Black Widow (2021) Review

So I just got back from seeing Black Widow on Saturday the 24th of July at the theatres (first time in 2 years) and I thought it was pretty good. It’s a fun movie with some great character moments and some good action scenes. 

I liked how the story takes place after civil war and before Infinity war and acts as a set up for some stuff that could happen in the future. It’s a good time period to set a film as it’s a part of the timeline where we haven’t really seen a lot of at this point in time. The only films that take place during that time on earth are Spider-Man Homecoming and Ant-Man & The Wasp, at least the films with consequences from Civil War anyways. Without getting into spoilers this film really feels like Black Widow: The Winter Soldier, in terms that the main physical villain and the enemies in the film are pretty similar to Hydra. A lot of elements in the film feel pretty similar, along with something that I will try not to spoil. 

This is a film about family, and about Natasha rediscovering her family, as well as establishing Yelena for the future.  I enjoyed the pacing of the film as it didn’t feel long and gave all the characters time to breath and have moments together. 

This film does a lot for Natasha as a character as we get a more in depth look at her history and the kinds of things she was involved in as a part of the red room. We get to see the forces that made her the way she is, and just how much power those forces have. This movie is what Natasha needed as it gave much a better look at what she has done and what she had to go through to get to the point she has and why she feels the way she does about the Avengers and being a part of the Avengers. The movie allows her to be emotional and to feel things that we don’t really get to see in her other appearances. This film also kind of shows why Natasha and Bruce had a bit of a romance in Age of Ultron as we see a lot more of the bad stuff she did and how they could relate to each other in that they don’t judge each other for their pasts and their other personas. Speaking about her past, it’s her actions that create the physical villain of the film, which we’ll talk about a little bit later. 

Scarlett Johansson does a great job in this film at keeping some of the sarcastic and quick wit we’ve seen from her in the past apparances, but now we get to see her flex as Natasha a bit more and see how she’d respond and interact with other characters she has a past with. Her performance is effective for the material she is given. She shines when she is with the family as they are able to bring some fun and serious emotions out of her. 

This film also sets up the character of Yelena Belova, fellow widow and chosen sister of Natasha. She shines the brightest in this film. She’s funny, badass, the one that gets the plot started, and she has some great moments in the film. She has a lot of the major beats in the film as she has the most riding on what happens. We see how much Natasha has an effect on her and how much she truly cares for her. Her personality shines throughout the film and really makes me excited to see her in the future. Florence Pugh also does a great job in this film and plays her perfectly. She’s funny, badass, and is very effective at what the film requires of her. 

Next is Melina who is fine I guess. We don’t get much of her in the film and she works in the motherly role. She’s there as the tech expert in the film which works I guess. Again she doesn’t do too much in the film and her intelligent and kind of introverted character fits the film but isn’t too memorable. Rachel Weiz does a great job with what she’s given and has some fun scenes. 

After that is one of my favourite characters of the film, Alexei. He’s funny, boastful, badass, and really can carry the scenes he’s in.  He acts as the fatherly role in the family, and even brings in some pathos in how he sometimes shows that he kind of hated it deep down inside. He’s a man of action, he wants to be out there exploring and fighting, maybe even against Captain America. He loves his family but his pride can make him view them as a disappointment, that he doesn’t want to be with them. He’s a bit of a comic relief character in the film, in that a lot of the comedy comes from him and his antics, but he’s not an annoying character to me. David Harbour does another amazing job as Alexei and plays him perfectly. 

Finally there’s the villain, Dreykov played by Ray Winstone. He’s ok I guess. He’s kinda boring as he’s mostly just some guy. Sure, he’s the head of this big secret organization with these big plans and a crazy amount of control, yet he’s just some dude at the end of the day. He doesn’t really bring anything interesting to the film. He can be intimidating but because we don’t really get a lot from him until the last act of the film, and what we do get isn’t great. I would be a bit more forgiving if they did more from him or if he had more personality. The performance is fine and works for what the character is given. He definitely feels like a commentary on a certain kind of man who loves having control over people, who is full of pride, and who in the end is some flabby guy. They only kind of interesting thing I found about him is just how deep he loves control with some stuff that I won’t spoil. 

With Dreykov comes Taskmaster. I won’t get much into the character as they don’t do much, it would be a spoiler for a major point for Natasha’s character, and there isn’t really much there in the end. I mean what we do get is kinda cool, but that mostly has to do with the action and suit design. Although I do wonder if the suit also has some enhancements as well as the user having the Super Soldier Serum as they are strong. The only spoilers thing I’ll say is that there is a reason I’ve been comparing the film to Winter Soldier a lot throughout this review. 

The comedy really worked throughout the film for me and I thought it was handled well. It didn’t feel like a comedy but there was still a bunch of comedy in the film. There were some jokes that felt a little weird that, but over-all was pretty good. The comedy was mostly character focused and felt pretty natural coming from these characters.

The film has some good action. I didn’t feel that it lacked anywhere and the fight scenes were handled pretty well. Taskmaster has some good fights and there are some good chase scenes. It was cool seeing more Widow style fights, especially with all the different Widows in the film. 

The film looks pretty good for the most part. The cinematography was good and the editing was well done and things didn’t feel too much. I think the movie lacked technically in the VFX department though. There were some scenes that could have really used either more time, or have been thought out more. It’s serviceable for the most part, but there can be a few funny looking moments if you notice them. The costumes are pretty good, with Taskmaster being a stand-out. 

Over-all I thought this was a good movie over-all. It has it’s issues and doesn’t have a lot of huge moments in it like some other marvel movies. It’s enjoyable so I’d recommend it.

I’ll give it One Thumb Up, see it in the theatres if you want, or wait until it’s on Disney Plus. 

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