Set between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers Infinity War, Black Widow (2021) follows Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), who is currently on the run. While she manages to find a place to stay low, she soon receives word of a situation related to her dark and haunted past, when as a young girl, she was forced to become the ultimate operative. Now, while conducting an investigation and being hunted by an unknown masked threat, she finds herself in a mystery that may be connected to her family upbringing. All Natasha wanted to do was stay low, but now she is forced back into action and will be required to deal with matters from her past.
I’m excited this character finally got her film. Thankfully, this movie delivers a better understanding of her past, especially when it comes to her family and upbringing as a spy. I found the start had moments that felt slightly vague relating to the plot, but the movie improved as it progresses. Some mysteries or elements of the plot did not feel entirely spelt out, which could be challenging for a family audience.
While still containing moments of the jaw-dropping action familiar to the Marvel franchise, Black Widow attempts to focus more on drama along with the mystery. Natasha’s past is filled with hurt and pain, which she has never had an opportunity to deal with until now, and the film is filled with touching and compelling moments. Some mysteries are predictable here, but it’s still fun to see them unfold. Performances from Scarlett Johansson are excellent, and actress Florence Pugh was also highly impressive in her role. Actor David Harbour was great as the film’s funny man and providing most of the laughs. Rachel Weisz, as always, is just lovely on-screen.
Visually, just like other Marvel films, Black Widow feels it was made for the big screen. There are plenty of moments to enjoy in the action sequences, as well as stunning locations and backgrounds. This is a darker film visually and in the plot. The audio track was, again, excellent, but I found moments of spoken dialogue challenging to absorb during crucial scenes. This could be due to the way the film was edited or perhaps because of actors putting on accents and dialogue spoken either too quickly or with a deeper voice. The film’s soundtrack is enjoyable, but sadly it is somewhat forgettable other than the well-known themes we’ve heard before.
Overall, this is a pleasing instalment of the Marvel universe. At the same time, it is not as exciting as all other Marvel films before it, but it is still fun, brainless and highly familiar. Some plot details did feel complex or vague during the film’s rocky opening, but thankfully this improves as the film progresses. Action is excellent, but it is also fast-paced and differs from the previous films with slightly less excitement and a “wow factor”. Music is pleasing but sadly somewhat forgettable, and the audio relating to dialogue sometimes felt challenging to hear. Either way, it is still an exciting film for the character, but I cannot deny I honestly hoped for something far more significant than being “just another Marvel film”.