At the movies: ‘Black Widow’

By EDDY FRIEDFELD
Posted 7/16/21

Scarlett Johansson returns as Natasha Romanoff, the Avenger Black Widow, in a smart, action-packed and poignant adventure.

In Ohio in 1995, young Natasha bumps her knee. “Your pain only …

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At the movies: ‘Black Widow’

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Scarlett Johansson returns as Natasha Romanoff, the Avenger Black Widow, in a smart, action-packed and poignant adventure.

In Ohio in 1995, young Natasha bumps her knee. “Your pain only makes you stronger,” her mom, Melina (Rachel Weisz) tells her.

Their father, Alexei (David Harbour), comes home and gives his wife a look that she seems to understand.

“How much time do we have?” she asks.

“An hour.”

They scramble and leave within minutes.

“Where are we going?” Natasha asks.

“Home,” she responds.

A stop along the road reveals a hidden plane. They manage to get on and escape the pursuing police, but not before Melina is shot.

They land in Cuba. It turns out they are Russian agents, part of sleeper cells embedded in midwestern communities. Young Natasha is taken away by Russian soldiers and placed in a special school and trained to be a spy and assassin.

Fast forward 21 years later. Secretary Ross (William Hurt) has a team of soldiers surrounding a building trying to capture Natasha. She calls him.

“Don’t do this. Don’t embarrass yourself,” she says.

“Where you gonna go?” Ross asks.

“I’ve lived a lot of lives before I met you, Ross.”

Cut to Morocco. Another young female spy, Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Natasha’s adopted sister, is given the antidote to what the Russian spy school gave to all of the young women, the “Widows,” and is told to free the other young women. 

Now in Norway, hiding out as she and other Avenger Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, are being sought after by the authorities, she is attacked by a mechanical man with enhanced powers who can match her move for move. She discovers she has the vials.

Now in Budapest, she tracks down Yelena who enlists her on her mission to free the spies. The two elude pursuers through rooftops chases and motorcycle races.

“You can’t just steal a car,” Natasha says.

“You want me to chase him down and unsteal it?”

Natasha invites Yelena to join her and find The Red Room, the clandestine school where the Widows are trained and kill its headmaster, Dreykoff (Ray Winstone). They rescue Alexei, now the former Red Guardian, who was given the same super soldier serum that was given to Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, from his exile in a Russian prison.

From her inception during the 1960s Cold War era, The Black Widow has been very unique as the Communist spy who defects to the West, and becomes part of The Avengers. 

As the backstory has evolved into its current darkest incarnation, it offers more depth, conflict, angst, remorse, and redemption.

Johansson brings much gravitas, pathos, and wit to this complex character.

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