BY GUS YEAGER
A solo film for the character of Natasha Romanoff (The Black Widow) has been long overdue. Having finally arrived after innumerable delays, expectations were high and fans were hopeful. And the resulting product was…largely underwhelming.
Rather than give the titular Russian secret agent a slimmed down spy thriller or psychological portrait of her jaded background, Marvel ground out yet another loud, painfully predictable addition to its cinematic universe. Rather than pounce on the opportunity and attempt to do something different, the MCU unwaveringly stuck to the formula. Made up almost entirely of bland, uninnovative action sequences and characters trading quippy dialogue, the Black Widow film fails to do the beloved character justice. There’s nothing egregiously wrong with the film, but those who are beginning to become disenfranchised by the Marvel way may find themselves uncompelled or even downright bored.
Working within the confines of said formula, it felt as though director Cate Shortland had very little control over the recycled story that Marvel Studios plowed through her movie without any semblance of grace or tact. The best bits of the movie were the times in which it tried to do something new, to be its own film. During these moments, Shortland showed flashes of brilliance.
Scarlett Johansson delivered her usual solid work as the eponymous heroine, and MCU newcomers Florence Pugh and David Harbour also gave commendable performances. On the whole, it isn’t terrible and fans of the Marvel Universe will likely be entertained. But don’t expect to find anything mind-blowing.