It’s the movie so many of Marvel’s fanbase has been waiting for.
I am not going to say much, let’s just get into my review shall we?
A note about my #NativeNerd scoring system
When reviewing movies, I employ the decimal system to a tenth of a point. So instead of 7 stars, I might give a 7.4 out of 10. Some movies aren’t an eight but deserve a little more than a seven.
9.5 out of 10
My quick quote: “It’s the Marvel movie we’ve been waiting for, and though it’s an excellent film, I just couldn’t shake the fact that I was watching a movie of a hero that has died.”
Synopsis: At birth the Black Widow (aka Natasha Romanova) is given to the KGB, which grooms her to become its ultimate operative. When the U.S.S.R. breaks up, the government tries to kill her as the action moves to present-day New York, where she is a freelance operative.
“Black Widow” is an excellent movie. But no matter how much Marvel gilds the lily, Natasha is no longer with this world, and that was hard to let go of.
In case anyone out there is unaware, this is not a spoiler as Black Widow died in “Avengers: Endgame” when seeking to obtain the soul infinity stone alongside Hawkeye.
Black Widow was one of my favorite heroes in the Marvel Universe all throughout the past decade, and when the powers that be decided to kill off her character, I was admittedly furious. Scarlett Johansson has done an exceptional job of portraying the superhero, and specialized fighting skills have always been a thrill to watch. Scarlett Johansson always pulled off these fight moves flawlessly.
Watching “Black Widow” made me realize that there is an ultimate power in the Marvel Universe more powerful and stronger than Thanos, more powerful and stronger than the strongest creator, or other universal entities to include the Beyonder, the Celestials or any massively powerful being. Even the forces that be at the Time Variance Authority cannot hold a candle to this ultimate Marvel power.
It’s Mickey Mouse.
Or it's Kevin Feige or the Russo Brothers or anyone else who decides whether or not Black Widow or Iron Man, or Loki or any other Marvel superhero or supervillain dies. (P.S. don't miss the Disney+ series Loki, it is exceptional and streaming now.)
Look, I get it. There has to be a sense of something at stake. If every hero is immortal, what is the worry to lose something?
In my entire childhood as a Marvel comics fanatic, I don't remember a superhero dying. And though such a concept considering superheroes fought supervillains, alien brood, demon spawn and more, I can only think of one or two lesser characters that died. As a kid, I was ok with that. Is that a realistic concept? Likely not, but if we are going to get all "adulty" about it, neither is flying or adamantium bones realistic.
I dove into the comic book world to escape the pains of my childhood, where heroes always won, the fight for right was always rewarded and the truly heroic always won in the end and lived to fight another day.
Though some of these principles of a super-heroic life might have been far-fetched, I never questioned it. And dedicated myself to preserving my memories, my hopes, my dreams of one day being able to fly, to heal my wounds at super speed, and to shoot plasma bolts from my fingertips, all kept pristine behind the confines of plastic comic covers and acid-free cardboard backings.
Watching the movie
And so, with my tail tucked and sorrow felt in my soul, I embarked on the "Black Widow" journey. It really was as awesome as I expected.
“Black Widow” is a family story of sorts where a group of dysfunctional family members, each with their own set of super skills gained after meeting up 20-plus years later, must work together to battle their arch enemy. Or do they? Are they all on the same side? I am not going to reveal any spoilers in this review, but the journey, with incredibly well-done choreography and explosive interactions one grows to expect in a Marvel movie.
Inasmuch as the movie was filled with awesome fights, explosions and chase scenes, to me, the best part of this movie were the smart-aleck quips and remarks you can only find within the dysfunctional family dynamic.
My favorite moments were the small talk by Natasha Romanoff and Yelena Belova, who are both by-products of the Black Widow and Red Room assassin program. I also loved the utter lovable dorkiness of David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov aka the Red Guardian, essentially the Russian version of Captain America and the world’s first supposed super soldier.
I was surprised that a lot of the "Black Widow" history was held intact, yes, thanks to the Red Room, there were a worldwide team of young women Black Widow assassins waiting for the call to take out the next threat according to the forces that be.
The history of Yelena, Natasha's sister are respectfully pretty close to accurate in terms of the comics histories. I always appreciate such efforts.
And yes, though I grieve, I also feel some excitement for where this Marvel story will continue to go.
Is it worth the Disney+ purchase?
Yes, absolutely it is worth the purchase. I received a screener and I am still going to watch it again when the film is released though I've watched it already more than once.
One of the coolest aspects of “Black Widow” is the essence of female superhero empowerment. I also appreciated that Scarlett Johansson seemed to own her space and place in the film. It was a sense of effortlessness that I haven’t seen before. I would compare it to a professor at a university who receives tenure, and because they can no longer be fired, teaches with unforgiveness to become the best version of themselves.
The Marvel Universe, which has given us 24 films so far over the years, did something I haven’t experienced. While most films dive into the personal explorations of superheroes, this one delved into the family dynamic more than before. Or at least the family dynamic of dysfunction that I am certainly most familiar with.
I really did love the film. But throughout the collage of firefights, chase scenes, choreographed fight scenes and hilarious quips, my heart ached and my stomach felt uneasy.
Inasmuch as Marvel has pulled off another masterpiece that I will never forget and turn to again and again over the years, I felt as if I was watching a ghost.
I enjoyed the film, much like I might enjoy an old family movie of the best birthday party ever, but the guest of honor had died years ago.
P.S. Yes, there is a post-credit scene you don't want to miss.
Where to watch
"Black Widow" has an official release date of July 9, 2021 yet will be available starting July 8, 2021 in select theaters nationwide. It will also be streaming on Disney+ for subscribers with an additional $29.99 purchase price.