Wapakoneta Daily News

Black Widow an average movie

- By Andrew Ewry

Disney has been one company that has appeared particular­ly

hesitant to theatrical­ly release blockbuste­rs

ever since the start of the pandemic. The launch of the company’s streaming service has provided them an outlet to release movies rather than theaters. Black Widow is the latest entry in the

company’s series of Marvel superhero

movies. In spite of its pedigree, the movie feels more like a typical espionage-based action movie. This leads to a number of

highs and lows that are somewhat atypical for these Marvel movies. Black Widow constantly toes the line of being unique while

never feeling confident enough to cross it. The result is an action movie that is decent

enough but possesses very little staying power.

The story of Black Widow takes place before the movie Avengers: Infinity War. The titular super spy Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) discovers a

sinister conspiracy that has placed a team

of powerful assassins in the hands of a dangerous kingpin. Because of her own past as a manipulate­d assassin, Black Widow gathers a team of allies to fight against the

evil-doer controllin­g these killers-for-hire. This setup is a decent

basis for an intriguing plot. Unfortunat­ely, a lot of the twists that

are revealed about this plot make little

sense. Furthermor­e, the story lacks any real stakes simply due to the fact that we already know what happens in the movies that take place after this one. We know that no one is any real danger, so any scenes

of tension are drasticall­y undercut. What’s more, the movie never manages to fully decide on a tone. There are scenes that are distractin­gly goofy and feel rather awkward

considerin­g the fact that this is a movie

about assassins and government conspiraci­es. For example, the villain flies around

the world in a giant flying castle. I hope I’m not the only one who finds that very

silly considerin­g the rest of the movie is about killers fighting

in the shadows to try and stop a humantraff­icking kingpin. Having said that, if you can just look past

the logical and tonal flaws, the pacing and

action scenes are engaging.

Speaking of engaging, I think the best part of Black Widow is

its protagonis­t. She is a well-defined character with interestin­g motivation­s. She truly is

the kind of character who can lead an entire action movie on her

shoulders thanks in no small part to Johansson’s stoic but human acting. She plays a character with a tough exterior but a kind heart beneath it

in the classic way you would expect an action hero to be portrayed. In spite of her

solid characteri­zation, it’s somewhat unfortunat­e how the movie treats her and the other main characters as if they were invincible. Black Widow has no

superpower­s. Most of her team similarly do

not have super powers. They are just very well-trained spies and

soldiers. In spite of that, they manage to get put through the

metaphoric­al wringer in this film only to

hardly take an ounce of damage. There are parts where characters smash through walls of buildings and then dust themselves

off as if they just tripped and fell. It’s a lazy way of writing these characters so that they’re nearly invincible for no reason.

Do you remember Die Hard (1988)? Do you remember how engaging that movie is because its hero is portrayed as an average

mortal person who is constantly getting

hurt? That makes us fear for whether or not he can make it in the

end. If John Mcclane were able to survive

his fights without getting the least bit worn down, we would have no reason to be invested in his struggles because it would be clear the movie would never let him fail or be put in any serious danger. This is a lesson Black Widow’s filmmakers

don’t understand. They thought that by

just making their hero beat up bad guys without ever having to face any real challenge, that would be exciting. But what’s more exciting, a football game where one team

steamrolls the other or a football game where

it is neck-and-neck until

the last play?

Even though Black Widow is P.G.-13, there are still some odds and ends that might

be a bit rough for some viewers. Particular­ly, there are multiple references to genital mutilation in the movie. What’s more, the villain toes the line of

sexual aggression at multiple points. Usually, these Marvel movies don’t include material this serious,

so please just be aware. Other than that, the

movie has surprising­ly little blood in spite

of its constant violence. There are a few uses of

pretty mild swear words.

Black Widow’s quality ends up being about on par with your average blockbuste­r. It has some unusual issues and definite signs of a less-than-stellar writing team, but it’s still fun to watch. The action is still engaging, and the overall plot is

exciting enough. I just can’t see this one leaving a lasting impact. It’s a bit too generic for that. If you’re a fan of

action movies or of these Marvel superhero movies, then I think

Black Widow will contain enough to hold your interest. At the

end of the day, it’s still a fun ride. I merely fear that by the end of

the summer no one will remember this one.

Overall Grade – C (Entirely average)

 ??  ?? DREW EWRY

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States