Director: Cate Shortland
Date Created: 2021-07-09 00:00
It is not being said enough – Black Widow is not good.
I must admit that I walked into the theatre for Black Widow with very high expectations.
And who wouldn’t have high expectations?
Natasha Romanoff’s character from past Marvel movies is awesome and we barely get to see her life compared to the other Avengers.
You’re entitled to have high expectations. Expectations are what sell movie tickets after all.
Black Widow has one of the coolest Marvel backstories: she was raised as an assassin but decided to use her skills for good with the Avengers. So when I first heard that she was getting her own movie about 2 years ago, I was thrilled!
How was she trained to kill? When did she escape the assassin game? How many gangs must be after her life? What connections does she have outside of the Avenger bubble?
Although my last question was kinda answered with this movie, every other inquiry about Natasha Romanoff was lazily overlooked.
Black Widow takes place right after the events of Captain America: Civil War. It briefly (too briefly) recaps Natasha Romanoff's past and introduces the audience to her assassin-trained family. Together, they go on a mission to bring down the corrupt organization that created them.
To be honest, my brain is overheating trying to piece together all of my frustrations with this movie but I’ll try my best to be clear and concise on my reasons why Black Widow is probably the worst Marvel movie to date.
Why Black Widow Is Not Good
While writing, it occurred to me that this movie was never intended to be about Natasha Romanoff at all. In fact, Scarlett Johansson who plays Natasha in the Marvel movies is leaving the Marvel franchise. That’s why they needed to set up a cute, new, feisty, blonde Black Widow to take her place once she leaves. That’s why Florence Pugh, the new Black Widow, got such an endearing edit and had the least dry lines.
Ugh, that’s so annoying!! I’m just now realizing that this movie was not meant to be good, it was meant to be – “goodbye Scarlett Johansson, we can do without you.”
The intention of this movie wasn’t to create new interesting storylines. Nor was it to expand on Romonov’s character arc. Those are backburner thoughts. This movie is a set-up for more cash in the future.
This movie is a puzzle piece that has no identifying characteristics; the completely light blue piece that goes somewhere among the picture’s sky. All it does is connect one piece of the puzzle to the next. It doesn’t add any character to the puzzle itself.
You think this movie is going to be about Natasha Romanoff, the Black Widow that we already know and have grown to love but really, it’s a dry transition to a new Black Widow.
Yes, a transition is necessary and I get that Marvel is tryna stay in their bag for as long as possible but that’s not what I wanted to see. Why can’t you create an interesting story while giving a good transition? Give us more reasons to love and miss Natasha while also introducing us to someone worthy of taking her place.
More thought, care, and effort could have definitely gone into making this movie more than a Florence Pugh spotlight.
In all the past Marvel movies Natasha has always been cool, calm, confident, flirty, and a total bad*ss. She has so many layers that make you eager to learn how she became who she is. But in her own movie, instead of peeling back her layers, the movie makers made her as boring as a box of rocks. Her character felt so stale and rigid. She was the least interesting character in her own movie! Like — what??
I expected this movie to be about Natasha Romanoff. I expected to get a better understanding of where she came from, who she is, etc… and this movie didn’t do that. At all!
They stripped her of her humanity, fun-ness, and flirtiness, making it hard to connect with her as a character although, as an audience member, I was duped into believing that this movie was supposed to be about her.
They literally made every other character outshine her with her sister being the most interesting character. Then the dad, whose humor I found annoying, like writers were trying too hard for a laugh. And the mom who – like, I literally don’t care about any of them. Their family chemistry felt artificial, forced, and unnecessary.
My thing is, you don’t need to dim Natasha’s light just so her sister can have the stage. I came to the movie to see more of the Natasha Romanoff that I adored in other Marvel movies. This movie didn’t deliver on that simple premise of character consistency.
Marvel has got MONEY, so basic film quality and editing better look amazing – which it did. No complaints there. But after some time, the same old fight scenes, guns, arrows, cooly walking away from a fire, escaping jail, mind control – they become repetitive. If you’ve seen a Marvel movie before, it’s nothing new so it’s no longer enticing.
It’s how these different elements are pieced together that make the Marvel movie spectacular and Black Widow was haphazardly glued together with Elmer’s and duct tape. Not a good look. Not an exciting feeling. Boring.
This haphazard, neglected structure revealed itself in the shaky pacing of the film.
The beginning was fast-paced and the rising action felt good. But then, all of a sudden we’re sitting and talking, discussing things that should have been shown on screen.
Instead of showing us Natasha’s fascinating upbringing like the beginning of the movie teased, they just showed us some disconnected clips during the opening credits. Like no! That’s what we wanna see in more depth.
On top of that, they talked about it in some dry dialogue. Like, “Remember when we were in camp and they took out our uterus?” “Remember training in the Red Room?” No! Don’t talk about it! Show it!
I don’t want this sappy, undercooked story of how your old assassin family came back together. I don’t want this underwhelming dollar tree Incredibles-wanna-be narrative on how your family (too easily) took down the (surprisingly weak) Red Room. There were no twists, no turns, no suspense, and no visceral emotions associated with the outcome of this film.
It was all too unpleasantly predictable and not exciting to see the story unfold.
It’s Half-Heartedly Feminist
Why are all the female superhero stories the worst? Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman… those are the only two I can think of right now… there are not a lot of them…
It’s like they try too hard to be feminist and promote female empowerment to the point where it hinders an authentic story. Again, don’t talk about it – just show it. Just show a strong woman and I feel empowered.
In the Red Room, marginalized women specifically are mind-controlled to do what this old white man says. Natasha and her family fight to give these women autonomy over their bodies and over their lives.
It felt like a last-minute attempt to say something profound with this movie and the whole thing felt really undercooked. There are complexities to how society views gender roles. I know it’s strange to see women do the saving but strange is interesting. So make it dynamic, make it interesting!
Rather, creators quickly throw in a broad feminist theme and cool combat moves. Bam, a female superhero movie. We pleased the masses.
It’s annoying cuz it feels like they don’t want us to enjoy seeing powerful women. Someone is purposefully putting the least effort into female superhero stories.
Natasha Romanoff is a mortal. She’s highly skilled but at the mercy of death just like any other normal human being. So tell me how???!!?? —
— She got into not one, but TWO fatal car accidents – I’m talking about multiple flips, skids, and fires – and came out without a scratch. She literally hops up like she is ready to run a marathon. No! Sis, you need a cast. At least 1 cast.
Another thing that irritated my soul – when Natasha banged her head on the table to subvert the mind control…
Now, I don’t know much, but I’m pretty sure severing a specific nerve requires a precision you can’t get by breaking your nose and giving yourself a concussion.
Then afterward she just snapped her bloodless nose back in place like it was nothing.
The neurology of that was just so distractingly incorrect.
Now, let me get super petty – I didn’t like the random braids in her hair.
You are an assassin. When did you have the time to put random braids in your hair? Where did you find the rubber bands to secure your ends? It’s very impractical. And on top of that, it looks wiggy and fake.
I’m upset and disappointed.
The build-up for an incredible character backstory and the two-year build-up for an incredible movie honoring Natasha Romanoff completely pushed her to the sidelines instead.
If you had expectations of this film that were unmet, you have the right to be upset because this is not an isolated movie. We were falsely made to believe that this movie would be an exciting origin story of the baddest, most beloved, yet the most neglected Marvel Avenger. She’s one of the only Avengers without her own movie and once she gets one, it’s not even about her.
Gosh, I’m annoyed.
Definitely, my least favorite Marvel movie because I was so excited for this. And honestly, I think that even if I had no expectations, I still wouldn’t have liked this movie very much.
Black Widow should have been so much more. I wanted a dystopian feel where you’re putting young women into high-pressure situations to become heartless killers. Manipulation, deceit, maneuvers like I’ve never seen before.
Guess I’ll have to read the comics to see what this movie should’ve been.
Are you as disappointed with Black Widow as I am? Let me know in the comments below!
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Peace, love, and lots of popcorn,