Movie Plot – Black Widow: A film about Natasha Romanoff, The Black Widow, in her quests between the films Civil War and Infinity War.
Director: Cate Shortland
Writers: Eric Pearson, Jac Schaeffer, Ned Benson
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz, Ray Winstone
Finally, the Black Widow is here!
Black Widow is very skilled in all kinds of martial arts and acrobatics, and it was about time she got her own movie. In previous Marvel films, Black Widow always had to settle for a supporting role. In other words, she never got the chance, attention or depth that she actually deserved.
With Black Widow from director Cate Shortland, the Russian heroine finally gets a solid backstory, where we get more insight into her thoughts and motivations. Given the events in closing Avengers: Endgame, it makes sense that we’d have to go back in time for that; to be precise, to the moment when Natasha Romanoff has only just violated the Sokovia Accord. Commander Ross and his armed men have opened the hunt for her, but around the same time, a very different specter from Romanoff’s past also presents itself: Taskmaster.
Who or what lurks behind this skull mask is not that hard for the observant viewer to guess, but the nice thing is that this villain is linked to Romanoff’s traumatic past and therefore feels just a bit more tragic than is usual within the Marvel universe.
Our hero tracks down a dangerous figure she remembers from her childhood in Russia. Along the way, after years, she reconnects with her younger sister Yelena (Florence Pugh), who has just torn herself from the clutches of the villain. He has very nasty methods that keep a whole army of dangerous women in his grip, including one very deadly one in particular. To put an end to this, Natasha needs help from her step-parents, who were once Russian spies in the US.
Ray Winstone, by the way, plays Dreykov, the founder of the mysterious Red Room program, in which young girls are trained (or rather programmed) into mindless killing machines. Furthermore, Dreykov is on his guard because there is a neutralizer of red gas in circulation that can disabuse ‘his’ girls in one fell swoop.
The pretty serious Romanoff is not the easiest Avenger to put in a movie of her own. She’s not as smart as Iron Man, not as supreme as Captain Marvel and doesn’t have as remarkable a history as Captain America. Still, they managed to give her an interesting background and make it a movie with the mix of humor and drama we’ve come to expect from Marvel. This is due to the introduction of her family with Pugh as the unworldly super soldier, Rachel Weisz as her stepmother and the hilarious David Harbour (Stranger Things) as her stepfather and Russian counterpart to Captain America.
Actress Florence Pugh is on a roll as Yelena, Natasha’s cynical “sister,” who never feels too shy to criticize her companion’s posturing superhero poses. But it is ultimately David Harbour who gets the most laughs. Harbour plays the role of Alexei, an aging powerhouse who occasionally tries to squeeze his fat paunch into a Red Guardian outfit and is damn proud of it too. In addition, he also doesn’t seem to care about anyone but himself.
Her last movie
As a stand-alone adventure within the MCU, Black Widow does a fine job. In the midst of her fragmented family, we get to see Natasha from a whole different side, and so by the end, you have a more complete picture of this fearless warrior. This makes for a rather double-edged feeling, knowing how things end for her. But thanks to Florence Pugh as Yelena, there is also hope for the future!
One of the biggest letdowns in this movie was the camerawork during action scenes. Usually, Marvel does a great job at showing how their hero fights. However, this time, the pacing is too fast to follow and makes it less enjoyable. Sometimes it better to slow the pacing down to see the full picture of it and not just glimpses of every corner. Now that doesn’t mean the action is terrible because you still get to see some incredible scenes!
Overall, I enjoyed Taskmaster and her wide skillset. It’s pretty cool to see a villain use our heroes’ famous fighting style. I wished I’ve seen more of her during the movie, but it’s okay.
Black Widow is anything but a light interlude within the Marvel universe. We get complicated family dynamics, traumatizing Soviet practices and exciting intrigue. But there’s also room for lightheartedness, not to mention a lot of action.