Black Widow finally gets her solo movie

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How does Marvel write a high-octane espionage superhero adventure? Exactly like you wouldn’t expect. 

Much of Black Widow’s past is shrouded in mystery in the MCU. For comic readers, we know a lot about it, but never enough. The Black Widow movie attempts to amend that for the movie viewers.

In short, this is ambitious. What you have is a super spy story filled with espionage and intrigue. Blended with a dysfunctional family drama. Sprinkled with a bit of action/adventure. All this with a story about recovering from the trauma that she’s basically been put through her whole life. 

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Having taken $80m at the US box office, Marvel’s latest hit has also earned more than $60 million through Disney Plus streaming around the world. (If you don’t want to pay, it’ll be free to all subscribers Oct. 6.)

The first solo outing for Natasha Romanova/Black Widow played by Scarlett Johansson is a lot of fun to watch. It’s got a darker tone than what Marvel has put out so far, as was needed for telling the tale of a young girl kidnapped by a Russian super soldier spy program that trains her to be a super assassin. Set between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, it was the time when the Sokovia Accords caused the team to temporarily split and figure stuff out.

With a stellar cast consisting of David Harbour, Rachel Weisz, and Florence Pugh, who are Natasha’s spy family, this has some beautiful moments. 

It’s honestly great to see Pugh do this, I last saw her in Fighting with my Family, which as a pro-wrestling fan was a lot of fun to watch. The on-screen chemistry and sisterly banter is infectious and hilarious. Seeing as how Natasha dealt with her trauma through becoming stoic and cold, Yelena did it through humour. 

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David Harbour is absolutely a joy to watch. As Red Guardian you get this big bear like superhero who basically just wants to party. That man is a scene stealer.

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Weisz has less of a showboating role, and more voice of reason/brains of the operation. She rounds of the crew beautifully.

Of course the Marvel big budget effects make this a stunning spectacle to watch, beautiful set pieces, and stirring scenery.

However, it’s not all fun and games.

Marvel has had it’s share of storylines, villains, and underwhelming action since the onset of the current MCU with Iron Man back in 2008, and sadly Black Widow too falls victim in some areas.

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While I absolutely love Taskmaster, the MCU version of him was severely underutilised. He is fighting for relevance in the film more than he’s fighting the characters. Which is disappointing, he makes a great villain in the comics. As someone with photographic reflexes, he can copy any fighting style, allowing him to be possibly one of the best martial artists in the MCU.

What is fun though is trying to guess which hero he’s emulating in the fight sequence.

One of my biggest problems was the tiresome cheesy empowerment messages that they do with female superheroes. I honestly wish they would do better by these heroes, who are incredible characters with great comic book history. I’m all for the message, just do it better than cliches. 

The verdict?

While it doesn’t live up to the cosmic proportions of Infinity War, Endgame and the like, it proves it’s a big screen movie, and not just a Disney+/Direct to video watch. The story is so so, but it is still a lot of fun to watch. It feels like you took James Bond, Jason Bourne, Mission Impossible, and dumped them together to build a superhero story. Which honestly is exciting. 

Definitely worth watching for the four stars that make up the lead, and their chemistry alone.

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