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Natasha Romanoff: A Daughter. A Sister. Avenger.

It’s been two long years since we last saw a Marvel Studios film due to the pandemic. Movie releases were pushed back too many times. Debates whether blockbuster movies should be released on demand via Disney Plus or in theaters arose. Thankfully fans craving for Marvel content were blessed with the final season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the premiere of the first three Marvel Studios-produced series on Disney Plus namely WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki. Now, Natasha’s time has come for her own solo film. Was it worth the wait?

Following the events of “Captain America: Civil War” in 2016 and before the events of “Avengers: Infinity War,” Marvel Studios makes its much-awaited comeback to the big screen with Black Widow. In this film, we follow Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) who is on the run as a fugitive from defying the Sokovia Accords. Nat’s solo adventure introduces us to newcomers to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova, Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff, and the Russian super-soldier Alexei Shostakov also known as Red Guardian played by David Harbour from Stranger Things.

The film in my opinion is one of the top-tier solo films in the MCU. Black Widow is filled with many action sequences from start to finish. The stunts were brutal from the car chase in Ohio to the car chase in Budapest to the final battle at the Red Room. The movie also has a lot of emotional moments. I honestly sobbed whenever I heard Yelena and Natasha whistle. The reunion of Nat, Yelena, and Alexei with Melina was such a heartfelt moment.

In addition, the editing and cinematography of Black Widow are superb. However, there was this part in the film wherein it was pretty obvious that they filmed it at a soundstage with a green screen or blue screen. To be more specific, this was the part before Natasha jumped to give Yelena a parachute. It really did not affect the film in a big way though. Director Cate Shortland did an excellent job in leading the production team and cast for this film. The soundtrack accompanying the film truly represents the storylines and the characters.

With regards to the antagonists of the film, we were introduced to Dreykov played by Ray Winstone, and Taskmaster by Olga Kurylenko. Their performances were great. However, in terms of the reveal and all, it did not have any “wow factor.” It lacks bearing especially for the Taskmaster one. I’m really fine with gender-swapping characters from comics to film/TV though. Unlike the Flagsmasher/Karli Morgenthau introduction and the Sharon Carter twist in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, I am not fully satisfied with the villains of the film. Many people have theorized before that Rick Mason played by O.T. Fagbenle was Taskmaster. I think it would’ve been great if Mason was Taskmaster, and they incorporated a betrayal or revenge storyline.

Florence Pugh was definitely a scene-stealer as Yelena Belova. She was able to showcase her range as an actress. Florence was able to balance her elements of acting regardless of the tone of the scene. The future of the Black Widow franchise is truly in good hands. I also loved the post-credits scene of Black Widow showing Yelena and Valentina Allegra de Fontaine played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. This scene solidifies the connection of the film to both The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and Hawkeye series. It teases the Thunderbolts (or Dark Avengers) team-up founded by Valentina also known as Madame Hydra. The post-credits scene also teases Pugh’s Yelena Belova appearance in Hawkeye. Fans can’t wait for Yelena to face off with Clint Barton and Kate Bishop in the upcoming series.

Many people say that it’s too late for Black Widow and that the film should’ve been done a long time ago. For me, I’d say that yes, Natasha should’ve had her solo adventure before her demise in “Avengers: Endgame.” To be honest, she also deserves a movie trilogy similar to Iron Man and Captain America. However, I think that if Black Widow was done years before or at the same time as the second Iron Man movie, her character would be just sexualized by many, and the character won’t be given that much respect.

In this film, we saw a much more domesticated Natasha. We were able to understand her context and how she truly is the soul and the glue of the Avengers. Black Widow explored themes of family, coming of age, sacrifice, and many more. The film kinda felt like a filler, and the stakes weren’t really that high given that the audience knows what happens to her character. What I also loved about Black Widow is that it did not include cameos from the original six Avengers or any big characters such as Robert Downey Jr. 's Tony Stark or Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers. While watching the film, it felt like I was watching a James Bond or a Mission Impossible film. What makes me miserable is that I only watched it with my friends on Disney Plus instead of seeing it in cinemas. Scarlett Johansson left a remarkable legacy in the MCU with Black Widow. It was worth the wait. Overall, I would rate this film an 8/10.


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