Home Entertainment Unsolicited Opinions About “Black Widow” – Uncle Jim Reviews a Movie?

Unsolicited Opinions About “Black Widow” – Uncle Jim Reviews a Movie?

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This isn’t intended to be a movie review, but I suppose it’s inevitable that many of you will read it and see it as such. After all, we’re talking about Disney’s latest entry into the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe).


Let’s just tear off the Spongebob-themed Elastoplast plaster. Is it good? Is it bad? Should you watch it? Should you avoid it like the plague? If you’re a MCU fan, you’ll be happy to know that your uncle Jim enjoyed the movie. I should probably mention that I’ve liked most of the MCU flicks so far, and in the great Jim MCU ranking system, I would put it squarely somewhere in the middle of the 30 or so movies that have been released over the last decade (and a bit). The only one that I couldn’t stomach (or hated with the fury of Red Skull’s loathing of Captain America) is Captain Marvel.

But that also leads me to one of my greatest annoyances of the movie, a “Natasha Romanoff movie” is well overdue. In a just world, we should have seen this movie (or at least a version of it), soon after Avengers: Civil War, or even right after the first Captain America. It’s one of Marvel Studio’s greatest mistakes, because while Black Widow is an action-packed romp, packed with levity and near-perfect direction (by Cate Shortland), it feels out of place, especially given the events of Avengers: End Game.

It’s also a movie where I can’t fault the performances of Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, or even David Harbour as a hilarious version of the Red Guardian (Soviet Russia’s answer to Captain America). However, there are a few issues, and I’m probably not the only one who was a bit annoyed by this movie’s version of Taskmaster.

I think I’ve made it clear on many occasions that I wasn’t a Marvel fanboy growing up; I didn’t collect Marvel comics. I collected DC, DC Vertigo, Impact, Valiant, Fleetway and a bunch of other European and British comics. For some reason, the Marvel comics didn’t resonate with me, but I would read a few of them from time to time, and Taskmaster was one of those villains (like Red Mask, Magneto, Dr Doom, and others) that would easily stand out. I think one of the reasons I loved the original Taskmaster because he reminded me of Skeletor from He-Man, but it was his “superpower” that intrigued me. Anthony Masters didn’t have super-strength, nor was he particularly intelligent, but he had the uncanny ability to mimic (and even improve on the fighting style of) whoever he was battling. In some cases, even defeating Spiderman and Black Widow, because he could anticipate what their next move would be. Of all the Marvel villains, he felt the most like he could (or at least should) have been in a DC book, facing off against Batman.

In the Black Widow movie, the character is retconned (i.e. reimagined), and this version is definitely not Anthony Masters. I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, but while the general blueprint of the character is there, it’s not who you think it is. It’s a real shame because I would have loved to see a standalone Taskmaster movie because even though he’s a supervillain, he sometimes finds himself in the same position as the Punisher and other anti-heroes. Doing the wrong thing for the right reasons.

But what exactly is the movie about you’re probably wondering? And the general premise is that after Avengers: Civil War, Black Widow is on the run from Shield (because if you remember she sided with Captain America against Tony Stark). This leaves her exploring her past and encountering a few individuals from her past, and even the very organisation that was responsible for turning her into the assassin and badass that she would make her one of the best Avengers. It’s also why I mentioned that we should have seen this movie earlier because it explores some of her origin story – which is briefly touched on in previous movies. It also explores an even darker conspiracy that could have an even deeper impact on the greater MCU.

On the other hand, it’s also a handing “over-of-the-torch” movie, which in a way is bittersweet, primarily because Scarlett Johansson could easily –still– play this character for the next 10 years, and as I said, she really should have gotten her three movies (even if it meant a team-up series of movies with Hawkeye or even a buddy-cop style movie with Nick Fury).

In summary, though, there’s a lot to enjoy about Black Widow, and as an MCU movie it ticks all the boxes: it’s fun, funny, action-packed, with great action scenes. The script is a little flimsy, but I think that can be overlooked because it does what it’s intended to, and that’s to keep you entertained for the duration of the 2-hour runtime.

As I said, I’m not a movie reviewer, and I’m reluctant to put a score down, but I think Black Widow deserves a well-deserved 7/10. I would have scored it higher, if not for the treatment of Taskmaster, a few odd story decisions, and the omission of a cameo from either Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark or even Samuel L Jackson as Nick Fury. If you can, watch this movie on the big screen. I wasn’t too impressed by Disney Plus, and essentially renting it through the service, but at the end of the day, your uncle Jim enjoyed it, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too. It gets a double thumbs up from me.

Last Updated: July 21, 2021

Black Widow
An action-packed romp, filled with levity but unfortunately weighed down by the predictability of a Marvel Studios movie.
7.0
Black Widow was reviewed on Disney +

15 Comments

  1. 7 out of 10 is very generous

    Reply

    • Mandalorian Jim

      July 22, 2021 at 04:01

      Probably, but I’m not a fan of assigning scores in any case, and I’m old school in that nothing can ever achieve a score of 10. You can’t have that level of perfection, and 5 is average. And, I enjoyed Black Widow. I think the script could have gone through a number of re-writes (and probably did). I was suprised that they kept it pretty basic and fairly formulaic for a superhero movie, but… it does set up Florence as the new Black Widow and hopefully she gets the 3-movie treatment that Scarlett deserved or at least let Scarlett cameo a few times.

      Reply

      • My life as a P1

        July 22, 2021 at 05:57

        he problem is the script. I don’t think they put any effort at all into the script at all. There are far too many parts of the movie that follow the storyline of Winter Soldier and it comes off as a little lazy. Black Widow deserved more.

        Reply

  2. HvR

    July 22, 2021 at 03:50

    Mostly agree, only place I disagree is Red Guardian. The comically over the top Russian stereotype felt a bit out of place in a movie that overall has quite a dark/somber story and vibe to it.

    That and that this is a out of place phase 2 movie let me slap it down to 6/10.

    Florence Pugh, gets a 10/10 as a Black Widow/Black Widow Jnr.

    Reply

    • Mandalorian Jim

      July 22, 2021 at 03:56

      I liked Florence too, the scene with her explaining to Natasha that her utility jacket has many pockets had me in stitches. It just seemed so natural, in that if you were mind controlled for decades, something so mundane would become so important.

      I didn’t mind the Red Guardian being more of a comically-over-the-top stereotype, because the character is a product of its time (a Soviet super soldier who probably still believes the propoganda), and the fact that he never got to square off with Captain America to show off who’s the real super-soldier is kind of funny to me.

      Reply

    • Mandalorian Jim

      July 22, 2021 at 04:03

      My issue is more Taskmaster – and not the gender swap, but that in the comics the guy is truly a badass, and while not a Dr Doom or a Magneto, the times he bested other superheroes are numerous. Oddly, I think he could never beat Deadpool, because Deadpool is too bonkers, and Taskmaster could never read or anticpate what the merc with a mouth would do.

      Reply

  3. Aussious

    July 22, 2021 at 03:37

    I agree completely, I really enjoyed this movie however it could have been a bit better if it was released 3 years before End Game ago and given a little more love in the story department. That said I’m really surprised by Florence Pugh, she’s fantastic kinda reminds of Chris Evans Cap in the First Avenger I really hope the follow up to this is Black Widow and the Red Guardian.

    Reply

    • Mandalorian Jim

      July 22, 2021 at 03:58

      It should have been released 3 – 6 years ago, and it really annoys me that Scarlett Johansson didn’t get her 3-movies. They had the perfect character, one that both boys and girls love (and cough… the men.. enjoy too… cough). I don’t know if her merchandise sold but if it didn’t shame on you kids… you little snotty nosed Ipad-raised critters.

      Reply

    • Mandalorian Jim

      July 22, 2021 at 04:41

      Imagine a stand-alone Red Guardian movie (even if it’s just a Disney Plus) movie, as he tries to get back into shape, and his goal is to finally take on Captain America. It would be awesome.

      Reply

    • Emperor Pen

      August 8, 2021 at 05:43

      I liked it too, but it would have been more impactful 3 years ago.

      Reply

  4. RideBoks

    July 22, 2021 at 04:31

    Liked it more than I thought I would, I don’t know anything about taskmaster so couldn’t really be let down with the character but she felt lacking. I really wanted to see more of her during the red room days (like the intro credits) but was pleasantly surprised after the trailer kinda bored me. PS. The Shows are pretty damn good especially Loki.

    Reply

    • Mandalorian Jim

      July 22, 2021 at 04:40

      Loki surprised me. I wasn’t too into Wandavision, and Falcon and the Winter Soldier was a chore to get through (although I liked Zemo).

      But, Loki should have been a movie, because the implications of the series are a lot more far fetching and it could set the tone for the whole of phase 4 (which I’m already sceptical about).

      Reply

      • RideBoks

        July 22, 2021 at 04:52

        FATWS (as you said Zemo was great, and liked some the US agent stuff) was okay but just okay, Loved WandaVision except for parts of the finale and Monica Rambo. but Loki so damn good. I’m sure in one of the films (probably Eternals) they’ll re setup the implications of Loki unless they trust the majority of viewers will see it, I’m happy with the 5 – 6 hours we got instead of a 2 hours film.

        Reply

  5. R1ker

    July 26, 2021 at 10:56

    I have to be honest – I really did not enjoy this too much. Maybe it is because this actually should have come out after Civil War. The script for me was quite week. Dunno – maybe I am just nit picking. Or maybe I am suffering from Marvel burnout.

    Reply

    • Mandalorian Jim

      July 30, 2021 at 06:49

      I think we’re all suffering from Marvel burnout – that’s why I think phase 4 isn’t going to be as impactful or profitable as the last 10 years of Marvel cape movies. But, maybe I’m wrong… who knows. The Loki series is phenomenal, so there seems to be a little bit of magic left in the wand.

      Reply

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