Black Widow (2021)

Black Widow
Director: Cate Shortland
Writer: Eric Pearson
Based on: Stan Lee, Don Rico, and Don Heck‘s comic character
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, David Harbour, Ray Winstone, Ever Anderson, Violet McGraw, O-T Fagbenle, William Hurt, Olga Kurylenko
Part of: Marvel movies
Seen on: 19.7.2021

After becoming an international fugitive for violating the Sokovia Accords, Natasha aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) should be lying low and disappear for a while. And she’s fully prepared to do so. Instead she receives a mysterious package and is attacked for it. Trying to figure out what’s going on, Natasha realizes that her younger sister Yelena (Florence Pugh) is trying to bring down the Red Room where they were both trained. Despite initial difficulties, the two join forces. But they need the help of their former parents, Alexei aka the Red Guardian (David Harbour) and former Widow Melina (Rachel Weisz).

I didn’t expect all that much from Black Widow, I have to admit (it was the fat joke in the trailer that killed my excitement a little, and the fact that I’m no great Scarlett Johansson fan), but I have to say that the film was absolutely enjoyable and definitely among the stronger films in the MCU.

The film poster showing Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) very big, grabbing a sword on her back, with the other characters much smaller arranged around her. The background is the Black Widow sign in red on white.

Black Widow gets a lot of things very right and above all that’s focusing on the relationship between Natasha and Yelena. Not only because Florence Pugh is completely wonderful in everything she touches, but also because the film very much nails the sibling dynamic between them. The ribbing, the immediate falling back into old patterns, the little one’s adoration of the older one, the older one’s protectiveness of the younger one, the way that old pain and old love sit so closely together. They call each other out, they know where the painful spots are, but they also know how far they can really push it before things might get actually hurtful.

The film has a good sense of humor, too, for the most part, despite the rather difficult and sometimes dark themes it also touches on – the expendability of little girls, for example, or the feminist fight for (bodily) autonomy. There is a firm feminist core here, and a storyline that doesn’t stray too far into girlbossiness, but emphasizes solidarity.

Alexei (David Harbour) grabbing Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) and Yelena (Florence Pugh) by their arms.

Between the jokes, there is the ass-kicking and that, too, is really good. The action scenes are clearly choreographed most of the time, and the movie doesn’t rely on too fast editing and shaky cam to gloss over mediocre fights. That means that you can actually keep track of what is happening and that’s bliss.

There are a couple of moments where the film leaves a few too many questions unanswered, and it wouldn’t have hurt if the film had paid a little more attention to its Russian part, but ultimately, these are small nitpicks. I had a blast with the film for sure.

Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) and Yelena (Florence Pugh) standing in front of some wreckage.

Summarizing: very good.

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