Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Movie Review: Black Widow

 Last Saturday, the family and I braved covid19 (South Korea's only at around 11% fully vaccinated, we should be getting our first shots next month) to go see Black Widow on the big screen. We took in a matinee, and about a third of the seats were blocked off for social distancing, and there were maybe only 50 or 60 guests total in the theater which seats around 200. So it was a good gamble on our part. 

Mandatory swear word notice*: There's a lot more swearing in this movie than the typical Marvel movie so far. Especially from Yelena. My 6-year-old was giggling every time she said shit, and she said it a lot! No F-bombs that I remember, though.

So, about the movie. Well, I'll try to keep this spoiler free, since it hasn't been out for a week yet. 

The movie was pretty good. I was entertained. So was my wife and older son. The 6-year old was bored by a lot of the talking parts, but was focused on screen during all the action sequences. That said, it wasn't the strongest effort Marvel Studios has put out. And that's sad, since Scarlet Johanssen deserved a strong solo movie as her Marvel swan song, IMO. I mean, it's Marvel Studios, so everything is technically well done. Solid story. Good casting. Excellent CGI and action choreography. Good acting. I felt for these characters. 

But despite that, something was lacking. I think it all stems from the fact that most movies in the MCU, and now the TV shows, all seem to be building towards something. This movie seemed like it was just looking back. Now, it IS building toward things. The post credits scene definitely shows what they are building towards. But it wasn't obvious until the post-credits scene. 

Another thing may have been that this was both a spy thriller type superhero movie, and also a family building type movie. That meant the tension in the spy segments wasn't as tight as it could have been. The family building theme got more attention. The family dynamic between Natasha, Yelena, Melina and Alexei was a lot of fun. But because of that, we didn't get really well done spy drama like in Captain America: Winter Soldier. 

It's definitely worth a watch, especially if you've enjoyed previous MCU films. But is it a must see to follow the MCU metaplot? Probably not. It is interesting that this is the first film to come out since Marvel Studios started making Disney+ shows. When the credits started to roll, I asked my 13-year old if he thought the post credit would plug Eternals or Shang Chi? Neither one seems very thematically appropriate. And ... sorry, small spoiler here ... it didn't plug either. It was a plug for an upcoming Disney+ show.

*Having a blog with the word "curse" in the title gets a lot of Google searches for "curse words in movie X" directed here.


  1. Mmm. Thanks for the review.

    We aren't quite ready to brave the (open) movie theaters yet, so I figured we might skip this one (for now). And reading this review makes me feel less bad about that decision.

    1. I think I heard it's available for streaming, if you have D+.

  2. I was surprised to find I enjoyed it but you’re right in that it doesn’t seem to make a very big impact on the rest of the canon. Where were all these high powered people, why weren’t they there to help in the last couple movies?

    As an aside, this film did a MUCH better job of empowering women and showing competent female characters whose competence isn’t dependent on a male character. After the cringe-inducing #girlboss scene in Avengers: Endgame, I didn’t think Marvel had the wherewithal to pull it off.

    1. As to your first point, the film pretty much makes it clear. One was in prison, the rest were all working for The Red Room.

      For the second, I agree that they did a good job presenting the female characters as human beings. I didn't cringe at that one shot in Endgame, but hey, we're all different.

    2. Ah, I see now you meant Infinity War and Endgame. Well, I'm sure they'll come up with something. The Defenders weren't there (due to Netflix having a freeze on the characters), but apparently a couple are going to be appearing soon in some of the TV shows. Why weren't they at the big battles vs Thanos? Where were Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne? Korg and Meek?

      I'm sure there will be some other retroactively introduced characters as well. Endgame was crowded enough anyway. I wouldn't worry about it.