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First UAE review: Black Widow

reporters@khaleejtimes.com Filed on July 7, 2021

A satisfying spy thriller, not very Marvel-ish finds Husain Rizvi

From being ‘overly sexualised’ to having her own standalone film that was long overdue, Scarlett Johansson has come far to treat fans in and as Black Widow, a spy thriller that is not your usual Marvel movie.

When we say Marvel, it is all about heroes with superpowers and highly advanced tech at their disposal. Yes, Black Widow has a lot of action but is also poised with enough human element to reconnect with our favourite Russian spy who sacrificed herself in the events of Avengers: Endgame.

THE PLOT

Black Widow is not the origin story of Natasha Romanoff, instead, it takes place after the Avengers are disbanded in Captain America: Civil War and before they are reunited in Avengers: Infinity War. Romanoff is on the run but soon finds herself facing her long-buried past when she meets her ‘widow’ sister Yelena, played by Florence Pugh. Reunited with their faux parents Alexie (David Harbour) and Melina (Rachel Weisz), the four come together to stop the Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko), Dreykov (Ray Winstone) and put an end to the Red Room. This time, for good.

THE CHARACTERS

While there is little on the origin story of Natasha Romanoff, a short initial sequence tells us how she was a part of a supposed family living in Ohio long before she becomes an Avenger.

With a stellar supporting cast of Pugh and Harbour, the film came off as the perfect detour from the usual Marvel wonders. Harbour’s role of an emotionally damaged father trying to reconnect with his daughters and at the same time, taking on his superhero persona of Red Guardian, the Russian response to Captain America, was more comic than usual.

Pugh, on the other hand, is fierce, determined but after all, the youngest of the bunch who gives more meaning to family than recent Fast and Furious films.

THE GOOD AND THE BAD

What makes a Marvel film good? Is it all the super cool heroic abilities or the character? As Black Widow, who is deprived of superpowers, her character trait is her strong suit, along with her skill set that makes her the world’s greatest spy.

The best thing about Black Widow is that the movie is finally out. The standalone film was long overdue, especially when Natasha Romanoff is one of the six OG Avengers. However, her past is still left unexplored. This brings out the question - what rigorous events conspired in the Red Room all those years ago, cue Black Widow’s vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

The human and family element that was explored in Black Widow is an area that was rarely touched by Marvel in previous films. Yes, other superheroes did have troubling pasts but were left untouched compared to Black Widow which gives a nearly happy ending to the film and to the faux family. We say nearly because we know a happy ending is off the cards here for Black Widow, instead, it was a character send-off that will also supposedly kick off Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) phase four.

The film that starts off really well soon turns into a common spy thriller - infiltrate, do the job, and escape, all the while giving fans hefty action scenes.

THE VERDICT

Time passes quickly when you are enjoying, and that was the case when we watched Black Widow. A 134-minute movie seemed rather quick and before we could process our emotions in the post-credits scene (wait for it), it was over. Husain Rizvi (citytimes@khaleejtimes.com)

Black Widow, the only Marvel movie directed solely by a woman, Cate Shortland, is out in the UAE cinemas this weekend.

Rating: 3.5/5

Staff Reporter