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Movies Till Dawn: SF & F

thelosangelesbeat.com
 2021-09-16

Cover picture for the article“Black Widow” (2021, Marvel Studios) Setting aside the legal hullaballoo between Disney and star Scarlett Johansson, this long-gestating solo adventure for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s perennial bridesmaid has a wealth of aesthetic high points but ultimately underserves the character. As Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Johanssen has been a refreshing wild card in the MCU’s hero parade, bound to do right by her own conscience than by nation-building or call of duty. This flashback adventure, poised somewhere between “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” gives her a chance to set right the secret society machinations that made her a world-class killer, but gives the showy material to Florence Pugh as flippant little sister Yelena and David Harbour as ersatz dad Red Guardian. Handing over the best lines and set pieces to the new players leaves Johansson in time-to-make-the-donuts mode, leaping and swinging to each shoot-out and blow-up with dutiful vigor, which is the opposite of her barnstorming presence in the previous MCU titles. She does have some amusing bits of sibling banter with Pugh, who as the de rigueur post-credits scene shows, is already slated to assume a dominant role in future Marvel media; Harbour and Rachel Weisz, as Romanoff’s steely mother figure, also deserve second showcases. Marvel’s region-free Blu-ray offers deleted scenes, a gag reel and featurettes on the film’s cast and impressive action sequences.

thelosangelesbeat.com

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