Marvel’s Black Widow: A Review

Natasha Romanoff paves the way for future Marvel heroines. Black Widow is the second female character in the MCU to have her own movie.(Photo is public domain.)

When the anticipated Marvel film Black Widow was released this summer, I was thrilled to finally see one of my favorite characters get her own movie. The lead character, Natasha Romanoff–Black Widow–is one of only two central female characters in the Marvel Cinematic universe to have her own stand-alone movie. With the way that Marvel treats their female characters at times, no one was surprised that it took 24 films and the character’s death in Avengers: Endgame for Romanoff to finally star in her own movie.

The movie centers around Natasha Romanoff (played by Scarlett Johannsen) and her family as they have to work together for the first time in years in order to take down the Red Room, a sinister organization controlled by the movie’s villain, Drakyov. In order to maintain control over global leaders, the Red Room kidnaps young girls and conditions them to become ruthless assassins. 

Overall, the movie was worth the wait. 

The action scenes were unique and exciting, and I was on the edge of my seat the whole movie. Although slightly cliche, the family dynamic was realistic and added a lot of fun to the movie. Most of the humor in the movie came from this family dynamic, and it actually contributed to the film instead of feeling like an afterthought. I’ve seen a lot of exaggerated or sugarcoated families throughout films in the past, but Romanoff’s  family wasn’t like that at all.

Natasha’s sister, Yelena (played by Florence Pugh) was one of my favorite parts of the movie. Her character was complex and witty, with lots of pain and emotion bottled up inside a bitter, sarcastic exterior. The chemistry between the sisters was so refreshing, and I’m excited to see more of Yelena in the future.

In past movies, Marvel has portrayed Natasha as a sort of flirt, showing interest in several of the male Avengers. She is the only central character to act like this, and it makes her look more like a two-dimensional object of the male gaze rather than a real human being. But, in her own movie, the male gaze has been removed, allowing her to be free to explore her character and create a narrative outside of men’s affections. 

Sadly, it wasn’t a perfect film. The villain, Drakyov, was flat with no real backstory or motivation behind what he did. He simply was just presented as evil, and it was easy to lose interest in him. His character just wasn’t engaging enough for the stakes to feel as high in Black Widow compared to other Marvel films.

Unlike most other standalone Marvel movies in the past, Black Widow doesn’t serve much of a purpose in the overall plot of the MCU. It doesn’t add to the story, and though it builds up a lot of Romanoff’s character, it is important to remember that she won’t be making any returns. If the purpose of the movie was to clear a pathway for Yelena in upcoming movies and shows, it did a good job. But the movie would be a lot more meaningful if it had been released a few years ago, before Natasha’s death.

Despite the movie’s flaws, it was an incredibly diverting story about the strength of family. If you enjoy fast-paced action and awesome female heroines, I 100% recommend you see this movie. 


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