Black Widow: Why The Character’s Solo Outing Was A Disappointment

Spoilers for Black Widow, available to stream on Disney+.

Scarlett Johansson Black Widow
Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow

Natasha Romanoff deserved better.

For as long as we can remember, Black Widow was a significant character all throughout Phases 1 to 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, playing vital supporting roles in a total of eight essential MCU films before finally being given her own solo outing this year. Over the course of her various appearances in the franchise, the character garnered widespread fan adoration, being one of the founding members of the MCU’s The Avengers, making for the prospect of her own solo film all the more warranted.

Suffice it to say, the Black Widow solo film that we were then presented with ended up being a complete let-down and subsequent disservice to the franchise’s most beloved double agent. Although there is plenty to dissect as to why this is the unfortunate case with the film, for the sake of keeping things bite-sized, we have instead compiled three glaringly apparent issues that made the movie a rather disappointing viewing experience.

1. The Horrendous Mishandling of The Red Guardian

Red Guardian
David Harbour as The Red Guardian

Alexei Alanovich Shostakov is a poorly written character with no valid reason to be included in the film other than to serve as a tokenized “father figure” for Natasha Romanoff’s pretend family. For a character that has long been pegged as Captain America’s equal in the comics, there is next to nothing in terms of a character arc in the film that showcased this assessment. We do not see him do anything of substance to the plot. In fact, the only thing The Red Guardian ever does is make silly comments and fumble at every turn, reduced to a walking joke that just seems more out of place the more he appears on screen.

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2. That Appalling Taskmaster Twist

Taskmaster
Olga Kurylenko as Taskmaster

What is probably the second most laughable instance in the film, it is revealed during the film’s climax that the inexorable skull-masked assassin hunting Natacha Romanoff throughout the film is none other than Antonia Dreykov, played by Olga Kurylenko, in what appears to be a case of lousy CGI face swap. Granted, within the context of the film, the very predictable twist does make sense. However, as many fans have pointed out, the fact that the Taskmaster is Dreykov’s previously believed to be dead daughter made for quite the hilarious eyebrow-raising moment. This is because, for the vast majority of the film, the villain is so obviously played by a male stuntman. As much as the production team endeavored to conceal the stunt performer, Andy Lister’s, face behind the mask, it was virtually impossible to hide the way he would walk; because he walked like a man, making for an unintentionally comedic reveal at the end.

3. That moment when Black Widow banged her head on the table

Black Widow Broken Nose
Black Widow, seen here laughably breaking her nose

Arguably the most hilarious moment in the film, one that is clearly on par with the Martha scene from Batman v Superman, is the scene in which Black Widow banged her head onto Dreykov’s desk in order to break her own nose. While this particular instance in the film is ripped right out from a Black Widow comic miniseries, its translation onto the screen is what made for a good laugh. To recap the events, the pheromone that emanates from Dreykov precludes Black Widow from attacking the villain. Thus, to disable her sense of smell, she slams her head onto the table and breaks her nose. All jokes and memes aside, one wonders why Romanoff did not just attack Dreykov and kill him from a distance? as it would have made for a far less clunky and inadvertently funny scene. Perhaps, this was the intention all along.

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