Black Widow first reviews: Critics call Scarlett Johansson-starrer ‘grittier’, solid standalone Marvel film

The early reviews of the much-awaited Scarlett Johansson-starrer Black Widow are out, and it looks like the actor has a win under her belt. Black Widow, which will hit US theatres and streaming platform Disney Plus with Premier Access on July 9, has received largely positive reactions from critics.

The Variety’s Owen Gleiberman wrote in his review, “In Scarlett Johansson’s appearances in the MCU thus far, going back to Iron Man 2, she’s been a kick-ass fighter in sleek leather with a few signature jackknife moves. I wondered, or maybe feared, that Black Widow would be two hours of that. It’s not; it’s much more interesting and absorbing.”

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw noted, “The sensuous cough-syrup purr of Scarlett Johansson’s voice is something I’ve missed in lockdown; now it’s back with a throaty vengeance in the highly enjoyable standalone episode for which her character Black Widow was well overdue.”

“Director Cate Shortland’s standalone adventure finds Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), kicking ass and trading banter with her combustible sort-of sister Yelena alongside gonzo adopted dad Red Guardian and his wife Melina. Their playful dynamic, based on a premise credited to Wandavision creator Jac Schaeffer and Ned Benson and written by Eric Pearson, injects Black Widow with a spiky attitude that keeps this polished product engrossing throughout, at least until it comes crashing down to the usual busy mashup of mayhem that often mars the Marvel routine,” mentioned IndieWire’s Eric Kohn in his review.

The Verge critic Andrew Webster opined, “As an action movie, it’s solid, with lots of fun set pieces to gawk at and a particularly menacing villain. While there are a handful of references to other movies, and fans will likely enjoy delving deeper into Romanoff’s backstory, you can mostly ignore all that if you want, and you’re still left with an entertaining spy thriller.”

Slash Film, meanwhile, wasn’t impressed with Black Widow, as Hoai-Tran Bui wrote in his review, “Black Widow is at its best when it’s a wacky family drama between Natasha, Yelena, Alexei, and Melina, with dashes of a spy thriller. But Marvel films can’t content themselves with staying small, and Black Widow falls victim to the big bombast characteristic of the studio. The result is a disappointing solo movie that ends up burying Natasha Romanoff once again.”

Black Widow is set after the events of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War in which the former Russian spy found herself on the run from the law after helping Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes. It will explore her past with the KGB and the infamous Red Room.

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