Movie Review: Black Widow

Right off the bat, it’s a bit of a downer watching Black Widow knowing that Romanov sacrifices herself in Endgame. Set in the time after the incidents of Captain America: Civil War, this movie gives a proper backstory to Natasha Romanov and lets the audience know how she became the Black Widow. But that’s not all it does because this movie is a portal to the Black Widow’s sister (herself a Black Widow) getting a movie, if not a franchise, for herself.

Onto the movie- like all superhero movies it’s over the top. And while that’s a given, what makes the other ones stand apart as the special effects, pithy dialogues or the droll humour that you get from Loki, Ironman and even Banner. This one falls fairly flat because a) you know Romanov is going to come out unscathed and b) the back story and the players are seem tired and rather jaded to do any real justice to the plot.

Florence Pugh as Romanov’s “sister” provides a bit of freshness to the otherwise droll tepid plot which has a ‘bent-on-ruling-the-world’ bad guy and a bunch of people who need to be rescued while the widow moves onto reuniting with the Avengers.

The chemistry between the characters in the movie was off to say the least with the title sequence possibly being the slickest bit of footage in the entire movie. The way Romanov and her family manage to escape the destruction of the bad guy’s lair; careening and free falling without getting the slightly nick from all the debris falling all around them is extremely ho-hum. But it’s a superhero movie and Barton and Romanov were the only two Avengers who didn’t have any extraordinary powers barring their innate prowess in fighting.

Rachel Weisz, William Hurt are held back by the script from taking their characters further and Ray Winstone as the baddie leaves a lot to be desired since his menace, overall creep-quotient is rather lame.

This movie is streaming on Disney Hotstar in India and for that am glad because I’d have kicked myself for paying money to watch this in the theatre in a non-Covid world. For those of us who are MCU fans, it makes sense to watch it to preserve the continuum of the entire series (although BW was released much later than it was supposed to be); the rest of us can give it a miss. Neither the acting nor the sequences or the OST do anything for the audience.

Oh-Cult!

I had a LONG discussion, just before bedtime, with TO about Annabelle. How the whole thing came about, why a doll of all things, how possession takes place, how a possessed item can go on a killing spree and how it was different from Child’s Play. Just what every mother wants for her child to dwell on before he closes his eyes for the night and dreams happy thoughts.

But I am glad that he’s asking questions and showing interest in things which have greatly entertained me while I was growing up and continue to do so even now.

While I’ve stopped going into raptures at the thought of a horror moviethon or stopped setting up playlists for Halloween and Friday the 13th, I still enjoy the silent menace of Meyers, the freakishness of Freddy and the…the…dang! There aren’t any horror adjectives that alliteratively go with Jason. Sorry dude..you’ll always be my go-to undead villain though.

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Among the newer scary movies, the Conjuring-verse isn’t unique by any means but it’s well-executed. With demonic dolls, spooky spectral and nasty nuns (see what I did there? Alliterate this baby!); the series is slick, has enough creepy moments without getting into utter gore and becoming a slash fest.

I mean while buckets of blood and entrails had their allure once upon a time, nothing can beat the chill of an evil spirit advancing steadily toward someone while they’re back-up against a wall with nowhere to go! Or maybe something a bit more innocuous like suddenly seeing someone who shouldn’t be there.

But before the whole world, especially my father, starts judging me about my topic of discussion with my only flesh and blood, let me just say that time spent together with the parents in any kind of an activity that brings enjoyment, is an investment in good memories for a lifetime. Even ones with horror movies.

My memories of horror movies are mainly linked with my mother. Not because she’s demonic (the woman’s practically a saint!) but because she stuck up for me when my father used to make a noise about me watching rated-R stuff and watching people get killed by creatures/beings who keep coming back even after being killed in each installment of a series.

She didn’t mind that there would be blood and that a 10 year old would be watching something that would lead to a lifetime’s interest in the creepy and spooky. It was a fun mother-daughter activity that my father cringed at and I think that was part of the allure.

What’s funny now is looking back at the two of us, huddled on a single couch; me with a Hershey’s pudding cup in my hand and my mother covering my eyes whenever nudity came on the screen and removing her hand whenever the killing started. Because for some reason, all the serial killers, dead or undead, are pervs. They get their rocks off killing people mid-make out session. Total coitus interruptus if there ever was one.

My mom never minded seeing Jason stab someone through the gut with a harpoon or a fireplace poker for that matter. Likewise she was a-ok with Freddy putting some hapless kid’s head through the tv and putting holes in someone else’s body with this knived-gloves.

Once she saw me sit through the Exorcist and The Omen, she knew the blood and gore wouldn’t mess with my head. More importantly I didn’t do what my kid is currently doing- asking an unending series of questions about “why” someone is being killed. Why are they being killed in a particular way. Why did Pennywise eat the kids? Why does Pennywise have a red balloon? Why does he stay in the sewer yada yada yada.

I started off this post with the intent to say that it was a bit tough but terribly interesting talking to my kid about the occult. I ended up missing my mom instead. I think 2020 is turning out to be a year full of revelations. Imagine, missing a 70+ years grandma who knits and sews, whenever I watch horror movies. Slightly incongruous but then such is life. I hope TO and I get to make our own, slightly whacked-out memories in the years to come. I’d love to see his reaction to Pinhead!

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