Black Widow may have had the biggest opening post the pandemic. But has it lived up to our expectations? Not really. Here’s more.
Where did Black Widow go wrong? For surely, something was missing in the movie. Somewhere it did feel like Black Widow was pulling its punches. Very much a movie about a spy but not so much a spy movie, Black Widow failed to showcase the significance of Natasha Romanoff.
Natasha’s childhood would have struck the chord if only we found out who her real parents were and how she lost them. The portrayal of Alexei and Melina as their pseudo-parents could have been better. We do not mean to say that David Harbour and Rachel Weisz didn’t do justice to their roles. But sometimes it is the very characterization that is flawed. Both these characters did not have much depth, as there was no mention of their respective pasts (maybe it would have added to the length of the movie even more).
However, this should be no excuse for the inability to portray such characters in a justified manner. Such characters in previous MCU films e.g. Dr. Abraham Erskine, Ho Yinsen, Maria Rambeau, Zuri, Christine Palmer, and more, are still fresh to us and this is just due to the way they were characterized by the makers. And none of these characters have more than one film to their name. This proves that just one movie is enough to do justice to a significant character’s single appearance.
As far as Nat’s past is concerned, the movie was not true in portraying it. Budapest, the place which we all were curious about since Avengers (2012), was not at all explored in Black Widow other than a few “honorable” mentions. And the only mention of Hawkeye was the “arrows” whose marks we saw in Nat’s apartment and the other one when Valentina showed his picture to Yelena as her next target. We don’t really know what happened in Budapest between Black Widow and Hawkeye. This is perhaps what hurts the most. Hopefully, we’ll find out in the upcoming Hawkeye series.
The Villain in Black Widow
MCU made us realize that a villain doesn’t need to have powers in order to be a threat to the superheroes. Early MCU characters like Obadiah Stane, Johann Schmidt, Aldrich Killian, Erik Killmonger, Alexander Pierce, and Baron Zemo, all etched their names in our minds with their first appearances. All these characters were perfectly sketched to give us a deep catharsis with their fall.
This catharsis happen in the case of Dreykov. And it was because the character had no growth. All the above-mentioned characters underwent experiences before becoming the end villainous versions of themselves. As for Dreykov in Black Widow, we only saw him twice: when Alexei spoke to him towards the beginning of the film and then in the film’s final act. We know that he created the Red Room to give purpose to all the lost girls around the planet. But why? What made him do so? We don’t know and we never will.
The Taskmaster That Wasn’t
Perhaps the biggest complaint that people are havingfor Black Widow is targeted towards the Taskmaster. She, contrary to ‘he’ in the comics, was a let-down. The character debuted in 1980’s Avengers #195. His real name is Anthony “Tony” Masters and even has the Super Solider Serum running in his veins. None of this was in the movie. But that’s not the point. The Taskmaster did not at all seem intimidating. From the suit to the very character-arc, the Taskmaster did not carry the weight that the character should have.
Antonia’s (Olga Kurylenko) character shares a clear similarity with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Cobra Commander in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Both were considered dead in the respective movies till they returned for revenge. Yet, the revelation of Antonia as Taskmaster did not hit the spot. Why? Because Taskmaster did not receive any depth, just like Alexei, Melina, and Dreykov.
So how did Black Widow stretch for so long (2 hours 14 minutes) if none of the above-mentioned characters were duly seen? The answer is Black Widow herself. The creators were so drowned to showcase the character that they shoved aside the characters that could be more explored, the storyline that could have been better, and the villain that should have had more depth.
Meanwhile, Yelena Belova will be back in Disney+ Hawkeye that will premiere in late 2021.