Director: Cate Shortland
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour
Release Date: September 14, 2021
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7.5/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
In Marvel Studios’ action-packed spy thriller Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff — aka Black Widow — confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger. Scarlett Johansson reprises her role as Natasha/Black Widow, Florence Pugh stars as Yelena, David Harbour portrays Alexei/The Red Guardian, and Rachel Weisz is Melina. Black Widow — the first film in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — is directed by Cate Shortland and produced by Kevin Feige.
Please Note: Disney/Marvel Studios provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
Marvel’s ‘Black Widow’ takes a deeper look into the life of Natasha Romanoff (aka Black Widow) both as a child and prior to the events of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ as she finds herself on the run due to her involvement in breaking the Sokovia Accords when she comes across a dangerous individual and evidence linking back to her past and a long-ago sister which she shared a bond with during childhood. After tracking down and enlisting the help of her sister Yelena, the two subsequently track down their old pair of parents from that time in the hope that they can assist them in locating a dangerous program that holds ties to all of their pasts and a deadly set of experiments led by a cruel man that they intend to stop once and for all.
Directed by Cate Shortland (Berlin Syndrome) from a screenplay written by Eric Pearson (Thor: Ragnarok) and a story by Jac Schaeffer and Ned Benson respectively, Shortland does a highly capable job at the helm of ‘Black Widow’ guiding along the ride with style and humor, not to mention a swift pace and plenty of heart. The film also owes its share of credit to the cast which includes Scarlett Johansson (Avengers: Endgame), Florence Pugh (Fighting With My Family), David Harbour (Hellboy), Rachel Weisz (The Fountain), Ray Winstone (The Departed), O-T Fagbenle (TV’s The Handmaid’s Tale), William Hurt (The Incredibly Hulk) and more, with nearly all offering solid performances for the most part in each of their respective roles.
‘Black Widow’ is another enjoyable Marvel film outing loaded with plenty of action, humor and heart. It delves deeper into the life and past of Avenger Natasha Romanoff (aka Black Widow), providing a more intimate look into the person herself, as well as some of the notable events that led her to become the deadly assassin and eventual hero we know. It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that ‘Black Widow’ may not deliver the insanity and game changing shock factor that ‘Avengers: Endgame’ managed to, but it does enough with what it has to work with to still make it another worthy addition to the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe lineup and capably handles tackling so many different aspects of Natasha’s life without the movie ever becoming overwhelmed or excessively jumbled in the process.
The film noticeably benefits from the capable guidance of director Cate Shortland and the stellar cast at its disposal led by Scarlett Johansson does quite a bit to keep things working smoothly throughout as well, particularly the great chemistry between Johansson and Florence Pugh who work together remarkably well, while the humorous portrayal of Red Guardian by David Harbour definitely doesn’t hurt the fun level by any means either. Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe who haven’t yet a chance to check out ‘Black Widow’ are definitely encouraged to do so when possible. It may not be quite as exhilarating or groundbreaking as some entries in the ever expanding world of films but it most certainly still delivers enough heart, humor and exciting adventure to keep fans thoroughly entertained from start to finish.
Overall, Marvel’s ‘Black Widow’ serves up an exciting, action-packed and at times rather touching look at the life of Avenger Natasha Romanoff and a surprisingly personal mission that takes her all the way back to her childhood. Johansson does a great job in the spotlight with some help from a wonderful supporting cast and fans who always wanted some more insight into the character definitely won’t want to miss out on this one. ‘Black Widow’ is recommended, especially for fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that have been keeping up with the cinematic lineup. It’s a solid new entry and a nice bridge intersecting the new lineup of films (and series) going into Phase IV. While some will understandably be uncomfortable spending the money on a blind purchase of the film, I would definitely encourage looking for a rental option or at the very least keeping an eye out for when it arrives streaming on Disney Plus without an additional charge required.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Black Widow’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with a 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks wonderful as a whole and provides a smooth, brightly colored and richly detailed presentation from start to finish with no unexpected troubles to be uncovered along the way. It holds up impressively even during the numerous fast moving, darkly lit and/or heavily populated moments throughout and never allows anything that’s occurring onscreen to become negatively affected or problematic. Overall, this is a great high definition video presentation that shouldn’t have any trouble satisfying fans and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack serves up a crisp, clean and hard hitting audio presentation throughout. It constantly takes advantage of all seven available channels in order to send vehicles, characters, bullets and other action effects, plus nature content and a whole lot more consistently whipping throughout the various speakers at every logical opportunity, and never resulting in any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously becoming distorted or rendered inaudible along the way. Overall, this is a pretty solid DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack that contributes plenty of extra fun to the viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Black Widow’ includes a handful of fun extras that fans should enjoy. Included on the release is a ‘Movie Introduction by Director Cate Shortland’ (running approximately 1 minute in length), along with a collection of ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the film (running approximately 14 minutes altogether) and a ‘Gag Reel’ (approximately 3 minutes). We are also treated to the 2 Behind the Scenes Featurettes ‘Sisters Gonna Work It Out’ (approximately 5 minutes) and ‘Go Big If You’re Going Home’ (9 minutes) which include interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 7.5/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Marvel’s ‘Black Widow’ is Now Available to Own on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from Disney & Marvel Studios