The wait is over. After years of fans across the world beggingfor a solo Black Widow movie, your wish has finally come true. After first being introduced in Iron Man 2 as no more than a hyper-sexualised object of the male gaze, the development of Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff has only improved with every subsequent film she’s featured in and is now widely regarded as one of the all-time great female heroes of 21st Century cinema.
Following the dramatic events of Avengers: Endgame, this film does feel like it has come out a couple of years too late, but for anyone unaware this movie takes place after Captain America: Civil War and leads into Avengers: Infinity War. It follows Romanoff on the run after violating the Sokovia Accords and is forced to confront a conspiracy tied to her past.
The first half of this film is really good. It feels more like a spy movie than a superhero flick and has a similar vibe and tone to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, jam-packed with explosive action and kinetic fight sequences. We actually initially start with Natasha as a child and the opening scene is nicely done and gets the film off to a hot start. This is the only time we see the family altogether within the first hour.
The second half of the film when the family reunites is much more conventional Marvel. For many that is far from a bad thing, but after a more serious start I was a little underwhelmed to see the film result to a lot more humour and it dragged for me as it leads up to the inevitable bombastic third act that we come to expect from Marvel. Thankfully, this finale is well worth the wait and ends the film on a high. The final showdown in the sky is a thrilling climax and a joy to see on the big screen.
Scarlett Johansson is a fantastic actress, who only recently was double nominated at the Oscar’s for her excellent work on Marriage Story and Jojo Rabbit, and she once again shines in the titular role. She keeps Natasha relatable and likeable without ever losing the swagger and confidence that comes with her character. David Harbour (Stranger Things’ Hopper) is a blast as Alexei Shostakov but I wanted to see more from him as Red Guardian, whilst the best of the new characters is easily rising star Florence Pugh (Midsommar) as Natasha’s sister Yelena Belova. Pugh is a lot of fun here, making jokes about Natasha’s superhero stance is a definite highlight, and she shines in the action sequences whilst also adding some surprising depth to her character.
The only disappointment is the villain. Taskmaster looks the part and feels like a genuine threat to our heroes but they are only really there to keep the story flowing and the main antagonist doesn’t actually appear until around 90 minutes into the movie. The less said about Ray Winstone and his accent the better.
The film does feel like nothing more than filler and a better script would’ve helped, but this is an action-packed return to cinemas for Marvel and an interesting end credits scene teases more drama and twists to come.
Verdict: Great performances and strong action helps ensure a Black Widow movie was worth the wait but a less generic plot and better villain could’ve elevated this to one of Marvel’s best solo outings.
Best Moment: Car Chase!