After a hiatus and three television shows, Marvel has finally returned to the silver screen. Black Widow has been long awaited due to its delay. The fate of the titular character, which if you don't know then you are one of a minority, also left me wanting more from Johansson's Russian assassin. Black Widow was always more of a character rather than a CGI punching bag since she is one of the few without laser beams. So coming into this, I was expecting a movie rich with character building moments and tense lowkey action pieces. At its best, I wanted a feature length version of the stairwell fight in Atomic Blonde. Oh what an optimistic fool i was.
After a tense opening where we find out Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) had a Russian spy family in America, we flash forward to Civil War era Black Widow, on the run from the U.S. Government. While hiding out in Norway, she receives a mysterious package from her long presumed gone sister Yelena, played by a cheeky Florence Pugh. They will have to work to reunite their strange pseudo-family, consisting of Alexei (David Harbour) and Melina (Rachel Weisz), and take down the evil Dreykov (Ray Winstone) and his army of black widows.
I thought it was shockingly bad. Marvel seems to have begun a transition into smarter story telling. Wandavision conformed to the marvel checklist in its final episodes but definitely offered something new. Meanwhile, Loki worked not only as a Marvel product but as an effective series on its own. Black Widow, on the other hand, feels like a colossal step back. It is as if director Cate Shortland has used the timestone to revert back to early Thor days, where the perfect Marvel formula hadn't yet been discovered.
The spy thriller I so desperately wanted came through in the opening scene which left me feeling hopeful. i was genuinely exhilarated. After a gritty mysterious credit sequence, the odds were looking promising. Sadly, after some of your typical Marvel exposition, we find ourselves in an immense soviet helicopter in a Siberian snowscape planning a daring heist from a top secret prison. The whole of idea of Black Widow being a deadly assassin who was taught to act from the shadows is gone. The red glow of the marvel logo illuminates every corner of the film, leaving no room for subtly. Before you know it, we are in the sky in a floating hidden fortress and Ray Winstone is trying his best with a Russian accent. I laughed at every explosion. This whole film feels like such a misstep and fatally misunderstood perception of a much loved character. Now where is that timestone? I have a movie to un-watch.