Shortly after the events in Captain America: Civil War (2016), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding in Norway, but a violent encounter with a masked figure brings her back in touch with her sister (Florence Pugh). The first movie in Marvel’s ”Phase Four”, following Avengers: Endgame (2019), is indeed a step back in time, but still delivers the goods in terms of action and entertainment, looking more like a James Bond movie at times. Still, the post-credits sequence teases us about the future. Pugh is feisty and David Harbour amusing as the Soviet version of Captain America, who’s lost his touch (and slim waistline).
2021-U.S. 134 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Kevin Feige. Directed by Cate Shortland. Screenplay: Eric Pearson. Comic Book: Stan Lee, Don Rico, Don Heck. Cast: Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), Florence Pugh (Yelena Belova), David Harbour (Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian), Rachel Weisz (Melina Vostakoff), Ray Winstone, William Hurt… Olga Kurylenko. Cameo: Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
Trivia: Co-executive produced by Johansson. Filmed in 2019 and delayed more than a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Emma Watson and Saoirse Ronan were reportedly considered as Yelena. Followed by a miniseries, Hawkeye (2021).
Last word: “I loved the idea that [Natasha] was every woman, she was a woman walking to the train station, she was a woman who was hitchhiking or pulled over in a car, she was a woman or an apartment, and she was being attacked. And that’s why we’ve got stuff where we’re on the ground with her. I really wanted to feel the violence, and not just be observing it. And I think that’s what, to me, is sort of female [about the action]. We’re often the victims of violence, so I wanted to at least feel it in this film.” (Shortland, Polygon)