Marvel’s latest production “Black Widow,” brings feminist messages, meaningless plot, and frustrated attempts at humor. Photo: Disclosure

When Robin Williams was on the “Mork & Mindy” series, his improvisations were so constant that the writers gave up writing their lines and started leaving blank pages in the script, with the words “here Monk says what he’s saying. wants”.

I’m sure the script for “Black Widow” had about 30 blank pages, just with the words “here are some nonsense special effects.” The film has the chase. There are explosions. There are fights. Cars explore, overturn, fall down stairs, and people come out without a scratch. The movie has a prison break scene with a helicopter so full of digital vomit it littered all around it and in no time was it grabbing the viewer’s attention. If a movie is to be considered the worst in the Marvel Universe, “Black Widow” is a big contender, although “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Thor: The Dark World” are hard to beat.

The strange thing is that instead of being a true story of the origin of the Black Widow (who died in “Avengers: Ultimatum”), the film carves out a place between the two previous films as if we had a duty to memory. what happened in history in 2016. It doesn’t matter; the film has no direct connection to anything in the saga and therefore is disposable, although the post-credits scenes refer to new MCU TV works that I have never seen. (It’s too much to ask, after 23 movies, that we’ve watched every episode of the three new MCU TV shows. Following the Marvel Universe increasingly feels like a second job.)

The plot of “Black Widow” suggests that the series “The Americans” and “Mission: Impossible” had a son named “007 against the Rocket of Death”. Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha grew up alongside her fake little sister in a fake Ohio family of four Russian undercover agents tasked with keeping tabs on a SHIELD lab Mother (Rachel Weisz), Father (David Harbor) and Natasha’s sister (played as an adult by Florence Pugh) first speak perfect English, then begin to speak with a ridiculous Russian accent for no other reason than the actors’ desire to have fun.

The film is directed by a woman, the Australian Cate Shortland. So, as with “Birds of Prey” and “Wonder Woman 1984”, critics will praise “Black Widow” for knowing how it will affect them (and they have good reason to fear losing their jobs) and knowing that someone will surely lose their mind and accuse them of misogyny. So it’s easier to pretend it’s a good movie, what a great career you have there, I criticize. It would be a shame if anything happened to him.

Like those other films with women, the film needs a feminist socio-political hook for “Black Widow” to be considered socially relevant. In this case, the problem is that the widows are actually girls kidnapped or taken away after being abandoned, and later trained to be deadly secret agents by a male master. The message is that girls are a cruelly victimized class, but they’re also strong, shrewd, and able to kick ass. I wanted the writers to put more effort into creating interesting stories and characters, rather than working on such commercial plots, but I think in this type of production the line between writer and commercial isn’t not the clearest.

Widows are therefore essentially an army of fembots, but without the grace of the “Austin Powers”. Their sinister lord, Dreykov (Ray Winstone), whom they don’t meet until the end of the film, prides himself on being able to activate them whenever he wants. But his enemies have access to a red powder that frees them from brainwashing. I imagine that once liberated to reach their full potential, the Widows join an entirely different army of zombies controlled by another sinister power: the TikTok.

The film portrays Natasha’s Russian agent family as heroes because there’s something even worse there, but it creates an Iran-Iraq-type problem for audiences who cares what camp wins if both sides are bad? The only fun element of the film is Pugh’s role as Yelena, who fights and fights with her older sister in various comedic scenes. At least Yelena laughs, mocking the pose Natasha (and most other Marvel heroes) do when she wants to come in and get attention.

Meanwhile, Harbor consumes much of the film trying to serve as a comedic outlet as Alexei, whose heroic identity is the Russian version of Captain America, the Red Guardian. Abandoned in a Russian prison, the Red Guardian has grown in size and barely fits into its old uniform. A lot of the scenes try to make people laugh because of his vanity, but the uncle’s jokes seem old. As for Rachel Weisz, in an ordinary sitcom mom role, she’s too old to wear her black leather uniform. It’s unworthy of his dignity, or at least I would like it to be.

Just like comedy scenes aren’t funny, action scenes aren’t exciting. Natasha never seems to be in danger. She doesn’t seem to be having fun either, thanks to Johansson’s cold gaze. For a super spy, she’s unbearably stupid, and throughout the film there are several examples of this nonsense.

The chase scenes in random places (Hey, we’re in Morocco! Hey, we’re in Finland now!) That one minute you don’t know who’s after whom and why. And is it important? No. Just enjoy the crashes and explosions if you can. After all, at least these are feminist hits and explosions!

The film has an undercover opponent coming and going, which leads to a surprising twist that is not surprising at all. And there’s also a talk about a box of test tubes that everyone wants. Judging by the intermittent references to these bottles, I don’t think the writers didn’t care. Although neither do I.

The truth is, nothing looks quite right since Iron Man’s death, has it? Since “Avengers: Ultimatum,” everything Marvel has given us has a little bit of value. These days, Marvel favors quantity over quality. The show has miraculously attached us emotionally to a lot of interesting characters, but these days it’s turning into a simple factory that makes stuff.

Marvel made us feel like we couldn’t miss a single episode of the saga. Today, it promotes hours of entertainment that are less and less interesting every month. It’s hard to keep track of everything and there’s no reason why.

Kyle Smith is a fellow of the National Review Institute and a cultural critic for the National Review.

© 2021 National review. Posted with permission. Original in English