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Black Widow (2021)


Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff, was introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2010’s Iron Man 2. Portrayed by Scarlett Johansson, she has appeared in many of the MCU films and finally, she gets her own, or does she? Black Widow gives a small bit of origin story when Natasha lived in Ohio with a family of spies. David Harbour, of Stranger Things fame, plays the father. Rachel Weisz plays the mother. Florence Pugh, of Little Women and Midsommar fame, plays Yelena Belova. It is an introduction for everyone except Natasha.

The events of End Game left a very narrow window for Black Widow to exist inside of. This film had to be a passing of the torch in one way, and I am happy Florence Pugh, despite her accent, gets to carry it forward. Black Widow was an elite group of female assassins, like Red Sparrow, and does not refer to a single member of the group.

If you like dealing with daddy issues and family grief, this is the movie for you. While none of the main characters are related, it is the closest thing that they have to a real family. Remember that Natasha took her own life because she was a middle-aged woman with no kids instead of Hawkeye, a real father, sacrificing his own. But wait, that is just half of the families in this film. The evil Russian villain also has a daughter!

I think it was too late to give Black Widow her film, especially after End Game. There is a reason that there are not Hulk movies in the MCU, and Black Widow just does better with an ensemble cast. That may be because she is one of the few female superheroes and fills the motherly role of the man-children she is surrounded by. It does not take long to find Black Widow to be a problematic character constrained by the patriarchy.

MCU fans must watch this because it is MCU. We all wanted to see Black Widow get the film she deserved, but it just did not feel right. The action sequences are ok and don’t break any new ground. Florence Pugh will be a fun addition to the MCU if she drops the accent. With so many movies in the MCU some must be worse than others and this is one of them, though not as depressing as some of the Thor movies. I also must mention the use of pheromones had me almost uncontrollably laughing as I recalled James Bond, The World is Not Enough, and the ads in the back of home improvement and golf magazines.

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