The story of the eponymous Marvel character’s early life and her relationship with her sister.
Before we get started, I want to say that I was REALLY EXCITED about this movie in late 2019, couldn’t wait for it to come out in…Spring of 2020…and we all know how that went. So a year and a half later, we’re all vaxed (at least I hope you are!) and this movie was finally released to theaters. And being a movie-loving Otter, I renewed my Ultimate Movie Pass from Regal and, mask firmly in place, went to see it. And it was LOVELY being in a movie theater again, and I’ve been going ever since…almost always middle-of-the-week, middle-of-the-day, but still. I’m lovin’ it.
But I digress.
So let me just say right here and now: I love the MCU. Not ever movie or tv show is stellar, they have dropped the ball a few times, but over all, their body of work is breathtaking. They have been making good movies and tv shows that tell stories that interlock and create a shared history and mythology, characters that viewers really care about, and stories that are (mostly) really really good. And I love nothing better than to head to my local emporium des movies to see whatever the new one is, knowing that at the very least I’ll be entertained with an interesting, fun, well made action film with good characters.
And speaking of characters, this movie…was problematic.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR.
This is a prequel. And that poses big problems for the writers, because I think prequels are the hardest thing there is to write effectively. The audience (mostly) has already seen the movie that tells us what happens to this character (she died in Infinity War), and we’re all watching for continuity errors (given that the MCU is based on alternate timelines impinging on our own, but if that happens it better be for a good reason…). Black Widow’s antecedents wouldn’t have any of that, so whatever we learn about her is more of a memento mori than character growth, since (at least for me) her impending doom overshadowed the story.
It takes place after Civil War, and has flashbacks to her past; the basic plot is that the people who trained her control a bunch of other Black Widows all over the world, and Natasha and her adopted family must stop them.
Now, it was a good story, and when (as I do every few years) I have my next MCU binge and watch all the movies and TV shows in order (just the good ones…I’m looking at you, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) then this will fit in nicely after Civil War, and might work better in that context.
Also, I did really like Florence Pugh as her sister, and evidently there is a movie coming up to showcase her as the lead in a group of anti-heroes…not only would I be glad to see that character again, but it would cement this movie more firmly in the MCU as her kickoff rather than a fond look back at a part of Natasha Romanoff’s life and career.
Another shout-out to Serious Honey Rachel Weisz who plays Romanoff’s surrogate mom, and who shows up to help her kick some serious booty.
Did I love it? no, but I liked it for what it was. Would I see it again? Heck yes. Want to join me?