More like Black Widow Presents: Florence Pugh
Matthew Brady - wrote on 08/18/21
So, after a long break of Marvel movies, with 2020 having zero Marvel properties, due to the on-going pandemic. I believe the last time we had no Marvel movies was back in 2009, but without the modern plague. It was a nice break from things and smaller movies got more of the spotlight. But now after things have calmed down a bit, Marvel felt confident to finally release ‘Black Widow’, the long waited solo movie that fans wanted since her first appearance in ‘Iron Man 2’, the fan favorite, Natasha Romanoff. Now we finally got it, and the results are...very uneven.
Before I go any further, I would like to say a massive congratulations to ‘Black Widow’ for breaking three “Guinness World Records”:
1.) The first posthumous release for a Marvel character
2.) The first female lead superhero movie ever made, because no other female led movies existed until this movie.
3.) And Asian actor Scarlett Johansson for being the first Asian superhero lead in the MCU, way ahead of the release of ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’.
OK, let’s get serious now.
This movie came out way too late. It should’ve been released immediately after ‘Winter Soldier’ or ‘Civil War’, either of the Captain America movies. The long wait for this movie is questionable at best, since we got two Ant-Man movies instead of something that people wanted.
Although, I’ve got to say, the opening credits with the cover song of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, originally sung by Kurt Cobain, playing over this chilling imagery of children being trafficked into trained assassins, which sets up a dark tone that I didn’t expect from Marvel, and it immediately got my attention. The opening credits was easily the best part of the movie, but unfortunately the rest of the movie didn’t match that tone, as it got too comical at some points and gradually fell off.
For over 11 years, we were blessed by Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of the title character and it’s sad we have to say goodbye to her once again. Johansson herself fully commits to the role once again, even though I thought she was the least interesting part of the movie. She honestly felt like a side character than anything else, which sucks because this is supposed to be her movie.
With this movie being a prequel before the events of ‘Infinity War’ and ‘Endgame’, you know Black Widow herself is most likely going to survive the movie, but that doesn’t mean she can’t get hurt, right? Well in this movie for whatever reason she’s completely invincible and barley gets a scratch on her. There’s a handful of moments where she falls from a great distance only to land safely to the ground, which was too unbelievable to not at least suffer a bruise or a cut or any type of injury. She’s not even superhuman or anything. I guess Marvel characters are like cats with nine lives.
One of the comedic reliefs of the movie is David Harbour, who’s entertaining as the Red Guardian. Rachel Weisz is also there and she’s fine. But still, I thought Harbour and Weisz Russian accents were all over the place at certain times. However, it’s nowhere near as bad as Ray Winstone’s, aka the most British man ever, who doesn’t even try at all. And I can’t shake off that Winstone kind of looks like Martin Scorsese (thanks a lot Red Letter Media).
On the other hand, the best character and actor in the entire movie belongs to Florence Pugh, pew pew pew. This shouldn’t be a shocker to anyone if you have been following her recent winning streak. While her Russian accent isn’t what I call great, but it sounded better on her since she already has a deep husky voice that suits the accent better.
Everything on a technical standpoint is always good in these movies, expect for the action scenes which I found to be disappointing, as there was nothing memorable or exciting about any of it.
The final act is where things completely went off the rails and the CGI fight scenes looked bad. The visual effects during the final battle looked like one of those "director's cut" where they never finished the scene for the theatrical release but wanted to include it on the disc for completeness.
Oh, about the shocking reveal of Taskmaster, I really didn’t care. I guess we must wait a few years for the real Taskmaster, like the Mandarin in ‘Iron Man 3’.
Also, I feel like this movie should’ve focused more on Natasha's "family" backstory, because I think that would have been more interesting, but even with the 2-hour runtime, it felt rushed somehow. Marvel has been doing this for years now, but here I found the humor incredibly distracting and took away a lot of the serious scenes that could have had potential of being hard hitting. I just wish they let some of the tension or seriousness be exactly that, instead of throwing in a cheap joke to deflate the weight of the scene.
Marvel Studios seriously needs to shake up the formula a bit, because I’m starting to lose the will to live with these movies. Please, no more “grounded, concrete looking, superhero movies”, cause it’s getting so boring.
I'm sorry for coming across as negative, but the more I write the more negative I become towards the movie, as I can’t hide my disappointment and frustration.
Overall rating: Natasha deserves better.