Black Widow

Mediocre early Bond knockoff

Warning: This review is neither objective nor well-informed, and unlikely to be at all helpful. Just sayin’.

I swore off superhero movies around the time Scorsese and Coppola declared them to more closely resemble theme parks than cinema, and when I realized that (1) people who follow The Avengers and their ilk probably don’t read film reviews, (2) that even if they did, they wouldn’t be interested in what I have to say, and (3) I really didn’t care.

But sometimes an origin story works as a stand-alone when the cash-grab ensemble pieces do not. So I went to see this Scarlett Johansson vehicle with the most positive of attitudes. Does it work? Sometimes, sometimes not.

First, for a stand-alone, it assumes that the viewer knows way more about the MCU than I did. That’s the uninformed part. And while there is, refreshingly, a bit of self-aware banter, it smacks of being focus-group mandated. Then, the old “megalomaniac taking over the world” schtick has been trite since Dr. No, and a cartoonishly forgettable Ray Winstone lacks his usual venom in the supervillain role. The film is more character-focused than most such flicks, but the lame subtext on female empowerment rings false.

Plus side: The scene-stealing, drolly hilarious Florence Pugh (Little Women) is a newcomer to watch. Too bad she’s likely to be riding this Black Widow franchise for a while, BW heir apparent that she is.

I did warn you. You may like it better. I’ll now go back to ignoring MCU pictures. (133 min)


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