Tuesday, August 3

Black Widow Review – Scarlett Johansson, the Russian super spy with an electra complex | Black widow


TThe sensual purr of cough syrup in Scarlett Johansson’s voice is something I have missed in confinement; now he’s back with a throaty vengeance in the very enjoyable standalone episode for which his character Black Widow was long overdue. It’s co-written by WandaVision creator Jac Schaeffer and enthusiastically directed by Cate Shortland, with hints of Terminator 2 and Mission: Impossible but certainly maintaining the tonal consistency of a typical MCU melodrama.

This film gives us the backstory of Black Widow’s presence in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, involving an origin story and myth of family trauma, identity crisis, and sibling rivalry with a pugnacious little sister, Yelena, portrayed in a entertained by Florence Pugh. Yelena can’t help but scoff at, but also perhaps envy, Black Widow’s ballet fighting stance, which involves absurd poses and resembles the antics of a woman in a shampoo commercial.

Black Widow, or Natasha, is now separated from her Avenger family and this seems like the right time to get acquainted with her unhappy upbringing as part of a Russian sleeper cell, posing as a normal American family in Ohio in the distant 1990s. . (Hint: a dire version of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit on the soundtrack.) The girls turn out to be orphans whose parents may have been kidnapped; now her fake mother is Melinda (Rachel Weisz) and her fake father is stocky and cocky Alexei, a thug and scene thief from a David Harbor comedic twist, both possessed by utterly compelling American accents and fond of crooning American Pie for the tape recorder out of the car as they glimpse a baseball game sentimentally.

Alexei is proud to be the first Soviet-sponsored super soldier, named “Red Guardian” in a copycat superhero outfit, and tragically obsessed with someone he considers his opposite number, Captain America, in what he curiously describes as the “geopolitical”. stage of international conflict ”. Now his masters have suppressed the truth about his superheroism and left him in a dilapidated prison where he spends his time challenging his peers in wrestling contests.

David Harbor as the Red Guardian.
David Harbor as the Red Guardian. Photograph: Landmark Media / Alamy

The life of the family in the heart of America is going to end in catastrophe and in the present they must come to a reckoning with the evil puppeteer Dreykov (Ray Winstone) who has been training an emotional zomboid army of “widows” from the which the two girls were originally. a part. He controls their minds but also keeps a cache of bright red antidote vials, which could restore the independence of these young women, and these, of course, assume MacGuffiny importance, so much so that we have to marvel at the wisdom of creating the blisters. in the first place. By the way, Dreykov seems to have a very particular political connection in that decade: there is a photo of him with Bill Clinton, which seems a bit harsh for that president; Surely a cunning villain like Dreykov would also have cultivated ties to the Bush family?

Well, Natasha and Yelena must confront Dreykov, who has good reason to hate Natasha with a special passion, an aspect of Black Widow’s personality that is actually not as convincingly developed as it could be, but they first have to figure out the problem. yours. differences, and there are impressive close-range martial arts fight scenes between the two.

In some ways, the most powerful relationship revealed here is that electra complex, the link between Black Widow and her absurd father, who is very big, very given to fits of temper and likes to break things. Does this give us a Freudian clue to Black Widow’s tendency toward Dr. Bruce Banner, the Hulk’s alter ego? This glimpse into her troubled psyche is worth the price of admission alone.

For fans of Black Widow and everyone else, this episode is a lot of fun and Harbor could well amount to its own spin-off greatness.

Black Widow opens in theaters on July 8 in Australia and July 9 in the US and UK, and on July 9 on Disney +.


www.theguardian.com

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