Ben Oliver

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Black Widow

But I’m done running from my past.
10 July 2021

Some back story for Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), from the Avengers. We see her grow up with two Russian spy foster parents in the USA (David Harbour, Rachel Weisz). When their mission is over, the ‘family’ are split up. Years later her ‘sister’ (Florence Pugh) reaches out for her help tracking down a villain (Ray Winstone). Cue swishy fighting and explosions.

This is a bit of a cookie cutter sleeper-spy story but seeing it transplanted into the Marvel series is entertaining, if perhaps 10 years too late. Then again Florence Pugh (so hot right now) would have only been 13 years old, and she’s a great part of what makes this film work.

Everyone gets to break out their campiest Russian accents which is fun (and in David Harbour and Rachel Weisz’s case makes no sense, since at the start they have perfect American accents), although one has to wonder why they let Ray Winstone continue unchecked since his is spectacularly shit.

You could probably leave the cinema before the dreary final third where the villian’s base starts exploding, it’s the same stuff you’ve seen over and over.

Pretty run of the mill Marvel fodder. Funny but not too funny. Very slick. Bottomless effects budget. Anal levels of continuity (or ‘universe building’ as they call it now). Solid but not-too-out-there plot.

Surely this was a better candidate for an episodic TV show where Black Widow gets to do spy shit every week? Perhaps Scarlett Johansson isn’t up for that idea, but someone should get her on the phone just to check.