I believe it has been almost a year since the last time I reviewed a Marvel movie. No, wait, I think it was longer than that.
It seems the last Marvel superhero movie I reviewed was Spider-Man: Far from Home, back in 2019.
Damn, I had no idea it was that long ago. Was that the last Marvel film to come out?
Of course Black Widow should have come out sooner, but was hit with really bad timing. Which is this film’s downfall honestly.
Black Widow takes place right after the events of Captain America: Civil War. The problem with that is we’re about 11 movies in after Civil War. So clearly this Black Widow should have gotten her own film a long time ago, which is especially clear since her fucking character is already dead!
Ten movies too late on a character that’s already dead and buried. It’s hard to really dismiss that while watching this movie. I know the film was held back for a year or so, but it honestly feels longer as this should have been the first to release probably after Spider-Man: Homecoming back in 2017.
Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy Black Widow as a whole, but these two factors feels too little too late.
How does Black Widow stack up on the scale of Marvel cinematic universe? I think I liked it more than Doctor Strange. Not as much as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Homecoming or Ragnarok.
More than Black Panther though, as I wasn’t a fan of that one.
Let me skip ahead a bit…
Liked Black Widow more than Captain Marvel. I think in my review I was a bit kinder than I should have been with that movie. The MCU I find doesn’t have a ton or rewatchability. But I feel Captain Marvel is one I don’t think I’d ever want to watch again, even if I was revisiting the franchise.
Which is what I considered doing after Endgame.
Of course we haven’t been without Marvel superhero content for that long as the films have hit the pause button, the TV shows have not.
We first got WandaVision, which I know a lot of people liked, but I didn’t. Then came The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which is at the same level as Black Widow I think when it comes to enjoyment. It also introduces a character which I’m guessing should have been introduced at the end of Black Widow, but since the film got delayed, the character was introduced in the series instead.
Then came Loki, my favorite of the three shows so far.
I guess we’re all pretending the Netflix street justice shows don’t exist, even though Daredevil and Punisher are my favorite of any Marvel series.
Okay, I spent enough time ranking everything that came out when Black Widow should have been released, now let’s actually talk about this movie.
Like I mentioned, this takes place right after the events of Civil War, meaning the Avengers have split up, most of them being arrested and Scarlett Johansson’s character Natasha Romanoff is on the run from the US government.
Before all that however, we do get a glimpse into her childhood in a flashback to when she was about 13, I think, living in a typical suburban family in the US back in the 90’s.
She has a sister and a mom, not to mention a dad, all of this very strange considering what we already know about her character. She’s an orphan with no family to speak of. Also, she’s Russian.
What exactly is going on here?
Oh, just some spy shit.
Rachel Weisz is playing Melina, a Russian spy, pretending to be married to Russian super soldier Alexei, who is like the Russian version of Captain America.
They are posing as a normal family to steal top secret S.H.I.E.L.D. intel. With their mission complete, they must hurry and escape the country before they are found out.
The fake family manages to get to Cuba where the Russians are waiting for them led by General Dreykov. He runs The Red Room, a secret assassin organization that makes Black Widows, mind controlled orphan girls.
During the escape, Melina was shot and injured. She was taken away, fearing she might be dead. Alexei, played by Stranger Things actor David Harbour is ready to get back into action as the Red Guardian.
Natasha Romanoff and her fake sister Yelena are taken captive and shipped out to The Red Room, starting their lives as assassins.
It’s now years later, and Yelena is still being mind controlled. Their mission is to hunt down ex Black Widows that have stolen or have their hands on something that can break the mind control over them.
Who made this serum is never explained, nor is it how these people managed to get a hold of it. Unless I missed something, which is very possible.
I just figured Melina was the one behind it, but nope.
Either way, Yelena gets dosed with the cure, breaking her mind control. She gathers up the rest of the antidote and flees.
Also on the run is Natasha, laying low in some rundown trailer since her other safe house is currently occupied.
She has a bunch of junk mail that she plans on dumping but is caught by The Taskmaster, an almost robot-like person that copies your every fighting move.
I do have some complaints about this character, but it might be a bit too early for spoilers, so maybe I’ll hold off until later.
To stash the antidote to the mind control, Yelena ships the container to the shitty rundown trailer Natasha is staying in.
She manages to get away, running to the other stash house where she finds Yelena hiding out. After kind of a pointless fight sequence Yelena tells Natasha that the Red Room is still operational.
This is news to her, as she thought she killed General Dreykov years ago as her recruitment into Shield. Which resulted in the murder of his young daughter as well.
Wanting to take General Dreykov down for good, they need the location of the Red Room, but the only one who might know that is Alexei who is spending time in prison.
Alexei has fallen from grace, now a prison rat, telling tales of old that may or may not be true. He talks about his fights against Captain America, but in the 80’s when all of this is supposed to have taken place, Cap was still in ice. Or was he!
So I kind of have a theory here that Alexei’s stories are true, as we know that Captain America stayed in the past with Peggy. So that means he could have actually been around in the 80’s.
Just a theory. Either that or Alexei is a liar. Which could also be true.
Once they break Alexei out of jail, they fly off to find Melina since Alexei is kind of out of the loop when it comes to where The Red Room is located.
Melina on the other hand, she was the one behind the whole operation, at least when it came to the whole mind control aspect.
The intel they stole when they were pretending to be a family was on how to completely control someone. Using that research, she was able to use it to keep the girls in the Red Room totally obedient.
They find Melina on a farm, still testing her mind control tech on pigs. The family reunion seems to be going a bit all over the place. First happy, then angry, and with Alexei maybe a bit horny.
Speaking of, Alexei manages to squeeze into his old Red Guardian outfit. Really wish I knew who this character was, as he mostly reminded me of Love Sausage, from The Boys comics. Which you got a brief introduction to in the lackluster tv series.
Melina tells Natasha she called Dreykov’s men the second she saw them arrive.
So this is where we are getting into spoilers, heads up.
It might seem like Melina betrayed them, however her plan is to disguise herself as Natasha and Natasha as herself, so she can get close to Dreykov.
But Dreykov manages to see through the disguise. Not fearing her, since he produces a special pheromone that prevents anyone from attacking or harming him.
He also takes his time revealing who Taskmaster is, his daughter who Natasha thought she blew up.
On a side note, I couldn’t help but thinking she looked just like the lady in 50 First Dates.
So the part that doesn’t really make a ton of sense, Taskmaster seems angry at Natasha for putting her in this robot suit, now wanting revenge.
But before, when Natasha had the antidote, Taskmaster was only focused on getting that back, not going after Natasha or even realizing who she was.
Maybe that’s just a weird nitpick, but…
While Natasha is confronting Dreykov, Melina and the rest of the family are on their own missions.
Melina is trying to take down the Red Room, which turns out to be a facility flying in the sky.
Yelena’s mission is to track down the Black Widows and use the antidote on them.
As for Alexei… well, he just wants to punch something. He gets his wish when Taskmaster shows up.
To bypass the whole pheromone thing, Natasha just has to break her nose. Kind of a strange loophole, but whatever. You’d think they would have thought of that.
Melina is able to bring the floating facility crashing down with everyone flying off, falling to the ground.
Taskmaster manages to escape the explosion, seeking Natasha for revenge.
Natasha is able to use the antidote on her, calming her rage. Now Shield has arrived and the rest of her family escapes with the now released Black Widows.
And that’s pretty much the end of the story in more ways than one, as like I mentioned we know everything that happens after this.
She frees the rest of the Avengers and ultimately dies.
They do kind of sequel bait, possibly for the Hawkeye series coming up, with Yelena coming after him for revenge, but who cares.
What to rate this film… It isn’t offensively bad, it’s kind of just a standard spy action film. Even if the action was fun, and it was, there is still this lingering issue of finally giving Black Widow her own solo film but wait until her character is dead.
So for that, Black Widow gets a RENT IT.