Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh play Natasha and Yelena in Marvel’s “Black Widow”.
Going through the reviews of “Black Widow,” there’s one thing critics agree: Natasha Romanoff should have been on a solo adventure years ago.
Part origin story, part swan song, the film explodes with kinetic fight sequences and skillful transitions between spy thriller and family comedy. “Black Widow” is probably the last Scarlett Johansson fans will see in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Her character’s fate was sealed in “Avengers: Endgame,” rendering the stakes of the film seemingly non-existent and imbuing the film with a bittersweet melancholy.
“Black Widow” takes place in the space between “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War”, giving audiences a solid explanation for the titular hero’s whereabouts after fleeing authorities for raping the Sokovia accords.
While in hiding, Natasha meets her “sister” Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), another member of the Red Room, a top secret Soviet brainwashing and training program. The couple enlist their “parents,” two Soviet spies who acted as the daughters’ mother and father on a mission in the 90s, to dismantle the Black Widow program that turned them into murderers.
The film hits theaters Friday after a 14-month delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it is possible that it will record the highest ticket sales for an opening weekend since the health crisis closed theaters for months last year. Advance ticket sales have been buoyant, according to Fandango.
It will also be available for an additional fee through Disney + Premiere Access.
Disney’s “Black Widow” currently holds an 82% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes out of 213 reviews. Here’s what the critics had to say:
Angie Han, Mashable
“Black Widow” is “blessed with both muscle action and endearing warmth,” Angie Han wrote in her review of the film for Mashable.
“With relatively few superpowers or even super gadgets in play, the action sequences tend more towards the kind of vehicle chases and melee combat you might see in a Mission: Impossible or James movie. Bond, as opposed to the more overtly fantastic depictions of a Thor or Spider-Man movie, ”she said. “It’s for the best.”
Han praised the film’s action sequences, but noted that the final climatic action sequence follows a similar path to previous Marvel films. Namely, the presence of an “extremely expensive element of decoration but of a disappointing credits which flattens any nuance or complexity into a simple good against bad framework”.
Balancing the action is the family dynamic between Natasha, her “sister” Yelena and her “parents” played by Rachel Weisz and David Harbor.
“You can just make out the form of a family if you squint your eyes, which of course is the part that hurts enough that you care deeply about what happens to all these people and their relationships in the end,” Han wrote.
Read the full Mashable review.
Florence Pugh plays Yelena in Marvel’s “Black Widow”.
Dana Stevens, slate
Dana Stevens describes herself as a “passionate theater-goer but generally indifferent to Marvel”. So when she says “Black Widow” is “an unexpected reminder of why big screens and comic book superheroes go so well together,” that carries weight.
Stevens praised the dynamic between Johannsson and Pugh, who present a true sibling chemistry on and off screen.
“Johansson brings new layers of vulnerability and self-doubt to a character who doesn’t have much to do but takes these poses for too long,” Stevens wrote. As Pugh proves she’s the golden daughter of casting directors everywhere for a reason: she can nail any emotion from fierce determination to childish destitution and explode off screen energetically in the footage. action, while speaking with a Russian accent which, while I can’t speak for its precise fidelity to reality, is both believable and consistent throughout the film. “
A post-credits sting features Pugh as Yelena, signaling that the young starlet will be returning in future installments of the MCU.
“I think I can say for the first time in years about a Marvel property that the next chapter can’t come soon enough,” Stevens said.
Read the full Slate review.
Matt Singer, ScreenCrush
“Black Widow” may be Natasha Romanoff’s first solo Marvel movie, but it’s more of an ensemble piece, writes Matt Singer in his review for ScreenCrush.
“Pugh’s Yelena [is] the co-responsible and [the] character who undergoes the most important arc in history, “he said.” Once Harbor and Weisz are added to the mix, they all steal scenes from Johansson, which maintains an air of detachment perplexed as the solid center of this surreal family reunion. “
“’Black Widow’ functions less as a showcase for the main character and more as a sneaky introduction for Pugh, who is hilariously hilarious like the deeply cynical Yelena,” he added.
For those wondering if they should pay a ticket and get to the theater or shell out $ 30 to see “Black Widow” at home, Singer reminds readers that Marvel’s budget for its theatrical releases is way above that. of its Disney + productions.
“If you found that the action of Marvel’s small screen productions was a bit lacking, you shouldn’t have that problem here,” he said. “There’s a reason Disney waited this long to release the movie. It clearly wasn’t cheap to produce.”
Read the full ScreenCrush review.
Scarlett Johansson plays Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, in Marvel’s “Black Widow”.
Disney | wonder
Clarisse Loughrey, independent
The close-combat action sequences, emotional undertones, and cheeky comedic moments of the film are overshadowed by one question: Why is Marvel telling this story now?
In the wake of “Avengers: Endgame,” Disney released three Marvel shows on its streaming platform. Each dealt with the aftermath of the Avengers’ fight with Thanos and explored what would happen next. “Black Widow” backtracked. Her only turning point is a post-credit scene that suggests Yelena will take on the role of Natasha in future MCU adventures.
“Of all the heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow who deserves the biggest apologies from her creators,” Clarisse Loughrey wrote in her review of the film for Independent.
“Within a decade, she was treated as a number to drool over (the actor herself criticized the hypersextualization of her character in 2010’s ‘Iron Man 2’), dubbed a monster for not not being able to conceive and then killed without even the dignity of a funeral in ‘Avengers: Endgame’, ”she wrote.
“The emotionally bruised, steel-thighed Russian agent, also known as Natasha Romanoff, has been carved out like a porcelain doll over years of poor screenplay writing… At least now, after all this time, she finally has her own movie. “
Like many critics, Loughrey’s review points out that “Black Widow”, while a welcome addition to the MCU, “came a little too late.”
Read the full Independent review.
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal owns Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango.