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Cake's Takes on Black Widow (Movie Review, 2021)

Caila has been a fan of Marvel and the MCU ever since its cinematic conception, having followed every movie and show released so far!

Black Widow

The promotional and theatrical release poster for the 2021 release.

The promotional and theatrical release poster for the 2021 release.

What We've All Been Waiting For!

How have you been doing since the Marvel withdrawal these past two years? We have collectively been waiting on something to come out lately and 2021 has it all! Getting us back into the MCU story on Disney Plus TV shows, we have WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki, but on the big screen, we've been waiting for Black Widow to come out for YEARS!!! Not only was she an OG member of the Avengers, but she was one of the more dark and interesting characters in the MCU with the small snippets of her story you hear throughout the films. Her backstory was filled with death, destruction, spying, and has connections with so many others in the MCU, but had yet to be told. I mean, haven't you always wondered what happened in Budapest between Black Widow and Hawkeye? This film, has already broken records due to the lack of MCU content we've been getting lately, but how good was it really?

Natasha Romanoff

Black Widow in the first Avengers film.

Black Widow in the first Avengers film.

Behind the Widow's Web

In this film, we finally get to see Natasha's background! This was exciting for me because she was always one of my favorite characters in the movies. She was a very grounded character in the MCU, she was a strong woman, and I've always had an affinity for anyone who has no superpowers but can still can hold their own against super villains, either through combat or outsmarting them. Her character deserved so much more throughout the years.

The beginning of the movie is sad. Natasha is on the run with her family and is taken and separated from them, along with her sister. They're taken back to the Black Widow's Red Room and made into human weapons even further. Before this, we get to see her relationships with her sister, mother and father before the action kicks off! She has a good relationship with her sister, especially. It feels really cute and special in their scenes in the beginning. Once we skip back to present day where the film is set, you realize that Natasha is still a fugitive on the run from the Civil War and the Sokovia Accords violation. This sets up a really good vibe for the film because we get to see one of the things Natasha does best: being a trained spy.

Meet the Family

Natasha and Yelena's adoptive parents, Alexei Shostakov and Melina Vostokoff.

Natasha and Yelena's adoptive parents, Alexei Shostakov and Melina Vostokoff.

Family (in Vin Diesel's voice)

When Natasha and her sister, Yelena, end up meeting back up, we get to see how their relationship has changed over the years of not seeing each other. Their relationship is still really cool though, even through their squabbles and fights. They have a very good sisterhood between them. Their conversations seem real and sister-like. Yelena has a great personality, to the point where I am not upset to hopefully see her take up the Black Widow mantle one day on the Avenger's team.

We get to meet The Red Guardian, Alexei, in prison as they are about to break him out. Going on to learn that he was the father figure to both Natasha and Yelena. They want to break him out to break down the Red Room and stop the Black Widow program from capturing and controlling any other young girls and creating killing machines. Their conversations with him reveal much about their background and really makes you feel for all of them. He is a big, bumbling clown but he has a good heart and loves both of his girls still. Something I've noticed s that all of the heroes are the villains in somebody else's story, even if they're a hero too. The Red Guardian hates Steve Rogers' (Captain America) guts and tells stories about him to his prison mates that may or may not be true, almost as if he's jealous or upset with him personally for him being in jail.

When the ladies and Alexei meet back up with their "mother" and they start to have a family moment discussing their past, you feel even more bad the more you learn. They essentially have a fake backstory just to cover up the fact that they were human weapons their whole lives that threatened S.H.I.E.L.D. They were lied to constantly and now they feel detached from the family that chose them. Although they have tough skin, you can tell that it truly hurt both Natasha and Yelena to know that their lives and their happiness for the 3 years they were a family were not real.

The action and fighting in this film were superb, but I already knew that. The one thing that I always look forward to in any Black Widow scene in any movie is the fighting! She always takes people down and it's just really cool to see a woman be strong and powerful in a way that is honest and not overly sexualized all the time. The humor in the movie is actually pretty funny, lighthearted and takes the tension down sometimes in a bad way, but overall is pretty good like any Marvel movie. This may be the reason why the pacing seemed off a bit to me.


Taskmaster in his MCU debut vs his comic counterpart.

Taskmaster in his MCU debut vs his comic counterpart.


By the climax of the film, we meet the ever talked about Drakov! I actually liked this villain! He was very different from any other MCU villain that we've seen before, although I don't think he had enough film time to actually be considered for one of the best villains in the MCU's history. He was a very big showboat, liked to monologue and couldn't physically fight himself, but had so many henchmen that he didn't really need to; Taskmaster being one of the them.

As for this villain, I also don't think it was given justice to its comic opposite. Taskmaster has one of the best skill sets in Marvel to me. He can physically copy any fighting that he sees just based off of memory and fight them right back in a way that will put off a character that isn't ready to be mimicked to a T. The only in canon character that he cannot mimic in the comics is Deadpool because even Deadpool does not know what he is going to do next when he fights. So the Taskmaster we got in the film felt like way more of a cop out just to connect plot points and create fake drama for the film, that it didn't even need.

The Clean Slate

I like that by the end of the movie, Natasha settled all of her debts and cleared her red ledger before she died for everyone in Endgame. Her character, at first, really was made to feel like she had no family, no friends and can't be anything in the world. Once she broke free and became good, she now realized that she has 2 families: the one she chose and the one that chose her. This, to me, makes her sacrifice for all of them in Endgame more special. Her story ended perfectly for her honestly. Natasha and Yelena's relationship is no longer severed, nor is her relationship with her adoptive parents and she's going back to help the Avengers break out of the Raft prison, leading into Avengers Infinity War.

People said that they thought Scarlett was outshined by her costars in this film but I think she portrayed her character amazingly: the perfect spy who gets the job done! Her character was always that way. She's very no-nonsense, hardly tolerant, and takes painful things personally, so I would expect that of her character. In a sense of thinking about everything she has gone through, she really is traumatized by the things that have happened to her. It makes so much more sense to have her be different than her sister. Her sister always seemed like she had a bit more personality than her, even when they were kids. So I do not feel like we should fault her for being herself basically.

I do like the setup for the next few movies and the Hawkeye series that is set up in the end credit cutscene in this film! It's an obvious/great connection to make and it makes Val's character more intriguing, as well. Her being at the ending makes me wonder about what side she honestly lies on and why Yelena is even working with her. I honestly cannot wait to see Yelena in the MCU even more one day since her sister is now gone.

My Final Thoughts...

While I do not think this is "the best MCU movie ever" like the trailers have been saying, I do feel that this was a good way to ease us back into MCU movies, even though it was long overdue anyway, and still find a way to connect it to the current timeline. The villains were done half heartedly, the accents in the film were funny at best, but the action was amazing! This movie definitely closes out Natasha Romanoff's story beautifully and still makes me want to go back and watch all the films that were connected to this one. This is what these films are supposed to do though really. It was decent storytelling when it comes to making those connections, however I felt that the plot and the pacing of the film could have been better. The leadup into the next films and shows were well done, and I really cannot wait for the slew of movies that we have coming for the rest of the year! THE MCU IS BACK!!!

Actors/Actresses and Production!

The actors, actresses, and production teams that went into making Black Widow (2021).

Actors/ActressesProduction TeamProduction Company

Scarlett Johansson

Cate Shortland (Director)

Marvel Studios (Production Company)

Florence Pugh

Eric Pearson (Screenplay Writer)

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (Distribution Company)

Rachel Weisz

Jac Schaeffer (Story Writer)

David Harbour

Ned Benson (Story Writer)

Ray Winstone

Kevin Feige (Producer)

Gabriel Beristain (Cinematographer)

Leigh Folsom Boyd (Editor)

Matthew Schmidt (Editor)

Lorne Balfe (Music)

Black Widow Movie Review Poll

This movie is a Diamond in the Rough!

Where You Can Watch...

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