Black Widow Review: Scarlett Johansson’s Super-Spy Revisits Family Roots In Overdue Solo Movie

Natasha Romanoff reunites with her dysfunctional fake family in her first standalone movie.

1.5-min read

Black Widow (PG13)

Starring Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, David Harbour

Directed by Cate Shortland

Scarlett Johansson’s reformed KGB assassin-turned-planet defender Natasha Romanoff finally lands her long overdue solo mission — and retroactive send-off — that unfolds between the tumultuous events of Captain America: Civil War and The Avengers: Infinity War. During this downtime, if you can call it that, Nat confronts her past, including her old boss (Ray Winstone), who runs the Soviet Red Room program (where she was groomed to be a killer), and her estranged kin, a ragtag crew of Russian spies who went undercover together as a family — a word that’s repeated many times (eat your heart out, Vin Diesel!) — when she was a child (played by Ever Anderson, Milla Jovovich’s daughter). From The Americans-esque prologue to the vehicular pursuit in the streets of Budapest (how the city's name is pronounced is an idiosyncratic highlight), there’s a Bond (Bourne?) vibe to Black Widow, an instalment grittier and more grounded than previous MCU entries. But the more interesting bits aren’t the action sequences (not that they don’t rock, but we’ve seen enough of these CG-aided pyrotechnics), but Nat’s bittersweet reunion with ‘fake’ sister Yelena and Red Room alum (Florence Pugh) — their banter about pockets in tactical vests and fighting poses is hilarious — mum Melina (Rachel Weisz) and dad Alexia (David Harbour): a get-together that hits us with special poignancy because we know the fate that awaits her. Damn you, Thanos! (4/5 stars)

Photo: Disney


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