Superb as a standalone film and the perfect chapter between Civil War and Infinity War for Marvel fans, 2021’s BLACK WIDOW is a kickass thriller with equal doses of family drama and laughs peppering the action.
The film opens with Natasha Romanoff and her sister Yelena as children living a pretty idyllic life in a small Ohio town. Like the opening sequence in the recent hit “A Quiet Place Part II” those small town life scenes make what follows all the more tragic.
Their dad Alexei (David Harbour from ‘Stranger Things”) gets home from work, huddles with their Mom Melina (Rachel Weisz of ‘My Cousin Rachel”) and soon they are on the run from Shield/Hydra and the girls disappear into a massive secret operation run by the very bad Dreykov, embodied to perfection by Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast).
We flash forward 20 years and meet the Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) we know as Black Widow, estranged from her fellow Avengers as the result of the events of “Civil War”. There is an unstoppable force of young lethal women after her. Their trail leads back to her former family and importantly for the film, back to her sister Yelena, now played by Florence Pugh (Midsommar, Little Women). To say Pugh is the best thing in the film would be ignoring Scarlett as Black Widow, but together they form the perfect fighting duo.
Their verbal sparring is as great as their physical fights, which equal the hand to hand combat of any Bourne or OO7 film. Speaking of Bond…..okay I’ll get to that later.
Their trail leads back to Mom and Dad with hilarious and exciting results that are left best for your own discovery.
A snowy jailbreak scene is a hilarious highlight with jaw dropping action, as is a BMW and motorcycle chase through narrow Europe streets.
So back to Bond. I think writer Eric Pearson (Thor:Ragnarok) is a huge OO7 fan as he sprinkles enough easter eggs and direct references to seventies Bond to satisfy any Fleming buff.
Natasha is watching “Moonraker” on her tiny TV in her hideout. The villain’s lair is a direct reference to Drax’s climactic lair in Moonraker. The “taking over the world by putting a massive web of hypnotized women around the globe” is a direct lift from “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. I could go on and on but suffice to say BLACK WIDOW feels like a Bond film in all the right ways. It’s globe hopping adventures, megalomaniac bad guy, opening action sequence detached from the rest of the film and music score by Lorne Balfe (Mission Impossible: Fallout) are all Bondesque.
Stay tuned after the credits for a sequence that serves as a direct tie to these same characters and their adventures in the upcoming Disney+ series “Hawkeye”.
Fast, fun, dramatic and enjoyable, BLACK WIDOW is a great addition to the Marvel series and earns a B.
We watched it opening night at home and the Disney+ 4K and Dolby Atmos presentation rocked our living room. We love going to the theatre, but wow did it play well at home.