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The Disappointment of Black Widow

Now I know how Stars Wars’ fans feel. That’s what comes to mind when I think of Black Widow. Especially, The Last Jedi.

Because while Black Widow is a very good film that I certainly recommend you watch, it could’ve been an all-time MCU classic. And, to be honest, didn’t do an essential character to its blockbuster franchise justice. And because of that, I have a lot of conflicted feelings watching this film. 

I don’t think I’m alone in my takeaway from this film. I think most people will and should like this movie. Which was definitely a necessary addition for the MCU. But a number of people will come away a bit disappointed after watching Black Widow, which has more to do with how great of a character Natasha Romanoff has been throughout the years rather than the quality of the film. Because Black Widow is most likely her swan song, her last and only solo film for the MCU. And as a fan of this character, I want to see her get the send off of a Tony Stark, of a Steve Rogers. Because she has been such an essential character to the MCU. I would say she represents conscience of the Avengers, indicative in films like Civil War

But to backtrack a bit, I remember watching Endgame. Seeing that scene where Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor confront Thanos. There’s a YouTube video that simply titles the scene “The Big Three”. And in a way, that title makes sense. Because Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America carried many of the title cards for MCU films. Whereas other original members Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Mark Ruffalo‘s Hulk didn’t have standalone films. Up until that point, I never thought about it that way: that the MCU primarily revolved around those three characters. And that’s because Black Widow is featured and just as important of a character to the MCU as “The Big Three”.

Really, if you think about it, up until the battle in New York, she gets just a much screen time as everyone else in The Avengers and is one the most interesting and mysterious characters of the group. She’s also definitely a main character in Winter Soldier and, overall, is in 7 MCU films.  Not to mention, she is one of the most badass characters throughout the entire franchise. 

Which transitions to my main issue with Black Widow. For a superhero that has gradually been given so much deserved respect throughout the years, has played such a vital role to this universe and is dead now, there was a lot riding on this one. A lot. And, to be honest, they played it way too safe in a film that really could stood out from the rest. 

In addition, overall, I don’t believe this film gave the character of Black Widow necessary closure. Now, I’ll admit this. Looking back, if I had done an article titled “Top 6 Superhero Movies That I’m Looking Forward to in 2021”, Black Widow would have been number one. Which is due to how important the film was and should have been to the universe. Exploring an essential character’s past that could explain the difficult decisions she makes in the future. Such as sacrificing herself.

But, instead, Black Widow was another solid Marvel film. There are great moments throughout, such as the first 15 minutes and the overall family dynamic between Natasha, Yelena, Alexei, and Melina. I personally enjoyed the backstory with how the Black Widows are created and how dark their pasts are. Specifically, the movie very much does not pull any punches with Yelena and Natasha’s backstory which is one of the reasons why the first scene is so good.

So the film is bold from that prospective and I think Cate Shortland did a very solid job overall. However, the action scenes are underwhelming. The stakes don’t necessarily feel as high as they should and the villains are ok but they’re kind of just there. There isn’t anything necessarily memorable about them. And unfortunately there aren’t a ton of memorable takeaways from this film. Especially in regards to the overall scope of the MCU. Aside from the very good post-credits scene at the end.

In addition, there are times where Natasha feels like a passenger in her own movie. And the surrounding characters such as Yelena are featured a bit more since she will be a factor in the MCU going forward. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since she’s a great character. But this film marks an end of an era. And it would’ve been nice to see Natasha featured a bit more prominently in her swan song. 

Especially, since the film doesn’t ever allude to her sacrifice at the end of Endgame. And unfortunately I don’t necessarily feel more heartbroken by her death at the end of this film as I did before. Which doesn’t mean the film wasn’t necessary to the MCU as we do get some good closure on Natasha’s past which has haunted her throughout the MCU. But I believe the tools were there to make this a top 5 or 7 film in the MCU. Which it isn’t. 

Once again I highly suggest you watch this film. It is a very good superhero/spy movie and is a solid addition to the MCU. And perhaps my expectations were too high because of how passionate I was about the character that is Black Widow. But the combination of a film set between Civil War and Infinity War happening in 2021 with the final product we got for a farewell for one of the best superheroes we’ve seen in cinema, it feels like too little too late.

And I like this character too much to be silent about it. Therefore, walking away from this film I couldn’t help but think that this was a movie we needed, but not the film that Scarlett Johansson and the character of Black Widow deserved. But I am excited for what’s next in store for Yelena Belova!

So what did you think about Black Widow? What were your favorite parts of the film? And was the film a great send off for the character of Natasha Romanoff? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

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Dylan FIne

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