After numerous delays, fans finally get some new Marvel content beginning in the spring of 2021. Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe kicked off with the Disney + series, starting with Wandavision. My personal favorite, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, was up next, followed by the currently airing Loki. However, one of the most anticipated projects in the film division is Black Widow, which arrives from Marvel Studios.
The 24th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is from the pen of Eric Pearson, who works from a story by Jac Schaeffer and Ned Benson. Director Cate Shortland guides Scarlett Johansson as she steps back into the role of Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow. Black Widow opens in the nineties and introduces us to a young Natasha (Ever Anderson) as she enjoys playing with her younger sister Yelena (Violet McGraw).
The girls have loving parents named Alexei (David Harbour) and Melina (Rachel Weisz); however, not all is what it seems.
We soon found out that the parents are spies on a mission whose current assignment is about to end, which means young Natasha will have to suffer separation from her family. The film then picks up after the events of Captain America: Civil War and finds Natasha Romanoff on the run and forced to confront a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past.
Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Romanoff must deal with her history as a spy along with the broken relationships that were left in her wake long before she became an Avenger. To do this, Natasha will have to reunite with those she thought were her family.
Kudos to Eric Pearson’s script and its exciting first act. Die-hard fans will appreciate seeing a military officer fail at a battle of wits with Natasha Romanoff in the film’s opening act and an early appearance by villain Taskmaster.
I also commend the casting department for choosing Florence Pugh for the role of the adult Yelena. Pugh impressed me with her natural athleticism in the Paige biopic Fighting With My Family. Pugh is a natural superheroine and never tries to outshine Scarlett Johansson. Instead, she brings her unique flavor with her version of a Black Widow.
Primarily, the film centers on the four actors, as mentioned earlier. David Harbour and Rachel Weisz provide solid supporting work in their parental figure roles to the girls, and I loved that both actors get a chance to shine in terms of the action sequences. In addition, there are also moments for O-T Fagbenle and Ray Winstone to shine as their connections to Natasha are revealed.
The film runs for 134 minutes. However, it never feels overly long. While I do not know how much of Jac Schaeffer’s story Eric Pearson used, I am sure the two were in contact. Schaeffer left the project to oversee Wandavision, and I felt that Black Widow had the same pacing, which is not bad if you like a mix of action and story.
My only real gripe with Black Widow is the reveal of the Taskmaster. I admit, though, the angle does make sense, and I understood why they choose this route. With impressive action, natural chemistry from the cast, and plenty of smiling moments for all comic book fans, make Black Widow a winner in my book.
Final Grade: B
Black Widow opens in theaters on Thursday July 8. In addition for fee the film is available to stream on Disney +.