Black Widow: A Web of Adventure

Released+on+July+9%2C+%22Black+Widow%22+is+the+captivating+story+of+first+female+Avenger+Natasha+Romanoff%2C+exploring+her+family%2C+past+and+mission+to+take+down+the+Red+Room.

Sofia Cruz

Released on July 9, “Black Widow” is the captivating story of first female Avenger Natasha Romanoff, exploring her family, past and mission to take down the Red Room.

Isabel Donner and Sofia Cruz

Director: Cate Shortland
Release Date: July 9, 2021
MPAA rating: PG-13
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, David Harbour, Florence Pugh, O-T Fagbenle, Rachel Weisz
Our Rating: B

Black Widow” is the latest film to be added to Marvel’s collection of cinematic knockouts, offering a much-awaited look into the story of Natasha Romanoff, the Russian spy and first female Avenger played by Scarlett Johansson. Released on July 9, this feel-good movie was made available in theaters and on Disney Plus, receiving a score of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes and 6.9/10 on the International Movie Database.

Despite falling 67% in the box office on its second weekend due to the pandemic, the movie did well, surpassing $200 million in theaters worldwide and earning over $60 million solely through Disney Plus premier access.

Summary

The movie opens with a flashback to 1995 – main character Natasha Romanoff is merely 11 years old, yet she is already seen taking part in dangerous operations as part of the Black Widow organization. Planted in Ohio for three years by Russian Intelligence, she works with a fabricated “family” to obtain sensitive information.

The role of the “mother” figure is fulfilled by the genius scientist Melina Vostokova (played by Rachel Weisz). Her “father” is Alexei Shostakov, the Russian super-soldier counterpart to Captain America (played by David Harbour). The last member of the “family” is Natasha’s adoptive younger sister Yelena Belova, an incredibly skilled fighter and assassin (played by Florence Pugh).

After the initial heist concludes with their escape, the movie flashes forward 21 years to take place in 2016, after the events of “Captain America: Civil War” but before “Avengers: Infinity War”. Natasha is living on her own when she receives a mysterious set of vials along with a set of photos from her sister. She returns to Budapest to meet with Yelena and learns that the leader of the Black Widows, Dreykov (played by Ray Winstone) is still alive. This prompts her to reconnect with the family she once left behind in order to overthrow the organization that continues to abduct helpless girls, steal their free will and turn them into mindless assassins.

While I have not seen it yet, I am really excited to watch it in the future and I am beyond happy that Natasha Romanoff has gotten her own movie,”

— junior Ariana Alvarez

Cinematography

Marvel certainly has an incredible amount of resources – and uses them aptly to make visually stunning movies. In this aspect, “Black Widow” did not disappoint. With a budget of over $200 million, the special effects, costumes, Computer Generated Images and camera work are worth the watch. The fight scenes are done especially well, true to Avenger fashion, and there are plenty of shootouts and explosions that action fans can enjoy throughout the movie.

Messages

The story is an interesting one in its theme, as it focuses on Natasha freeing other girls from a fate even worse than the one she experienced during her Red Room training as a youth. In the infamous Red Room, she was psychologically manipulated and conditioned to serve the interests of one notoriously power-hungry man.

By the timeline of this movie, however, newer inductees are now subjected to chemical alterations to their minds in order to guarantee obedience. Those who stray from orders are so powerfully controlled by Dreykov, so much so that he can even cause them to stop their own breathing at his command. Natasha and her family promote a message of hope in the ability to control one’s own destiny, attain freedom and remove the shackles from young women that eerily parallels the real-world horrors of human trafficking.

The film also covers the topic of the power of a family — albeit the fact that Romanoff’s family is not a biological one. The makeshift “family” comes together despite each member’s differences and truly cares for the rest. Working together they are strengthened by their bond and therefore able to accomplish their goals. Overall this movie has positive messaging throughout and is a great watch for younger children and girls, especially with its nearly all-female cast.

“I do not want to watch it because I am not that interested in Avengers movies but I have heard that it is fun and not that bad,” junior Francesca Rico said.

Despite what it does accomplish, critics may quickly call out the fact that it took years for the sole female member of the original Avenger group to get a lead role. Furthermore, despite the almost entirely female cast, the movie lacks racial diversity. All main characters are white, with all actors of color being essentially extras with little to no dialogue.

The film ends with an after-credits scene that flashes forward several years to the current state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, taking place in approximately the year 2024. Despite the convoluted nature of the movie’s introduction and a somewhat underdeveloped plot, “Black Widow” was an entertaining treat for fans of Romanoff’s fiery personality. The movie was also a refreshing take on the female lead as it strayed from the overly sexualized portrayal of Romanoff that has previously been present throughout the Avenger’s series.