Black Widow: What say the critics?

Black Widow
(Critics have responded positively to the first film in Marvel’s Phase Four)

After a very long wait, Black Widow is FINALLY making its way to the big screen (and Disney+).

Black Widow was originally planned for release on May 1, 2020. But the outbreak of the novel coronavirus made that impossible. After several delays, plans changed several times and Disney eventually moved it to July 9, 2021, announcing that it would also make its presence felt on Disney Plus Premier Access so that fans could choose if they wanted to see it in theaters or in their homes.

Even though we are still 10 days away from the official release date, Rotten Tomatoes is already ranking the film 85% fresh based on 83 critics reviews. Here’s what critics are saying about Black Widow:

Dana Stevens of Slate exclaims, “Black Widow Is a Thrilling Remedy for the Sexism of Marvel Movies Past! It reminded me why big screens and comic book superheroes go so well together. I think I can say for the first time in years about a Marvel property that the next chapter can’t come soon enough.”

Rubin Safaya of Cinemalogue wasn’t quite as thrilled and called the movie, “A facile metaphor against the times, the modern superhero franchise hides real issues behind a mask, or blonde hair dye and a green vest.”

Scott Mendelson of Forbes agrees and says, “The years-too-late solo flick for Scarlett Johansson’s MCU superhero is both too much of a glorified backdoor pilot for its co-star and not up to par with the spy films and espionage thrillers it wishes to emulate.”

Owen Gleiberman of Variety seemed to have enjoyed it stating, “The movie features just enough kinetic combat to give a mainstream audience that getting-your-money’s-worth feeling, but from the opening credits (built around Think Up Anger’s dreamy slow-mo cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”), most of it has a gritty, deliberate, zap-free tone that is strikingly — and intentionally — earthbound for a superhero fantasy. The director, Australia’s Cate Shortland (“Somersault”), works in unvarnished closeup and establishes a mood of lurching, desultory anxiety that’s closer to Russian neorealism than the Russo brothers.”

Alonso Duralde from TheWrap says, “Rather than deeply explore the character and soul of Natasha Romanoff, however, Black Widow treats her like a TV star who’s devoting an episode of her series to introducing new characters who might or might not break off into a spinoff of their own. The film does offer additional insight into the character’s tortured past, but the overwhelming effect is that of a baton being passed.”

Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair says, “Divorced of its duties to superhero lore, Black Widow would still be a sufficiently deft spy caper, confidently crafted and worthy on its own terms. And yet it wouldn’t exist without the long and diligent work of Johansson and Kevin Feige’s project. Even a canny genre movie like this had to be tied to the biggest I.P. of them all to get made.”

David Rooney from Hollywood Reporter praised the cast, “Directed by Cate Shortland with propulsive excitement, humor and pleasingly understated emotional interludes, this stand-alone proves a stellar vehicle for Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff, given first-rate support by Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz and David Harbour. Shifting away from the superhero template into high-octane espionage thriller territory”

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Philip De Semlyen from Time Out says, “Black Widow leans into its espionage-movie influences with nods to spycraft (props to whoever came up with ‘Fanny Longbottom’ for Romanoff’s fake passport) and starring roles for spy-movie locations like Budapest, Morocco and Norway. And when Romanoff sits down to chug a beer and quote along to Moonraker, Black Widow may even be acknowledging a debt there, too, in a villain with shades of Hugo Drax.”

Johnny Oleksinski from New York Post shared his accolades, “The movie’s vibe isn’t like your average MCU entry at all, really. What it reminded me of are the many James Bond films where 007 goes rogue and cavorts around world cities seeking his revenge du jour. Johansson, who actually watches Moonraker in one scene, has Bond’s same confidence and swagger — if not his retro libido — which is so often missing from these wisecracking Marvel actors who look like they got lost on the way to a Judd Apatow set.

To celebrate the film’s release, Marvel Studios has also released a new poster:

Black Widow stars Scarlett Johansson, is directed by Cate Shortland and also stars Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz and David Harbour. See it in theaters or on Disney+ Premier on July 9, 2021.