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Black Widow: Return of a true Marvel

Despite the fact she has been many people’s favourite Avenger it was easy to start to think that Black Widow was the forgotten Avenger. Hardcore Marvel fans were furious when Captain Marvel became the first female-led Avengers movie, they saw it as disrespectful to Black Widow who had basically been there since Day One.


By David Griffiths

Saturday 17 July 2021, 02:30PM


Scarlett Johansson in Black Widow (2021). Image: IMDB

Scarlett Johansson in Black Widow (2021). Image: IMDB

Well now Black Widow gets her chance and finally actress Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation) gets her chance to step up in a film that not only tells the origins story of Black Widow but also fills in the gaps of what happened to her in between Civil War and Infinity Wars.

Directed by award-winning Australian director Cate Shortland (Somersault), who was hand-selected by Johansson for the job, Black Widow reveals Natasha Romanoff’s (aka Black Widow) Russian spy ‘family’ including her ‘mother’ Melina (Rachel Weisz – The Constant Gardener), ‘father’ Alexei (David Harbour – Suicide Squad) and ‘sister’ Yelena Belova (Forence Pugh – Lady Macbeth).

While Natasha is on the run from Secretary Ross (William Hurt – Lost In Space) she reunites with Yelena and despite a testy relationship they decide to find Melina and Alexei and get them to help hunt down the man who created them and now wants them dead – the evil Dreykov (Ray Winstone – The Departed).

The early stages of this film have Shortland’s DNA all over them. When it comes to directing Shortland normally prefers gritty dramas and early on it feels like Black Widow is going to be more like an episode of Alias or La Femme Nikita than anything we have ever seen in the Marvel universe previously. To be honest that look and feel suited what kind of film Black Widow should be and it was almost disappointing when the film seemed to capitulate about halfway through and become yet another all action and very little plot clog in the Marvel machine.

That is not to say that Black Widow is not an enjoyable film – it is to a certain extent. But you would have to say that the clichéd ending to the film makes it an average film rather than the brilliant film that could have changed Marvel forever if it had continued with the Shortland hard-edge that the film had during the open scenes. Most of the disappointing aspects of Black Widow lay with the screenplay – the finale is derivative of the end action sequences of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and introduces us to a villain that wouldn’t be out of place in one of the lamer James Bond films.

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On the plus side though are the acting performances. Johansson shows that she deserved her own Avenger film a lot sooner with a performance that shows both heart and pure action skills no matter what she has to do during a fight sequence. David Harbour steals the show with his comedic timing while Florence Pugh puts in a brilliant performance and it is exciting to know that we get to look forward to her character returning in Hawkeye later this year. Eager fans will notice that the post-credit scene with Black Widow strongly shows how she will enter into the Hawkeye series.

While some people feared that Shortland’s style of filmmaking would not fit the Marvel universe the truth is that her style almost pulled off one of the best Marvel films to date… it’s just sad that it was pulled back by her overly Marvelised ending. The film does hold up due to the acting performances of its leads but it could have been so much better.

Black Widow is currently available on Disney+ and will be released in Phuket cinemas on July 29th.


David Griffiths has been working as a film and music reviewer for over 20 years. That time has seen him work in radio, television and in print. You can follow him at www.facebook.com/subcultureentertainmentaus

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