It was some two years ago that we thought we had completed The MCU Project, never to have to return to its often-incomprehensible kablam kapow blah de blah storytelling. We should have known better; even a global pandemic couldn’t save the world from More Marvel.
And so on Saturday night we gathered with some excellent takeaway Indian streetfood, to watch Black Widow, one of only two Marvel movies to centre a female character. The approach we had originally decided on was to watch the movies in chronological order of the story, however this is now impossible, as back-stories and prequels are going to be churned out as long as people keep paying to watch them. About 10 minutes in, it was established that Black Widow is set somewhere in the middle of the chronology, and tells the origin story of Natasha Romanov through the media of various incomprehensible action sequences and some sort of timelapse/montage to the eerie strains of an acoustic cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit.
For me the star of the show was a decent appearance from the city of Budapest, as itself [noteable because Budapest so often stands in for other cities in movies, including Beijing in The Martian, and Buenos Aires in Evita]. I happily stopped trying to follow the “plot” and tried to figure out at what point the car/tank chase would take them past Doctor Pockless’ old flat. In fact they took a right around Parliament Square and never quite reached that end of the No 2 tramline.
Eventually the movie coheres into some sort of plot, wherein it turns out that Drakov (some sort of baddie whose megalomania is facilitated by the exploitation of women, just like a real life baddie), is not dead, having died offscreen in an event that was never actually on screen to the best of my recollection. Various family reunions occur amid the general fightiness and a lot of explosions. Drakov dies offscreen again, so that this movie thread can continue indefinitely (or possibly escapes, I wasn’t really paying attention).
Star of the show, other than Budapest, is Florence Pugh, who enjoys some excellent Jodie Comer-like russian accented sarcastic mutterings about the sexist poses struck by her character’s sister Natasha. She also has the best plaits, in a movie featuring generally very good hair, which is what really sets it apart from the rest of the MCU body.
So again, we have watched a Marvel movie so that you don’t have to. You can thank us when you pop in to cocktail hour on Friday – yes, it’s still going, live on zoom, every week.