Over a year delayed, Marvel’s Black Widow was finally released into the wild. Disney gave it their dual release window. Meaning you could see on their Disney+ service for $35.00 or go see it in theaters. There is a lot entertaining about this entry into the backstory of Natasha Romanoff, but there is something off about it.
Directing the first Marvel female-led solo film is Cate Shortland. Most people won’t recognize her name. She has done mostly foreign films about Australians trapped in Germany. However, her only American entry is four episodes on the Showtime series, SMILF. Also, if you’re looking for big name cameos, there are none. So don’t get your hopes up.
There was once a rumor of Stark.
Before the film was in production, there were rumors that Robert Downey Jr. had a cameo in the film. Considering that he said goodbye to the character, rather adamantly, in Avengers: Endgame, it seemed rather slim or possibly recycling old, unused footage. However, there were no takers. Unless you caught the Jeremy Renner comms voice in her flashback in Budapest.
The acting was good, but I am not a fan of Ray Winstone. I considered him a decent character actor before, but his performance in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull killed it for me. Kept expecting him to say “Jonsey” during the movie. William Hurt’s character was just the heat on Natasha. If you need a pop culture reference to detail his role: the military police that would show up at the beginning and the end of The A-Team.
My chief complaint about the film is the timing. The setting takes place after the event of Captain America: Civil War, which makes sense given that she’s dead in the current timeline. However, this film felt a bit too late for many people to care. Had the film been ACTUALLY released during that moment in time, it would have a bigger impact.
At that point, she had been in one Iron Man, two Avengers, and two Captain America movies. A solo film right then would’ve been perfect. Not to mention, it would’ve given her death in Endgame a bigger emotional hit. Not to mention, while the set pieces were fun, the stakes seemed rather low. We all know when Natasha dies, so her risk wasn’t high.
About the cast of Black Widow.
The opening of the film was very impactful, and a bit brutal. These kids believing that they had a home, only to have it torn away from them. Rachel Weisz and David Harbour looked like they enjoyed their roles very much, and it came across that way. Harbour, himself, seem to love being the Russian super soldier. Florence Pugh definitely carried over some hard feelings about her “life”. Being a killing machine with deep family issues gave more emotional impact than Natasha.
Overall, I think the film suffers from being a prequel after the end of her contract. The film suffers from “will comic fans go to a female superhero movie” thought. Let’s not forget, there were two Wonder Woman films before this. Had the film come out in 2016 or 2017, her character would’ve had more baggage that led her to her ultimate sacrifice.