Black Widow is now streaming on Disney+Hotstar after a delay of more than one year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Directed by Cate Shortland, and starring Scarlett Johansson as the protagonist, Black Widow also stars Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, Olga Kurylenko, Ray Winstone, William Hurt and David Harbour.
It sets off post the events of Captain America: Civil War and before the post credits scene of the same, fitting in a tight timeline. The movie begins with a flashback from Natasha Romanoff’s childhood, showing a suburban American family living a normal day when the movie decides to part from the routine.
The start is intriguing and one of the rare times in the movie when the emotions of Natasha are focused upon before she gets side-lined later in the plot.
Natasha or the Black Widow picks up from her parting with Tony Stark in Captain America: Civil War and goes on to be an agent lying low. As she leads a life of solitude, a certain chain of events lead her back to her past, before defection to the S.H.I.E.L.D and she meets with the ‘family’ she once had.
The movie takes the audience to some scenic views with intense action shots and the expected marvel humour. The plot can be enjoyed as a typical action flick. The jokes are simple yet funny, and the chemistry between the leads Natasha and Yelena works out, despite beginning on an iffy note. However, Marvel fails to capitalise on a villain yet again and rushes through the development of their plot.
Standalone, the movie is worth watching as a welcome break from superpowers. However, it fails to do justice to the Marvel theme. It feels a little too late with the obvious bad guy and repetitive action sequences.
While on one side, Marvel really teased creativity with the advent of TV shows such as WandaVision, Loki and What If…? On the other hand, Black Widow is straightforward and predictable. In their defence, it was to release in 2020 and maybe the punch would’ve been a shade better.
Scarlett Johansson delivers a good performance and pulls off the action shots comfortably, which is also unsurprising given her long stint with the character. Many of her frames feel reminiscent of the previous Marvel movies. The plot forces itself to give Natasha familial links that could later be used with convenience. In doing so however, they end up making her a side character in a movie about her. There is hardly any focus on her personal emotions, and a few forced lines and the villain subplot weakly try to give her character some depth.
Florence Pugh does justice to her role, which is intriguing and has substance. She gets aligned with her character and delivers a convincing performance, without being overshadowed by Johansson.
Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff has fewer scenes, yet they seem impactful and well nuanced, almost natural.
David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov, the father-figure to the sisters, fits well into the role of the ignorant father but lacks a significant character. He seems to be there just for the sake of it and looks under-utilised.
Ray Winstone as the Russian General Dreykov and head of Red Room plays his part well and has the air of a controlling general. As a viewer, you tend to feel a certain hatred towards him in just the first 15-odd minutes as he talks.
The spy flick turns out to be entertaining. The plot is simple and straightforward, save for the turnaround in the end, which gave the movie a break from the predictability that was present on many instances. The climax scene seem stretched and some of the special effects seem to be poorly executed, something which is unexpected from a Marvel flick. It leaves the viewer wondering about everything that the movie could have done better in order to become much more than what it is now.
All in all, Black Widow is a fair movie that was released too late and failed to give Natasha the farewell she deserved.
Director: Cate Shortland
Story: Jac Schaeffer and Ned Benson
Screenplay: Eric Pearson
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, David Harbour, Olga Kurylenko, Ray Winstone, William Hurt