* * C
Black Widow is another Marvel movie that, like Black Panther, was almost good, but had a terrible “messy spectacle” ending. Scarlett Johansson was solid in the title roll, and Florence Pugh was a stand out as Yolena, another black widow assassin. David “Hopper” Harbour’s performance as the Red Guardian, a Russian super soldier, was hindered by bad writing and editing.
The beginning of the film starts out, like Black Panther did, as a somewhat gritty spy thriller. While fun, it has a couple of head scratchingly odd choices. First, the fight between Black widow and Yolena comes out of nowhere, and ends just as suddenly. Second, having Taskmaster, the top agent of a super secret assassination organization, show up in a tank was just dumb.
I had few problems with the second act, though its pacing was very uneven, starting out with a prison break, but ending up in a slow conversation heavy “family reunion”.
Where the film really struggled was in the third act. First, I found Black Widow’s and especially Yolena’s forgiveness of what Melina (Rachel Wiess) did to them unbelievable. Melina inexplicably decides to destroy her life’s work. The film devolves into a CG extravaganza as Black Widow confronts Melina’s two dimensional partner in crime, Drakov in his secret flying base. You thought the Shield flying aircraft carriers were dumb? Hold my beer! Shit gets blowed up, Drakov’s henchman Taskmaster, who turned out to be his daughter, is redeemed, and Black Widow buggers off to get killed in End Game.
I went into this with very low expectations due to the terrible marketing done by Johansson and director Cate Shortland. They were met.