'Black Widow' is a big hit in theaters and on Disney+

Entertainment

CNN 11 July, 2021 - 10:53am 26 views

What movie does Black Widow come after?

Black Widow, which joined Phase Four of Marvel's sprawling cinematic universe Friday, takes place after the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. (The former debuted in 2016; the latter, in 2018.) Daily BeastMarvel's 'Black Widow' Movie Is One Last F*ck You to Natasha Romanoff

How did Black Widow do at box office?

“Black Widow” tallied $80 million at the domestic box office during its debut, the most of any film released in the wake of the Covid epidemic. The film garnered an additional $60 million from Disney+ sales. In addition, “Black Widow” tallied $78M from international ticket sales. CNBC'Black Widow' snags $80 million from its theatrical debut, $60 million from Disney+

Who plays taskmaster in Black Widow?

Olga Kurylenko, who previously appeared in the James Bond film Quantum of Solace and the Tom Cruise actioner Oblivion, plays Taskmaster in the film. EW.comTaskmaster explained: How Black Widow retconned character's origin | EW.com

Is there anything at the end of Black Widow?

“Black Widow” ends with Natasha still alive, her ever-changing hair cut to the blonde bob she sports in “Infinity War,” as she flies off to reunite with her Avengers compatriots and ultimately fight against Thanos. Variety‘Black Widow’ Star and Director Break Down That Post-Credits Scene (SPOILERS)

Black Widow is a thrilling, though heavy-handed, espionage take on Marvel’s standard fare that adds tragic depth to Natasha Romanoff’s superhero story. Of the core Avengers team, Black Widow’s past has always remained the most shrouded in mystery. A trained Russian assassin decked out in black tactical wear and an ever-changing range of hairstyles, Natasha Romanoff easily shrugged out of one identity and into her next, wrangling with a guilty conscience over her past lives. With Black Widow, Marvel is finally digging into that mysterious past, giving the original Avengers team’s only woman far overdue time in the limelight.

The film is set between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity Wars, when the Sokovia Accords forced the team to split up and reassess, though viewers know the team reunited (with Natasha remaining a steadfast member). Black Widow bridges the gap between a more mercenary Natasha, and the woman who threw herself off of a cliff so Hawkeye could survive — introducing us to her “family,” following her mission to destroy the “Red Room” where Black Widows are trained and making it clear she always had qualms about being a trained killer. After all, she never had a choice.

The film is, in a word, ambitious. It’s a superhero flick but also an espionage action-thriller, a dysfunctional family drama, a send-off, and overwhelmingly, a film about recovering from abuse. Much of it doesn’t feel like a Marvel film at all, thanks to the darker tone used to tell the story of a Russian program that kidnaps young girls and trains them to become assassins. There isn’t a catalyzing event that gave Natasha superpowers — no radioactive spider bite or gamma bomb. And Natasha already defected to S.H.I.E.L.D., though viewers will get clarity on why she joined in the first place. The film centers on affirming why she continues on the path of heroism, beyond just escaping the confines of her past life. Though it resolves on a hopeful note, it leaves an aftertaste of intense tragedy for one of Marvel’s original Avengers.

Black Widow benefits from a post-Endgame era that has unshackled the Marvel Cinematic Universe from its own precise format, if mostly on Disney+. With WandaVision playing with the sitcom form and Loki serving high-concept science fiction, it feels natural for Black Widow to be styled like a James Bond espionage thriller, complete with a broody title sequence. The film flits between international locales, motorcycle chases, rescue missions, and fight scenes in close quarters that have a real sense of urgency and mortality. It’s a nice dial back from Marvel films whose heroes can feel immortal, threatened only by a villain like Thanos and the power of the Infinity Stones.

Natasha isn’t superhuman but rather the most “optimized” version of a human, and when she takes a punch it looks like it hurts like hell. When she fights with Taskmaster — who does feel superhuman thanks to their fight style based in mimicry — there’s a sense of real danger. (Part of the fun is recognizing which Avenger that Taskmaster is emulating, from Captain America’s shield to T'Challa’s arm-crossing stance.) The result is a rare Marvel film that feels satisfyingly street level, in a Jessica Jones kind of way, while still playing with scale and classic superhero elements. The fabric of the universe doesn’t bend and time doesn’t shift, but the film is plied with pseudoscientific, futuristic technology befitting a spy-tinged Marvel world.

Black Widow is strongest when its leads, Natasha and little sister Yelena Belova, are fighting, whether against one another or working together. Florence Pugh does excellent work as Yelena, who is also a Black Widow. Her deadpan is pitch-perfect, coaxing humor out of a traditionally stoic Scarlett Johansson. Where Natasha has coped by turning cold, Yelena has coped with humor—and she pokes fun at Natasha’s Black Widow crouch, complete with the hair flip, adding much-needed levity. It’s also thrilling to see a classic genre populated by more women fighters, a rare treat to see Pugh haphazardly operating a helicopter as Johansson parkours her way on foot. Rachel Weisz rounds out the trio, as the brains of the operation.

For all of its inventive action pyrotechnics, Black Widow does eventually land in territory that feels more in line with the MCU. It chugs through scenes that affirm Marvel’s traditional sense of found family: the idea that family is whoever you decide to fight for, and a hero is someone willing to defend even those outside of it. Natasha’s “found family” of Avengers is contrasted with her dysfunctional planted childhood “family” of Russian spies. David Harbour and Rachel Weisz’s performances of reluctant parents ground the drama in surprisingly relatable emotions — particularly Harbour’s obsession with the halcyon days of his career as the Soviet super-soldier Red Guardian, and the sacrifice required in parenting. But Taskmaster fights for relevance, as the film dwells on family baggage, slowing down as it climbs up to its final confrontation between Natasha and her target: the man behind the Black Widow program.

Despite Black Widow’s self-serious tone, epic fights are still bookended with very literal visuals of solidarity. The film lands on a darker Bond-like version of resilience, with Black Widow’s pain tolerance and endurance of suffering as a source of strength. But unlike Bond, a star of a franchise more than 20 movies strong, Black Widow is a long-time ensemble member. Her film centers on surviving trauma and confronting her abuser -- a man who is not quite over-the-top evil as Thanos, but still refers to young girls as the world’s most overabundant “resource.” In this context, deriving strength from enduring suffering feels as slimy as it does tragic, a nail in the coffin to Marvel’s handling of women superheroes.

While Black Widow eulogizes Natasha Romanoff as a formidable, tough-as-hell hero with the clearest heart, it also intensifies Endgame’s poor handling of her send-off, and the unbalanced level of respect given her male peers. Think of it this way: Iron Man’s sacrifice was honored with a big memorial. Captain America retired and even reunited with Peggy Carter before returning home, an old man. Natasha Romanoff endured years of abuse, and risked life and limb after escaping, before sacrificing herself for a friend. She still deserves a real memorial.

Read full article at CNN

To 3D Or Not To 3D: Buy The Right Black Widow Ticket

Cinema Blend 11 July, 2021 - 10:00am

Distinguished readers of all persuasions and callings, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is back in theaters. It’s hard to believe it, but Marvel’s Black Widow is the first MCU movie to debut in theaters since 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home. But with great returns come great responsibilities, like clearing out a familiar red spot in our cinematic ledger. That’s right, it’s once again time to ask the question: to 3D or not to 3D?

Now if you want to know whether or not Black Widow is worth your time as merely a movie experience, that’s not what we’re covering here. To learn that lesson, you’ll need to head to Sean O’Connell’s official review and get the goods there. Meanwhile, we’re about to take a deeper look at Scarlett Johansson’s big MCU prequel, and shares some thoughts about whether or not you should spend the extra 3D ticket money, or if you’d be better off settling some old debts yourself.

Normally, a Marvel movie like Black Widow is a shoo-in for a top score in the Fit department. With all of the action you’d expect from a film such as this, there’s plenty of opportunity to dazzle the audience with visual feats in the third dimension. However, Black Widow is much more introspective than most of your typical entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; which means there’s fewer set pieces to show off through. For this reason, the film loses some Fit points.

3D thrills take a lot of planning and effort to turn stories that use such an effect into thrilling adventures. While Black Widow may not be the most impressive usage of the 3D format, it’s definitely a solid entry that roughly ranks in the same bracket as most other Marvel movies, like Avengers: Infinity War. There are some of the traditional drawbacks present in this 3D conversion, but surprises were to be had as well.

When Black Widow really wants to use the 3D effect to penetrate the screen, it’s a lot of fun to behold. Scattered throughout various points of Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh’s espionage thriller are scenes where blades are tipped toward the audience, sniper rifles seem to be aimed right at the viewer, and an object or two flies out of the screen. However, the real downside to this portion of Black Widow’s 3D conversion is the effect isn’t used nearly enough to substantially add value.

One of the segments that Black Widow excels at portraying in its 3D presentation is the depth of picture that we call the Beyond the Window effect. From wide shots of destruction and combat to close up conversations that see Rachel Weisz and David Harbour flirting in front of their “daughters,” there’s a clear line of delineation between characters, their environments, and objects they interact with. You can look as far back as you want in Black Widow, and see the depth of field drawn to its fullest extent.

If the world of 3D were anything like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Brightness factor would be like Loki themself. A frequent problem with conversions, thanks to the fact that not all theaters keep their 3D rigs maintained correctly between showings, putting on those 3D glasses can be a pain as they wash out the color of the image. And yet, Black Widow is one of the best and most impressive presentations in recent history, as there’s only a scene or two that sees itself mired in darkness. For the majority of the film, the picture was crisp and clear in the showing observed; but your mileage may vary depending on how your local movie house preps for 3D showings.

No matter the quality of a 3D presentation, there’s always going to be a temptation to remove your glasses while you are watching the movie. Should you do that during your Black Widow 3D screening, you’ll see the classic blur effect that makes this medium possible. Usually, the more image manipulation there is, the better a 3D effect should be carried out. Matching with the Before and Beyond the Window components mentioned above, the blur looks to be more effectively implemented in the background of Black Widow. With people in the center of the image looking almost totally 2D throughout various points of the film, the focus of the blur seems to confirm the better emphasis of 3D imagery being placed on the depth of picture.

The wild highs and lows and ups and downs we see in Black Widow’s story and 3D presentation do end up being easy to watch on the big screen. With some third dimensional enhancements leading to eye strain and/or a feeling of nauseousness, there’s always the potential that watching a 3D movie may have an adverse effect on an audience member’s health. Thankfully, the impressive brightness factor in Black Widow doesn’t trigger the usual tired eyes that you could expect from extremely dim images. Though the action presented in the movie is framed in such a way that it doesn’t allow the audience to totally sink into the 3D thrills, it’s not going to leave you feeling sick to your stomach by Black Widow's ending.

Though Black Widow impresses in certain fields of its 3D conversion, the overall product ends up walking down the middle of the road. Depth of picture and brightness are the real stars of the show, but a shallow field of thrills flying off the screen makes the entire package somewhat lackluster. And before you ask, no, you won’t need to wear your 3D glasses to see the post-credits teaser, as it’s presented in flat out 2D. So if you want to add a little pizazz to your Black Widow screening, you may want to seek out another premium format that amps up the picture size or sound quality.

Be sure to visit our full To 3D Or Not To 3D Archive.

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.

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