Sometimes we are willing to put issues aside if we have been waiting for something to occur for a good chunk of time so we can get that “payoff”. However, what happens when that “payoff” doesn’t live up to expectations? Waiting and quality do not go hand and hand. Just because we waited for Black Widow doesn’t make it a great Marvel movie. We have to be careful to accept everything a studio sends our way as we navigate our way through the pandemic towards this new normalcy. Here’s what we can say about Marvel’s latest entry into the MCU. The film is on par with Antman and The Wasp, an aggressively average chapter in MCU which is meant to be more of a bridge than an actual stand-alone film.
The film is a prequel that fills in the blanks about what Natasha was up to during that time period we didn’t see her in Captain America: Civil War. We are introduced to her sister Yelena (Florence Pugh), and her “parents” Red Guardian (David Habour), and Melina (Rachel Weiz). Regarding a premise, it’s essentially Natasha looking to tie up some loose ends and, in doing so, realizing that the person responsible for the Black Widow program is still very much alive. I guess that bomb that she detonated in his office didn’t do the trick.
The film’s action is okay, except for the opening sequence, which is vintage Marvel. Black Widow feels long, and there are certain parts in the film which could have easily been trimmed to bring that run time down from over two hours. If it hadn’t been for the efforts of Harbour and Pugh, I’m not sure exactly how this film would have faired. As much as I wanted to become invested in Natasha’s quest, I found myself indifferent to the whole thing. Too much exposition can do that to a film. Also, the actual villain in the film is more of an afterthought (and no, I’m not talking about The Taskmaster). Not developing that conflict between Natasha and the man running Black Widow was a costly error, making you wonder why a film that’s as long as Black Widow couldn’t accomplish this.
There are also some choices made in how the characters were framed, specifically The Taskmaster, which will be the source of some debate. To go any further would be a line we can’t cross without spoiling the film. Is there a post-credits scene? Yes, there’s one, so don’t miss it. Overall, Black Widow is an average experience, and for a fan of the MCU longing for new content, that might be enough.