Black Widow arrives on Disney+, here’s our review

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Having built out the MCU Universe for over a decade, Marvel Studios’ new film Black Widow has been another box office success. Fans have demanded for Scarlett Johansson’s own solo film as Agent Natasha Romanoff ever since her first appearance in Iron Man 2 (2010). Now, the movie will finally be streamed on Disney+ tomorrow, October 6. But for those who haven’t yet watched the movie, is the film still worth seeing?

Well, yes and no.

It is hard to say whether or not the film was ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ In fact, its controversial makeup is exactly what contributes to the difficulty in giving a simple black-and-white review. 

Before moving onto the controversy, it is important to note some of the few things the film does well. Black Widow comes with a huge load of action scenes. Plenty of scenes in the film stress Black Widow’s hand-to-hand combat skills, advanced martial arts, and acrobatics (with much less sci-fi action going on). 

Additionally, actress Florence Pugh’s Yelena, Black Widow’s younger sister, shines in the spotlight. In fact, some fans even argue that her character stole Romanoff’s thunder. Agent Romanoff and Yelena share a sister-like bond where Yelena acts as the younger and more immature sibling. The character dynamics are emphasized well, making it hard not to appreciate Yelena’s humorous sarcasm and overall presence in the film. 

Lastly, previous Avengers films always brought up something called the “Budapest mission” involving Black Widow and another Avengers character named Hawkeye. This film finally explains that mission in greater detail.

However, this movie unfortunately does come with a myriad of downfalls. To be concise and avoid bombarding a pouring amount of criticism, this review is broken down into two main groups: captivation and fan-tailored amusement park film.

  1. CAPTIVATION:

The characters, with the exception of Yelena, were not interesting or appealing at all to the audience. They really felt shallow and just temporary pawns that Marvel used to set up either for future films or just for plot convenience’s sake. While the movie does try to explore each character’s background story to emotionally connect the viewers with these characters, many of these intended feelings were thrown away because of the script. As soon as a scene gets too moody or more serious, Marvel quickly inserts a joke to avoid becoming too melodramatic. These were included in the scripts for intense car chases (where you need to have the audience engaged in intense moments of increased adrenaline), and even in family argument scenes where things are supposed to get real. 

This situation is similar to the (arguably) forgettable villains in previous Marvel films. Characters such as Red Guardian, Rachel Weisz’s Melina Vostokoff, and antagonist Ray Winston’s General Dreykov have little to no impactful emotion to the main plot. None of these actors are at fault; they are all marvelous and extremely talented actors who deserved a better spotlight. 

  1. AN AMUSEMENT PARK FILM:

One controversial opinion over Black Widow is that it falls as a good candidate for legendary film Director Martin Scorsese’s criticism of Marvel films: that they are nothing more than amusement parks rather than actual narrative films. Black Widow felt as if Marvel had thrown together everything that the fans wanted in an action film and left it off at that. What was left was a surreal, Frankenstein-like result.

One of the biggest things that reviewers caught onto but didn’t underscore enough is the movie’s generic plot. The movie itself did not even cover much of Black Widow’s past. Only the beginning covered her childhood but leaves nothing else for viewers to digest. Straight off the bat, the film introduces the concept of mind control. And when there’s mind control, there needs to be an antidote administered. On top of this, General Dreykov is basically a child trafficker who kidnaps female orphans and trains them to become Black Widow agents: mind-controlled soldiers who carry out his every will. The only thing that makes this plot somewhat comic-book related and not as realistic is the fact that he operates all of this as head of a fictional organization called ‘The Red Room.’ There aren’t many interesting plot details in this, and neither is the antagonist. 

There is also an excessive number of plot conveniences throughout the film, making this feel like a Marvel fan-tailored amusement park. There are so many plot conveniences that audience viewers could map out the rest of the film with little to no trouble in just three parts: Black Widow faces an enemy using mind control from her past. Then, she goes out to search for allies who may know where this enemy’s hideout is located. Finally, she finds him and ends the game. Nothing else happened along the way, making the movie overall feel boring, predictable, uninteresting, and certainly not unique at all.

Overall, while definitely not a flop, Black Widow is mostly a mediocre movie that can’t be worthy of being recognized as a major blockbuster. However, if you are looking to spend a night watching a film on Disney+ with good action sequences (and nothing more than that), this would be a good choice.  

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