Shane Ramdhany is the lead writer for ReVamp’s the Inner Screen.
Credits: Marvel Studios / Disney
A ballad of brutality, finesse and fireworks that all sync into a symphony that epitomizes Marvel’s beloved femme fatale. This film’s passion for white knuckle pacing is both its greatest strength and its jarring weakness.
Taking place following the events of Captain America: Civil War, we see our titular Avenger embark on a quest that revisits her past encountering old friends, foes, and those in between. The first hour of the film catapults the viewer through its sequences at a break-neck pace. This model inevitably inoculates the viewer against processing its lack of depth. However, once it has exhausted its arsenal of car chases, brutal combat and explosive panache, it is left with the task of character exploration that is inconsistent at best.
As the film slows to allow us to digest its characters’ motivations, director Cate Shortland’s obligation to serve up style permeates the screen at the expense of these opportunities to dig deep. It is at this point we are briskly propelled forward into the next heart pounding moment. It is understood that Black Widow is trying to do right by those connected to her past, but truly absorbing the brevity of her circumstances never truly evolves beyond a fleeting feeling. We are left with a yearning to embrace and empathise with the emotion depicted superbly by Scarlett Johansson on screen.
It is Johansson’s, Weisz’s, Pugh’s and Harbour’s performances that ultimately drive the film’s best moments. Our lens to view these characters may be somewhat obscured as a result of slender storytelling but the film still mostly succeeds due to a concoction of its performers’ charisma and its relentless action. This unabashed Marvel formula has served many of its films well and Black Widow is no exception. The array of thrills it offers is ample reason to feel entertained, even if that entertainment doesn’t extend beyond superficial.