Movie review: 'Black Widow' is a treat for Marvel fans

Fred Hawson

Posted at Nov 21 2021 08:36 AM

Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson

In 1995, Natasha (Ever Anderson) was an 11-year old girl with green hair living with her "parents" Russian undercover agents Alexei (David Harbour) and Melina (Rachel Weiss), with younger "sister" Yelena (Violet McGraw) in suburban Ohio. One day, they suddenly had to up and escape to Cuba with SHIELD intel, where the girls were both sent to the Red Room to train to become deadly mind-controlled female assassins known as "Black Widows." 

Twenty-one years later, Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) was a fugitive of the law following the events of "Captain America: Civil War." Circumstances led her to Hungary to get her together with Yelena (Florence Pugh), who had been freed from her mind-control with an antidote. The two girls break Alexei out of jail, who then brought them to Melina. The reunited "family" execute a plot to infiltrate and destroy the Red Room and Gen. Draykov (Ray Winstone) for good.

This was a stand-alone movie for Natasha Romanoff, released after we know what happened to her in "Avengers: Endgame." Past and parallel events she was involved in were fit right in with known events of the MCU timeline. Fans of the MCU will enjoy the various references inserted as Easter Eggs within the story. One main antagonist, the Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko), mimicked other superhero powers, so her fights were a lot of fun to watch. 

Watch more on iWantTFC

We all know how seriously Scarlett Johanssen performs as Black Widow, this is after all the ninth film she's been Natasha. It was good to see her interact with new characters in this film, people whom she considered as family in her past before her Red Room days. As I knew her from "Midsommar" and "Little Women," I did not expect Florence Pugh to also be convincing as an action star, but here she was going toe to toe with Johanssen. 

David Harbour may be providing comic relief as Alexei Shostakov a.k.a. Red Guardian, but this guy is a very powerful super soldier himself. It is very welcome to see Rachel Weiss in any role and her portrayal of the ambiguous Melina Vostokoff was on point as always. A very cool and casual O-T Fagbenle played ex-SHIELD operative Rick Mason, who now helped Natasha acquire the necessary hardware for her missions. 

The action scenes were all over-the-top CGI spectaculars, with the most incredible being that long sequence of Natasha and Yelena breaking their father out of a high-security Russian prison as an avalanche was rampaging down on it. Those scenes of Yelena ribbing Natasha about her classic fighting pose were hilarious. That amazing post-credits scene with Yelena and a mysterious woman we first met in the "Falcon and Winter Soldier" Disney+ series actually chucked my rating up a full point! 

This review was originally published in the author's blog, “Fred Said.”