Time’s up for ‘Black Widow’ - GulfToday

Time’s up for ‘Black Widow’


Scarlett Johansson. File

Gulf Today, Saleha Irfan

The last time I went to the movies was pre-pandemic, right before everything shut down. So, needless to say, I was super excited when I heard that “Black Widow” was finally coming out. And when the Marvel title music came on, I nearly jumped out of my seat with excitement (and almost spilled my popcorn in the process).

Starring Scarlett Johansson as the namesake superhero, the movie is set after the events of 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War” and before 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War.” Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, is a Russia-born former KGB assassin and a member of the Avengers. Just to recap, the end of “Civil War” sees Clint Barton/Hawkeye, Sam Wilson/Falcon, Scott Lang/Antman, and Wanda Maximoff being broken out of prison by Steve Rogers/Captain America. Natasha walks out on Tony Stark/Iron Man and that’s the last we see of her.

We were never told where Nat went after that but this movie solves the mystery. Nat tracks her ‘sister’ Yelena down, portrayed brilliantly by Florence Pugh, but it’s no happy reunion. They have a fight and only after nearly killing each other do they decide to call a timeout and sit down to chat.

Nat and Yelena decide to seek out and team up with their ‘parents,’ played by David Harbour and Rachel Weisz, to go in search of the sinister Red Room and take it down. The KGB Red Room training and sterilisation facility is operated by General Dreykov (Ray Winstone) who controls a worldwide, brainwashed network of young girls, or widows, doing their part for his bid for a global takeover.

This movie is full of action sequences and, at a point, they feel quite forced. I understand it centres on mercenaries, but it feels like that’s all the movie is: Just one fight sequence after the other. I also felt the plot was spotty at best. The movie could have spent more than five minutes on the actual taking down of the Red Room, instead of focusing entirely on the family reunion and the banter (even though it was quite funny).

That being said, the humour in the movie is top notch, as we have come to expect from Marvel films. To be honest, if there is one reason to watch this movie, this should be it. Pugh is phenomenal, whether she is creating an accidental avalanche while breaking her father out of prison, or delivering wise cracks about Nat’s superhero stance during a fight. The chemistry between Scar Jo and Pugh is perfect. From sisters to frenemies to sisters again, these two together have a remarkable onscreen presence.

Personally, this movie feels too little too late since we all know the eventual fate of Nat. She died at the end of “Avengers: Endgame.” That’s not a spoiler, that’s history, and a tragic one at that. So did we really need a backstory for this character now? Even if the movie had released at its original date (May 2020), it would have still been too late.

That doesn’t mean it is unwatchable. It can be seen as a standalone film, but for a Marvel fan and follower, the only real development in the MCU timeline was contributed by the end credit scene. I always say you can tell who the real Marvel fans are. It was a full house at the theatre but only six of us stayed behind as the credits rolled.

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