Black Widow: Movie Review

Yusuf Abdelsalam, Staff Writer

     On July 9, was released simultaneously in theaters and for streaming on Premier Access from Disney Plus. ’s time frame is set between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. The film has earned $183 million in domestic theaters so far. DIsney Plus reported that it earned $60 million worldwide in its opening weekend from streaming. 

     Foran sophomore Braden Munn watched in theaters and thought it was “alright.” Mrs. Laura Donovan, a science teacher at Foran, said her husband thought the film was “very good” after viewing it in theaters.

     The film starts with a flashback of a young Natasha Romanoff who is “Black Widow” and Yelena Belova posing as a family with Melina and Alexei played by Rachel Weisz and David Harbour respectively, two undercover Russian agents. Yelena and Natasha are taken to training in the Red Room before a melodramatic opening credits sequence shows children in the same room screaming and crying. A dreary piano cover of Nirvana’s “Smells like Teen Spirit” plays in the background. 

     These characters majorly changed since the flashback in the beginning of the film. For one, Natasha has become a jaded and highly trained former KGB assassin who’s now an Avenger. The most jarring change of all is Alexei, who goes from a nuanced father-figure in the first scene to a comical Russian super soldier named “Red Guardian”, who was put in jail. The first time he’s seen in this state, Alexei has a shaggy white beard and is arm wrestling while getting a tattoo on his back. However improbable that scenario was, it made for an interesting scene.
The film’s main villain is cowardly Dreykov, the head of the Red Room who hired Taskmaster to complete missions for the organization. Near the third act of the film, Dreykov pulls a twist so ridiculous, the viewer might question if the film was serious. 

     On a positive note, the actors gave good performances. Florence Pugh as Yelena is very fun and charismatic, sometimes outshining Natasha herself.

     The main issue with the film is it doesn’t give enough context for viewers to sympathize with darker events. Consumers have no reason to care about the evils of the Red Room or for Natasha and Yelena’s resentment towards the Red Room and her parental figures. 

     Additionally, did not mesh tones well. For example, the opening credits are noticeably darker than the majority of the film, which conveys a disconnect from the rest of the events. There’s a confusing mixture of tones whether it’s the disturbing nature of the Red Room or another repetitive, unfunny joke involving Alexei. 

     Finally, the script doesn’t know how to tackle serious issues. Melina and Alexei were redeemed for no apparent reason despite their work in the malicious Red Room.  

     The film did well enough in theaters (less than it would’ve pre-Covid) and cinema profits combined with the Premier Access on Disney Plus made it a financial success. 

     It feels like Marvel executives rushed this film’s plot and script together at the demand of fans who have been requesting it for over a decade. What makes this solo film for not worth the watch is the main character is already confirmed as dead. Whether it’s the uninteresting plot, the year-long delay, the box office numbers, or the ongoing financial lawsuit by the main star of the film, Marvel and Disney might be pondering whether this mediocre hodgepodge of a film was worth it.