After two years away from the big screen, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is back with its first feature film in its fourth phase. The saga takes a leap back and explores the fate of Black Widow in the eponymous film. Is this reunion worth the wait? Critical.
It’s been two years since Marvel wrote his name in red letters in theaters. After the end of its third phase, with great fanfare with Avengers: Endgame then Spider-Man: Away from Home, the house of ideas is back with the first and last solo feature of Black Widow. A recurring character in the universe since her first appearance in Iron Man 2, Natasha Romanoff opens the door to her past for a stand alone that promises to explode.
Set between the events of Civil War and Infinity War, Black Widow’s plot explores her bonds with her adoptive family. While on the run from the authorities after the Sokovia Deal affair, Natasha Romanoff sees her past resurface. His younger sister Yelena is wanted by the Red Room, a training camp for black widows. The two women must do everything in their power to destroy once and for all the organization that has operated in the shadows for decades.
With its initial premise of plunging us into the heart of a sprawling post-Cold War political plot, Black Widow has everything to seduce us. Far from the intergalactic and whimsical epics that Marvel has had for us in recent years, the house of ideas wants to reconnect with a seemingly simpler form of narrative. It has to be said that this fourth phase, which already promises to be a little less interconnected than the previous one, has the uphill task of drawing the milestones of the new super-heroic saga.
Black Widow is above all an opportunity for Marvel to offer Scarlett Johansson one final tour and explore the character’s psyche in greater detail. Cate Shortland’s feature film wanted to allow audiences to better understand the reasons that motivated the sacrifice of the black widow in Endgame.
But now, if fans have been impatiently waiting for it, this new film finally feels like it’s about to arrive a little after the battle. If visually Black Widow is more than just respectable, especially thanks to its effective and admirably filmed fight scenes, it’s on the narrative side that the shoe is pinched. With some length and scriptwriting perks, Marvel gives us the never-ending struggle of good against evil, this time against the backdrop of Russian espionage. Cartoon villains, and somewhat outdated bets, don’t allow Black Widow to be the MCU update everyone’s been waiting for.
Promoted with teasers and exclusive images, Taskmaster didn’t end up being badly announced. But eagerly awaited by comic fans, this introduction was bittersweet. Blame it on an origin story that reeks of warmth and a half-hearted scriptwriting problem. Worse, the feature film does not really exploit his extraordinary ability, namely his ability to identically reproduce his opponent’s fighting techniques.
If the film ends up doing well enough, it’s no doubt thanks to the talent of Scarlett Johansson. The actress, who has played the black widow for more than 10 years, seems to love her character very much and pays her last respects in front of the camera. The lead role suited him perfectly and especially when he faced Florence Pugh. The young actress, who is expected to continue her Black Widow title in the MCU, is living up to her legacy. Far less serious than its predecessors, this little news is a breath of fresh air and a drastic contrast to previous films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
What’s more, this is undoubtedly the greatest strength of Cate Shortland’s films. The director moved away from the hypersexualization of female characters in the comics, which is especially evident in the costume choices and camera angles, to offer a more sour reinterpretation of the universe and characters. We poke fun at the pose that Natasha Romanoff has adopted in many of the MCU films, to offer the two characters a more raw and ultimately… more effective fight scene.
From the very beginning, the adventures of Marvel characters have been a family affair. After exploring the relationship between the Asgaardian royal lineages in Thor, Marvel is interested in the human relationships that make up Natasha Romanoff. David Harbor is also very convincing in the role of a father who is undermined by his past and motivated by a desire to regain his former glory. Funny and touching at the same time, he’s reminiscent of the characters he already played in Stranger Things, without the mustache and the sheriff’s uniform.
Despite the strong arguments, Black Widow left us confused. This film deserves to be integrated into the third phase of the MCU. Knowing fateng is reserved for the main character, the emotional implications are lacking and it’s a shame. Since her debut in Iron Man 2, Natasha Romanoff has been a character that sparks viewers’ curiosity, and Cate Shortland’s films don’t do enough.