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Black Widow (2020)  

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A fun ride that is mostly worth the unexpected wait it had to endure. Scarlett is as good as ever in the part, and it's great to see the character on the big screen one last time. Florence Pugh continues her string of strong performances here and solidifies herself as an effective action star, and I look forward to seeing her play a bigger role going forward, but the MVP is definitely a hilarious David Harbour. The talents of Rachel Weisz are underused but she adds class to the project. Ray Winstone's Dreykov was a weak, completely non-threatening villain though. It may not be the MCU at their best, but it's an enjoyable installment in the studio's ever-expanding universe (both on the big and small screens). B

Edited by filmlover
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3 hours ago, filmlover said:

A fun ride that is mostly worth the unexpected wait it had to endure. Scarlett is as good as ever in the part, and it's great to see the character on the big screen one last time. Florence Pugh continues her string of strong performances here and solidifies herself as an effective action star, and I look forward to seeing her play a bigger role going forward, but the MVP is definitely a hilarious David Harbour. The talents of Rachel Weisz are underused but she adds class to the project. Ray Winstone's Dreykov was a weak, completely non-threatening villain though. It may not be the MCU at their best, but it's an enjoyable installment in the studio's ever-expanding universe (both on the big and small screens). B

Pretty much how I feel. Good, not great.

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I did like that, for the first time since her first scene in "The Avergers" Natasha actually speaks Russian in the film.

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In a way, it feels strangely fitting that Black Widow is arriving after a lengthy delay; as a midquel arriving not only after the fate of the title character (or at least this iteration of her) is already settled definitively, but also more than half-a-decade after Scarlett Johansson proved that she could open an action movie with no MCU connection whatsoever in Lucy, it’s a solo film that feels overdue. Luckily, this solo venture is a solid outing that provides the franchise’s requisite fun action sequences and amusing character beats. The script is more straightforward and much more risk-averse than I would have liked (it also mostly handwaves interesting material surrounding Natasha Romanoff’s pre-Avenger life, and it engages so little with what the audience already knows about her arc in Endgame that it feels like a project that would have hit better had it been made and released a few years earlier), but the talented cast makes up for many of the script’s shortcomings with strong, humanizing work that brings more life to their characters than what might have appeared on the page. Scarlett Johansson slides back into the title role so naturally that she makes it look effortless, and her commanding screen presence and adeptness with low-key humor carry much of the film. Florence Pugh is a very welcome addition as Natasha’s pseudo-sister, and she also displays many of Johansson’s strengths. The bond Pugh and Johansson share is convincing and forms the film’s emotional backbone; after not really getting to see Johansson play off another female character in the previous installments, the sisterly bond on display here is most welcome. There’s also some good character work from Rachel Weisz and David Harbour as the parental figures; Harbour, in particular, works in his capacity as comic relief. Though I feel there was definitely room for Black Widow to be more (especially with the level of talent involved), what we get is a solid popcorn flick.

 

B

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- The entire opening was fantastic, also love an opening credits sequence. 

- The story set up is solid, it really feels like Yelena should be the main character though, she's going through a bit of a Bourne arc. 

- Pugh and Johansson are great together. The scenes they have together are some of the most intimate, human moments the MCU has had.

- Ultimately the film needs to be a superhero film first and foremost which gets in the way of the more interesting aspects of the film. 

- It just doesn't delve into the themes of trauma, past coming back to haunt you as much as I would have liked. Especially on Natasha's side of things, it's in a constant state of 'okay let's move on'.

- Pugh and Harbour are the standouts, Pugh just absolutely sells everything the character has been through, the dinner scene with family is A+, but her ability to switch between that and the funnier moments in magical. Harbour is hilarious throughout. 

- Weisz was great but should have been used more, the relationship she has with these girls deserves more than one scene before the 3rd act. 

 

- Score was forgettable and occasionally overbearing, almost like they felt a need to go big. 

- Terrible CGI throughout, even by Marvel standards, there's a sequence straight out of Uncharted 4.

- CG doubles in fight scenes are disappointing as well. 

- Action jumps between being coherent to incoherent in the same sequences. Almost promising but far too choppy and confusing angle choices hamper them. The larger scale stuff, vehicle chases, big explosions is what you except from the MCU. 

- Really lacklustre villains, Ray Winstone isn't even trying, my god. I love the taskmaster reveal and how it's resolved, that landed for me and tied into all the things the film is trying to say. But there's not enough threat from Taskmaster throughout and they don't milk the idea of the character enough, feels like an afterthought.

- The 3rd act hurts the film a lot, weird flashback/editing choices, odd narrative devices being set up and resolved in the same sequence, more bad CGI. Then a cut to black that just isn't explained and leaves you confused when it comes back. What is this need to directly tie into other instalments? A post-credits scene that leaves a bad taste in your mouth and seems like it's going to actively dumb down one of the best characters. Contrived set-up for a future property. 

 

The film really needed to stay on a smaller scale and the action scenes needed a distinct voice. The dysfunctional family aspect does shine through and the characters are all lovable, with Yelena especially being a force of nature in the film. The intimate dramatic scenes are overshadowed by the films need to be an MCU film which is fine but it could have been so much more. 

 

7/10  

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On 7/11/2021 at 6:26 AM, FilmFincher said:

- Terrible CGI throughout, even by Marvel standards, there's a sequence straight out of Uncharted 4.

I was surprised by how bad it felt in the opening action sequence, with the plane escape.

 

Considering the long release delay, one would thought it would have enough post production time, but maybe COVID complicated things for a very spoiler worry production.

 

Wondered if it was my eyes or the projection or something.

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Felt like a bootleg Mission Impossible Movie with dreadfully sloppy dialogue and a contrived plot made to set up for another movie, instead of being a sufficient stand alone. They stole a ton of stunts, from the latest Mission Impossible movie, that didn't have the same effect or awe from the original because they either cut the action scenes too fast, moved too fast, lacked the tension and build up, or suffered from poor visual effects.   

The resolution to the movie had the same effect as the resolution of WW84 to me in that it was too McGuffin reliant, non-sensical and left a lot to be desired.   

The main villain might as well be called Evil Mastermind Guy #13298 because of how generic and cliché he is. He wasn't even fighting for a cause or anything. Just doing it to be someone to for audience to root against.    

As for Taskmaster, his/her allure was ruined the moment it was revealed to be a masked robot with no aspirations or motivations.  

I also hate to say, but I found Scarlett Johansson's performance to be very irritating and severely lacking in the charisma department that one would expect from a superhero. For an assassin, I expected her demeanor to be rather cool, smooth, and a hold it all in until it's too much bare type, but found Black Widow to be more of a nagging parent.   

The obvious best part of the movie was the thrilling opening sequence shrouded in darkness and David Harbour, who was absolutely hilarious and helped get through this slog of a script/movie.     

Overall, This is probably one of the worst MCU movies to date. 

 

3/10

 

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Action sequences are superb. Acting is serviceable. SFX is below average. Script is bad. Not a good movie for the Black Widow. She deserved a better movie.

 

Very disappointing.

 

C

 

 

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Good action

 

Johansson and Pugh are really good

 

terrible villain 

 

 

boring story 

 

 

David Harbour’s character was probably one of the most irritating of all time 

 

 

5/10

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I thought the opening of the film was strong, and the film gradually got more disappointing as it went along.

 

My favorite aspect of the film was the adventurous editing style of the film, which was at least apparent early on. Cate Shortland was surely able to infuse a little bit of her directorial style, and some of those editing techniques really showed. I also thought that the opening credit sequence was creative and well-filmed.

 

I also liked the action sequences, with all the choreography and car chases feeling very satisfying to watch. The scene at the Russian prison was imaginative, too.

 

The moment the helicopter gets away safely from that prison and they're in the helicopter talking is when the film peters out. It's like the first half got jigsaw puzzle pieces placed together seamlessly, and there's some pieces in the second half that were crammed into the puzzle instead of positioned well.

 

There's something missing in the writing that causes a botched transition from the family as we see them in the first five minutes and the family as we seem them in Rachel Weisz's house. They haven't seen each other for a long time, right? So the way the film presents the reunion seemed weak to me in a way I can't explain at the moment, and the failure to plant the right seeds made it so that there were a lot of missed opportunities when it came to the family aspect. I think the team behind Guardians of the Galaxy would have handled an ensemble of heroes seeing each other for the first time in years much better than these writers did.

 

And then whoever was in charge of the final edit made it so that the filmmaking seems sloppy during the film's second half. I was filming a no-budget action film with a friend the other day, and I was motivated to keep trying my best at filmmaking due to how many parallels I saw between the camerawork I was able to pull off with limited equipment and experience and some of the filmmaking I saw in this film. The last thing I want for Marvel films is for its employees to be like "I do this for the job and let's put the film together in a way that works and call it a day." Because this film had the potential to be at least an 8/10 as opposed to a 5 or 6.

 

Black Widow isn't bad by any means, but I believe Cate Shortland deserves the opportunity to direct an action film outside of an impenetrable franchise such as Marvel. I saw glimpses of her talent, but her talents and Marvel's agenda clashed in a way that made the film feel unfocused and incomplete. Florence Pugh's character is my favorite newcomer from this film and would be an excellent choice if they decide to replace the Black Widow character for future Avengers films.

 

This film and its positioning in the continuity between Civil War and Infinity War may have inspired me to write about how audiences are able to mentally connect various films of a cinematic universe together despite slight differences in filmmaking techniques as well as different themes and tones. A film is always a separate entity from another film, but audiences perceive films to be together despite this. Fascinating concepts.

 

In short, see Black Widow if you want, but don't expect a masterpiece. One of the weaker Marvel films, but still not a bad choice for an outing with family and friends during the Summer movie season.

 

I give it a C-.

Edited by SLAM!
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