Home News ‘Black Widow’ reviews: What critics are saying

‘Black Widow’ reviews: What critics are saying

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Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh star as Natasha and Yelena in Marvel’s “Black Widow.”

Disney

In scanning through the reviews of “Black Widow,” there’s one thing that critics agree on: Natasha Romanoff should have gotten a solo adventure years ago.

Part origin story, part swan song, the film explodes with kinetic fight sequences and deftly transitions between spy thriller and family comedy. “Black Widow” is likely the last fans will see of Scarlett Johansson in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The fate of her character was sealed in “Avengers: Endgame,” making the stakes of the film seemingly nonexistent and imbuing the film with a bittersweet melancholy.

“Black Widow” takes place in the space between “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” giving audiences a solid explanation about the titular hero’s whereabouts after going on the run from authorities for violating the Sokovia Accords.

While hiding out, Natasha meets up with her “sister” Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), a fellow member of the Red Room, a top secret Soviet brainwashing and training program. The pair enlist their “parents,” two Soviet spies who acted as mother and father to the girls during a mission the ’90s, to dismantle the Black Widow program that made them assassins.

The film comes to theaters on Friday after a 14-month delay due to the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s possible it will capture the highest ticket sales for an opening weekend since the health crisis shuttered theaters for months last year. Advanced ticket sales have been brisk, according to Fandango.

It also will be available for an extra fee via Disney+ Premiere Access.

Disney’s “Black Widow” currently holds an 82% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 213 reviews. Here’s what critics had to say:

Angie Han, Mashable

Florence Pugh stars as Yelena in Marvel’s “Black Widow.”

Disney

Dana Stevens, Slate

Matt Singer, ScreenCrush

Scarlett Johansson stars as Natasha Romanoff, AKA Black Widow, in Marvel’s “Black Widow.”

Disney | Marvel

Clarisse Loughrey, Independent

The film’s close combat action sequences, emotional undertones and cheeky comedic moments are overshadowed by one question: Why is Marvel telling this story now?

In the wake of “Avengers: Endgame,” Disney has released three Marvel shows on its streaming platform. Each has dealt with the aftermath of the Avengers’ fight with Thanos and explored what happens next. “Black Widow” backtracks. Its only forward-spinning moment is a post-credit scene that suggests Yelena will take up Natasha’s mantle in future MCU adventures.

“Of all the heroes in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, it’s Scarlett Johansson’s  Black Widow who deserves the biggest apology from her creators,” Clarisse Loughrey wrote in her review of the film for Independent.

“Over the span of a decade, she’s been treated like a cipher to drool over (the actor has herself criticized the hypersextualization of her character in 2010’s ‘Iron Man 2’), called a monster for not being able to conceive, and then killed off without even the dignity of a funeral in ‘Avengers: Endgame,'” she wrote.

“The steel-thighed, emotionally bruised Russian agent, otherwise known as Natasha Romanoff, has been hollowed out like a porcelain doll through year after year of poor screenwriting … At least now, after all this time, she finally has her own film.”

Like many critics, Loughrey’s review points out that “Black Widow,” while a welcome addition to the MCU, has “come a little too late.”

Read the full review from Independent.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal owns Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango.

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