Friday, December 1, 2023

Movie review: Black Widow


Writing in the student newspaper at Coral Gables Senior High School in Florida, Isabel Donner and Sofia Cruz review the summer blockbuster Black Widow, the latest episode in the Avengers series that tells the backstory of Natasha Romanoff, the Russian spy and first female Avenger played by Scarlett Johansson.

Despite the convoluted nature of the movie’s introduction and a somewhat underdeveloped plot, Black Widow was an entertaining treat for fans of Romanoff’s fiery personality. The movie was also a refreshing take on the female lead as it strayed from the overly sexualized portrayal of Romanoff that has previously been present throughout the Avenger’s series.

Rotten Tomatoes gives the July 9 release an 80% rating with more than 450 critics weighing in, confirming the student writers’ opinion that “the special effects, costumes, computer-generated images, and camera work are worth the watch,” making the movie’s $200 million budget worthwhile. “The fight scenes are done especially well, true to Avenger fashion, and there are plenty of shootouts and explosions that action fans can enjoy throughout the movie.”

Reviewer Maya Phillips in the New York Times disagreed somewhat about the female portrayal of Romanoff’s character. She writes:

Women assassins, women mad scientists: There seems to be a thematic undercurrent of girl power and the strength of women, which is often systematically subdued or controlled by men, but it feels superficial. We aren’t introduced to the other widows, and, for a film about expert fighters, the fight choreography and cinematography don’t do our female warriors justice; the rapidly shifting camera angles obscure rather than reveal the martial arts.

Although I also found myself disappointed with the film, I would not have given it a bad grade, as Ms Phillips did. Although I was expecting more of a spy movie, given the mad science of the Russians, what I got was a film that reflected on the value of family and made a joke out of an Avenger hero’s poses in fight scenes.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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