Are audiences going to love Black Widow or hate it? First reactions have made that very unclear. One thing that does seem certain is that fans aren’t likely to walk away on the fence. So far, those who’ve been lucky enough to get an early peek have come away either gushing that Scarlett Johansson has done Natasha proud, or furious that the movie is such a letdown after waiting so long to finally see this solo movie happen. Right now, critics and journalists are the only ones having their say, but they’re being quite loud about it.
Let’s start off with the negative viewpoint. Multiple people who didn’t like Black Widow are suggesting that the Scarlett Johansson movie should have been a Disney+ television series instead.
This last tweet where they say that the movie is more interested in having audiences get to know Florence Pugh’s character than telling Scarlett Johansson’s backstory, after all these years, is particularly concerning. We’ve waited so long for a Black Widow solo movie. After everything that happened with Natasha in Endgame, this feels like the big chance to tell us everything about her in the prequel. This movie takes place between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. It’s our chance to learn “what happened in Budapest” and learn all there is to know about this often mysterious Avenger. Is Marvel really going to use it just to introduce new, younger characters?
Despite these similar poor reviews from some of the early viewers for Black Widow, commenters are still asking questions like, “How are the action scenes though?” and “What about Florence Pugh’s performance? Worth a watch?” It feels clear that most Marvel fans have been waiting for this movie since Scarlett Johansson first played Natasha in Iron Man 2. We’re going to see it. Please, give us reasons to want to do so.
And so, there are the people who really love Black Widow.
What’s particularly interesting here is that some of the comments from the early reviewers who loved it do echo some of the sentiments from the tweets that didn’t like Black Widow. Scott Menzel called it “uneven”. At the same time, Kate Erbland, who liked it, says that the first half feels intimate and talky, while other parts feel heavier on the action sequences. She liked that she got the opportunity to see Scarlett Johansson’s character in different situations after all this time. For the other reviewers, this felt like a mess.
This indicates that people who loved and hated Black Widow saw the same movie and noticed the same things, but still came away with very different experiences. This may mean that audiences are going in with different expectations and wants after all this time. What do we want to see Scarlett Johansson doing in this solo movie? Fighting in action scenes? Telling us more about her personal life? If you’d asked in the early days of Marvel, many would have likely assumed that any kind of prequel solo movie for Natasha would have also starred Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye.
Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha has come a long way since we first wished for a Black Widow movie. Audiences are bound to be coming in wanting different things. Hopefully, most of us will be getting what we came for when the movie finally releases on July 9, 2021.