You’ve got Ike Perlmutter to blame for the delay, far more than the pandemic.
See, Kevin Fiege –the commander in creativity that’s shepherded the MCU into legendary status — wanted the Widow to have her own film years ago, but Perlmutter –chief penny pinching creep for years before being declawed– vetoed a BW movie saying female lead superhero movies don’t sell.
I just wanted to address the inequities in the system, and god knows there are still plenty. There *is* a certain section of the fan base who indeed do NOT like female lead superhero films in general. That seems to be faulty thinking, considering there are different productions, directors, actors, etc. in each, yet this group automatically dislikes them all, perhaps thinking that any such production is too “woke” or “progressive”. Yeah, I don’t know, I just want a good movie.
And frankly, if any of these stubborn idiots *don’t* think the character of Natasha Romanov has earned her own movie by now, well, they’re hopeless.
This IS a good movie. In fact, I’ve already watched it twice.
This film has been such a long time coming, yet I worried that a flashback film might undercut her fate in Endgame. Here, I think, oddly enough, that the pandemic delay may have helped. Instead of the fresh, raw sadness we might have felt revisiting Nat’s past, I was now eager to just see a familiar face after all this time. After a disquieting MCU absence in 2020, being able to settle in for a major film again was nice. I’ll be honest, I expected a solid entry just on the performance of ScarJo, but I didn’t know what else to expect. I was pleasantly surprised, and then some.
First, Scarlett Johansson is a welcome, familiar, commanding presence in this, her *eighth* MCU film. Her supporting cast is impressive–far more entertaining than one could hope. Florence Pugh as Yelena steals most of the scenes she’s in, when David Harbour’s Alexi/Red Guardian isn’t busy stealing his. This “family” dynamic plays to the heart of the characters and their relationship, while set square in the midst of bone crunching action, and spectacular fight choreography.
As for villains, I shouldn’t say too much except Ray Winston delivers nicely, and Taskmaster takes the comic character in unexpected directions, while maintaining the established abilities.
Now, I was totally unfamiliar with director Cate Shortland, but she’s easily the most impressive of the new crop of MCU directors in recent years. She knows how to handle heart, drama, comedy, and *proper* superhero action, all mixed together. This is not easy to do.
The director’s of Thor Ragnarok, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Spider-man: Far from home and Dr. Strange sometimes fell short in certain areas, couldn’t quite get that perfect mix, but Cate Shortland does. This reminded me more of some of the Captain America movies, and any comparison to the Russo bros. is as good as gold in my opinion.
Rewatchability is a big quality factor for me with these films. All the above films I mention that fall short? It took me ages and ages before I rewatched them. I just didn’t care. My friend Eric had to do a special edit of Ragnarok to take some of the stupid out. But Black Widow, twice in six days.
Now the next bit is how to watch the film. Some controversy here.
Kevin Fiege is all about people going to see the films in the theater and is almost dismissive about viewing it on Disney +. I don’t know if Kevin is just a theater elitist, or maybe has his head up his ass, but someone should remind Kev that not *everyone* is salivating to get back to packed movie houses yet.
Many people have good home theaters that serve perfectly well. Oh, of course not in the opinion of those who live and die by IMAX but just the same, I appreciate the writing, direction, action and score, more than having perfect surround sound tickling the back of my head.
Full disclosure: some of you already knew that I have a low opinion of going to the theater anyway, and have for years. Idiots with cell phones, chattering crowds, wrappers crackling, popcorn munching, etc. many people put up with humanity in these scenarios and even revel in it. I do not.
Disney + was made for me. Really, one $30 payment, the four of us watching it last Friday, … good lord, a family of four pays at least triple that going to a theater, then they have to sit through an hour of commercials and previews. No thanks.
You might wonder, how much money did Black Widow make on her opening weekend in this still partially pandemic influenced climate?
Well, the domestic box office was $80 mil, the added international was another 75 mil, and Disney + added another 60 mil! Usually, Disney never puts up their streaming numbers but did so this time. I must conclude that this was way more than they’d ever gotten before in an instance like this. Good!
Mind you, I have no idea what this means going forward — if people prefer + to theaters more and more, or if folks are just not ready to return to theaters yet. Hard to even say if + actually *stole* any butts from the movie seats, but I kind if doubt it. I think anyone who was going to see it in theaters anyway, SAW it in theaters. I think adding + just allowed more people to see it, along with those who were not inclined to head back to theaters yet.
We have no idea how bad the Delta wave of Covid’s going to get this fall, but the numbers are already growing. I think having Disney + as an option for the MCU films is probably very very smart, and obviously a money maker too. DC comics movies are relying on HBOMAX for the same reason, and I’m very much looking forward to James Gunn’s Suicide Squad next month.
I think guys like Fiege are going to have remember the common folk may have to seek more alternatives in the current situation.
But do I recommend Black Widow? Definitely. See it however you can!
8.5 out of 10.