Black Widow: Movie Review

The last time we saw a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film, the whole series was supposed to take a break. Who new  by then that that actual break would take two years instead of one? "Black Widow" is the first film in Phase Four and if its any indication on what the next steps are for the MCU, then viewers should expect extremely different experiences from what we have grown accustomed to.
In 1995, super-soldier Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour) and Black Widow Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz) work as Russian undercover agents posing as a family in the United States. With them are Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) who act as their young daughters. The fake family are able to steal intel and successful;y escape to Cuba. But as soon as they arrive, Romanoff and Belova are taken away for training transforming them to highly-trained killers - to become Black Widows themselves. Years pass,  Natasha has defected to S.H.I.E.L.D. but finds herself as a fugitive due to the Sokovia Accords. When Natasha receives a surprising invite from her sister, she must face her dark past to push past what Belova seeks from her.  
Given that Black Widow doesn't really have any superhuman powers, it's no surprise then that "Black Widow"  doesn't feel like your typical MCU film. This felt like an espionage film than a superhero film most of the way. There are still crazy and superhuman ideas here (like the actual location of the Red Room) but most of the first half was very grounded especially in the context of superhero narratives. What we liked most about "Black Widow" more than the excellent fights and choreography was the dynamic between the trio of Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, and David Harbour. Their chemistry was undeniable and their characters worked well in a quirky kind of way. Belova was the perfect comic juxtaposition for Natasha's serious demeanor while Alexei was just a bumbling fake dad with a lot of heart. The weakest point for "Black Widow" in our opinion was its story. It just felt a little too safe and a little too conventional. At the end of the day, the stakes are quite low and we already have an idea on what the outcome will be - this is indeed a prequel of sorts. But even with its faults, "Black Widow" was a proper send off for Natasha Romanoff and an excellent performance from Florence Pugh to introduce a possible next main line Black Widow with Yelena Belova.  
Rating: 4 reels

Why you should watch it:
- amazing dynamic between Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, and David Harbour
- more espionage and more human than your typical MCU film

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- just felt a little bit too safe and too conventional
- there are low stakes here considering this is sort of a prequel to what we already know in other MCU films
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