Run time: 134 mins
One of the very few upsides to the pandemic is a long overdue respite from the Marvel onslaught. That quiet period is shattered, however, as the MCU machine kicks back into high gear with Black Widow.
Natasha Romanov, aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson) finally gets her place in the spotlight, even if it is just backstory filler. In the mid-90s, a pre-teen Natasha and her younger sister Yelena (Florence Pugh) – along with Russian double-agents, Alexei (David Harbour) and Melina (Rachel Weisz) – pretended to be a normal, happy American family.
After an incident, the family go their separate ways, with Yelena and Natasha recruited into an army of super-secret girl assassins, controlled by the sinister Dreykov (Ray Winstone, tackling a Russian accent that can only be seen as insulting). Flashforward twenty years later and we see Natasha, now an Avengers stalwart, finding that the past is starting to catch up with her.
This spy thriller plays out like Bourne Identity or Mission: Impossible, but for viewers who like their stunts rendered in a computer. It’s a breezy break from the cosmic, dimension-warping adventures we’ve been getting used to. As solid and grounded as Johannson is, it’s Pugh that shines. She deserves her own spin-off. (Jack Whiting)