Black Widow – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Black Widow – Spy and Family: Marvel in the Shadows

What is it that draws us to film?  We have the excitement of crowds, the thrill of escape and the genuine like mind experience.  Going to theaters brings joy to many, especially event films.  In this review, I look at the return to theaters for Marvel.  With this film, it is a mix of an origin tale and espionage/thriller that creates a fun but fragmented journey.  Black Widow is a Marvel return within a familiar taste of action and excitement.

This story follows Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), as she tries to put the pieces together from her past.  With many things unanswered, will she be able to find her purpose again.  The filmmakers begin with the foundation of a basic origin tale through flashbacks and expositional conversations.  Within a formulaic premise, her childhood experiences rise above the outline through an approach of familial ties and humanizing of espionage tropes.  We get a genuine layer of characterization, providing the framework for the main storyline.  Once in the present, we find Natasha is living on the run because of her exploits in Captain America: Civil War.  Through some convenient storytelling tropes, Natasha is brought out of the shadows and becomes entangled with past elements (before becoming an Avenger).  She learns about the return of the Red Room, something she believed was completely eradicated.  Through conversational exposition and heavy foreshadowing, the film moves along predictable beats of car chases, hand-to-hand combats and espionage styled action stunts.  The mixture brings thrills, but it goes along that predictable beat of the Marvel formula.  As we move into the second act, we are introduced to her sister Yelena (Florence Pugh), father Alexi (David Harbour) and mother Melina (Rachel Weisz).  From this point, the story begins to connect the past with the present, bringing about a stronger dynamic of family, relationship and a path of self-discovery.

As the story moves along, Natasha begins to find herself within her forgotten family.  By slowing down to focus on building up these relationships, it provides an ominous layer of the overall sinister elements related to taking on the Red Room.  The abstract of what is a person becomes a larger context, lifting the experience above its basic tropes to being grounded within relativity.  Once this happens, all the extravagant layers rise above is visual prowess, showing the strength of Marvel’s storytelling.  Once we head into the final act, it goes along the predictable beats of ‘hero vs. villain’ within a race against time motif.  Even when predictability sets in, it is the thematic detail that makes the obvious become more human.  This leads to the typical fulfilling climax, bringing an importance of the character.  Black Widow is a good return for Marvel to the big screen.  Even with a lot of typicalness, there is enough subtle detail to lift it above the material.  If you are a fan of Marvel, comic books, spy/espionage films, this is one for you.  I think this is a fun for everyone, worth the full price of admission.  

Full Score – 4 out of 5 (Full Price)

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