Director; Cate Shortland. Starring; Scarlet Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour. Rated PG-13. Color. 133 Minutes.
Not gonna lie. “Black Widow”, the second solo female film from the MCU after the well done “Captain Marvel”, is frankly a boring movie. There is nothing horrifically bad here, but Scarlet Johassons’s solo act is a shoulder shrug of disinterest while walking out of the theater. No action sequence stands out. The family dynamic is paint by numbers. Not a single portion of this movie anybody other than a cosplay chick at Comic Con would or should remember. “Black Widow” is in the ‘meh’ category of the MCU.
Prior to her turn in “Avengers: Endgame”, Ms. Romanoff played by Scarlett Johansson is knee deep in trouble. The a-formentioned protagonist and current super hero has a mission to rescue her imprisoned father and reunite her family all while Natasha is about to enter into the arena for the all time battle against the Mad Titan Thanos.
Parents can be a pain. In an attempt to humanize the superhero, not terrible but absolutely forgettable as far as childhood scenes are concerned, we begin with Natasha and her sister being rushed out of their home on a trip to Cuba after their father storms into the house in a fury. When arriving in Cuba everyone can magically speak Russian, a common tongue in that region apparently. Suddenly the girls are torn away from their parents who, heaven forbid, are not their real blood relatives.
Cut to two decades later. Natasha is now known as “Black Widow” and a member of the world renowned crew that is “The Avengers”. She is in the dog house with the hero crew after the events of “Captain America: Civil War”. I know, but try to keep up newbies. Natasha, guns drawn, reunites with her grown sister Yelena (Florence Pugh), who is currently a well trained assassin. Side note, Florence Pugh is no doubt the standout in this mediocre affair. Every time she is on screen Pugh shines amongst a stellar cast. A budding star no doubt.
Moving on. While Natasha has been saving the world her younger sister was stuck under the thumb of the evil Dreykov (Ray Winstone), a man that brainwashes women to kill at the highest level. Fortunately this red dust stuff is able to suddenly clear out years of brainwashing. Is this over the counter or prescription?
With the sisters reunited after an awfully edited hand-to-hand throw down, the next task is at hand. That problem is literally called ‘The Taskmaster’. I will not reveal who ‘The Taskmaster’ is. Not because it is a spoiler. I simply wish you the same eye roll any logical person has when the character is revealed. Needless to say, it is not exactly a good twist.
The sisters breakout their fake father Alexie a.k.a ‘The Red Guardian’ (David Harbour) from prison. They also re-connect with their ice cold brilliant mother Melina (Rachel Weisz). Melina was a science wiz for Dreykov’s operation for years and helped groom a generation of killers. The jarred family dynamic is something many praise for a MCU movie. Myself, it felt very empty. David Harbor and Rachel Weisz are great actors, but completely miscast here. This is like Nicole Kidman randomly showing up in “Aquaman”. Stay in your lane people.
Look, “Black Widow” is not the worst thing Marvel has put on the big screen. “Iron Man 3” or “Thor: The Dark World” anyone? You will see exciting action sequences, highlighted by our hero running on the side of a building or an aerial battle involving an explosion with a helicopter. Unfortunately this movie is underwhelming. MCU president Kevin Feige tried to create a James Bond or Jason Bourne style adventure in this world of superheroes. I thought it could work too. Turns out, nope.
Suck Factor: 5 out of 7 (7 Means Your Movie Really SUCKS!)
The SUCK FACTOR. How it works. We have flipped the script on the standard rating system. If your movie is an instant classic, say “The Godfather”, you get 0 SUCKS! On the other end, if your movie is absolute garbage, say a Michael Bay movie, then you receive a straight 7 SUCKS!