After multiple delays, Black Widow has finally arrived in theatres and on Hotstar, just in time for the weekend. Scarlett Johansson reprises her iconic secret agent role as Natasha Romanoff, called Black Widow, in the film. When a serious scheme with ties to her past emerges, who tackles the darker portions of her ledger? Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the damaged relationships she left in her wake long before she became an Avenger in the film, as she is pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down.
Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, David Harbour, Olga Kurylenko, Yolanda Lynes, and others star alongside Johansson in the film.
The film begins in a flashback to Natasha’s upbringing in Ohio, where her spy “parents,” like the couple from The Americans, live incognito. After an obviously well-executed escape sequence, the film settles into a plot that borrows extensively from other espionage franchises — Shortland apes the Jason Bourne series’ close-combat action and the Mission: Impossible movie’ large-scale mayhem — but never truly establishes her own character.
This is particularly odd given that the central theme of Natasha’s development in the film is her identity struggle. Natasha sets off on a mission to achieve freedom from her turbulent past after being raised as a “Widow” by a Russian named General Dreykov. Along the way, she meets her estranged “sister,” Yelena, played by Florence Pugh, one of the best young actors of her time.
Pugh is a welcome newcomer to the franchise and a frequent scene stealer. She and Johansson have a fantastic relationship and are convincing as sisters. Playing the bombastic, larger-than-life, and murderous Red Guardian, Harbour seemed to be having a blast. He’s always 100 percent committed to making his screen time memorable, even when he’s in horrible movies (cough, Hellboy). Weisz’s role doesn’t create much of an impression because everyone else is so “huge.” She fulfils her character’s responsibilities.
Johansson has portrayed Black Widow so many times that we are sure she’s used to it and as far as I know, this is her final Marvel appearance, but she’s also committed to giving it her all. It’s hard not to be upset that Black Widow’s run is coming to an end after watching her connect with Pugh. It would have been nice to see more movies with Natasha and Yelena butting heads and kicking butts.
The action or stunts aren’t really impressive, but there is far too much of it. Also, the screenwriter needed to be reminded that Black Widow is not a super soldier. She isn’t a divine being. She isn’t encased in armour. She is a human with exceptional fighting abilities, yet she is still mortal and vulnerable to wounds. The majority of her stunts would have killed her.
Black Widow, like several other Marvel characters, works stronger in an ensemble piece than in a solo film. Her character isn’t really engrossing. It’s a really awful climax to what should have been a triumphant send-off for the original Avengers’ sole female character.