel the need to say that pandering to fan service can feel entirely unnecessary. Spending a great amount of time in money, filming, and writing on a project no one involved was inspired to make because it needed to be told, but it was made purposely on fan service can feel utterly pointless. If Black Widow was never made it would not change a single thing about the MCU as a whole. I think if this film was released after what Avengers 2, then one can argue why it needed to be made, as it helps follow along this cinematic universe. But at this point in time as of now it feels entirely unnecessary, as Black Widow isn't a bad film at all, it just brings back the same ole sthick we've been getting time and time again with these damn films.
The story as a whole is alright, there is meaning behind these characters partaking in this adventure and why it means a great deal to accomplish the goal at hand. However there are quite a few elements within the story, that I have issues with. Let's start by the comedic material: It's horrendous. I didn't laugh a single time in any of these jokes placed in this film, I just sat there in utter disappointment going through yet again end of the popsicle stick humor. But the thing that pisses me off about the comedy material is why is it displayed in a story like this?! This is supposedly a spy/action drama story, yet we have brief pauses for silly humor that just throw off the entire tone of this film. This is a personal situation for Natasha, why all the unnecessary jokes?! Can we at least get consistency in tone?!
This film is heavily action packed, however the action in this film majority of it left me bored. In fact there are some action sequences in which made me think of other films, that have done these sequences better. When Alexei (David Harbour) was getting himself over the top of a prison facility, I thought of the iconic scene of Dark Knight Rises where Bruce attempts to climb himself out, as the prison mates chant "THIS IS GOTHAM GOTHAM!” One car crash sequence made me think of the iconic car crash scene in Dark Knight, a car chase sequence made me think of The John Wick series, and in the beginning where Yelena is chasing down someone on a sky roof I thought of Tenet. I think maybe just the opening action sequence left me a little entertained at least, but the rest I was just thinking to myself... How much recycled action sequences does it take, for one to say maybe we should attempt something new?! The grand finale especially like good God that WREAKED!
The antagonist felt nonexistent, when he existed in this story... Another bland villain yet again from the MCU. As he gives the reasoning behind why he's evil, I believe there could've been a valid attempt in providing something rather different of why he's evil. As the film lures in the audience as we try to understand the villain, the film instead does what all great MCU films do with their villains... WORLD DOMINATION! I was hoping his evil ways would have some kind of meaning behind, unfortunately it’s just world domination for no apparent reason yet again. How many times are we going to get this same damn cliche?!
The epic plot twist revealed... I thought it was utterly stupid. Not only was it pointless, but you can also say the film underachieved in making our antagonist extremely vile and disgraceful. I mean there could be a moment in which Natasha expresses her feelings on her past to the antagonist, as the antagonist could respond with something rather disturbing, that'll make the audience go "What a terrible being, does he not have a soul?!" But instead the film attempts a plot twist that is so bizarre and unnecessary, as your left with disappointment.
Black Widow at least continues the tradition of the MCU: You watch the film once and you never watch it again. Nothing unique or special within Black Widow, it's just another disposable film and nothing more.
Overall, Black Widow was just ok. I don't recommend this film, superhero nerds can watch it I guess since you all wanted this to exist in the first place. Hopefully Chloe Zhao's MCU film will be good and strike some creativity, originality, and risks these films are ever so lacking these days. Until then: I'm just going to continue being that friend at the kids birthday party, questioning why am I even here. -Mitch Smietana