Confronting Her Dark Past
By Nirupa Mohan Dore Ceylon Today Features
The most anticipated Marvel Comics superhero film of the season, Black Widow, released in early July, starring Scarlett Johansson, as she reprised her role as the title character Black Widow, who goes by the name Natasha Romanoff. The film unfolds with flashbacks of what looks like her origin story, with a conflicting past that she needs to confront.
The action driven adventure also introduces Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff, David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov (Red Guardian), O. T. Fagbenle as Agent, and Ray Winstone as Dreykov, alongside several other skills cast members. Set following the events of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, the storyline shows viewers a time in her past that was filled with conspiracy.
The movie focuses on her life, before and during the time she was a part of the Avengers, living a life filled with broken relationships and family ties, in a world where danger seemed to follow her closely. Things get extremely dangerous after she becomes the recipient of a package that could hold the answer to stopping a ruthless general, who is also the man who destroyed her childhood and the lives of countless others.
Beginning from her childhood, the movie takes viewers through a period in her life, that highlights Natasha’s relationship with Yelena Belova, showing their bond as sisters, which began at a time when they were children, growing up with those who they thought were their family members at the time, and this dysfunctional family dynamic is used as a source of drama and humour, as they reunite, uncertain of what they mean to each other. Black Widow marks the 24th film as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and is the first film in MCU’s Phase Four.
This instalment features a more serious performance led plot, that stays true to what is expected, delivering a good dose of action, drama, comedy, and adventure, while being dialogue heavy.
Black Widow has been in development since 2004 under Lionsgate, and with Marvel gaining the character’s film rights in 2006, Johansson played the character in 2010’s Iron Man 2, with discussions of a solo movie underway, which materialized in 2017, with plans to release in May 2020, but this had to be postponed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 134-minute American superhero film by director Cate Shortland, was made together with producer Kevin Feige, working in collaboration with production company Marvel Studios, with distribution by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, through cinemas and Disney+.
The movie which was made with a budget of 200 million dollars, managed to easily earn over 166.3 million with its worldwide release in cinemas, while additionally raking in over 60 million on Disney+, on the film’s opening weekend, breaking pandemic box-office records, supported by mixed to positive critic, backed by ratings of 81 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, 68 per cent on Metacritic and 7/10 on IMDb. This performance-drenched action film shows its lead stars deliver more than what is expected of them.
As for the plot, a background story is offered to fans of the MCU who may appreciate it better than those who are new to the MCU as it offers them the chance to get to know how their beloved superhero came into being, but for the unversed, it may feel like there are too many references and timelines involved to completely understand and appreciate all the small details.