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'Black Widow' Wins Over Critics as Both 'Pop Feminism' and 'High-Octane Espionage Thriller'

Reviews also praise Cate Shortland's direction and strong supporting players in Florence Pugh and David Harbour

The reviews for Marvel Studio’s "Black Widow" are in, and the consensus about the standalone superhero film is that the film "excels," is "purely pop feminism" and a "deft spy caper."

With more than 62 reviews in, the long overdue Scarlett Johansson solo film from Marvel studios has a 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In his review for the film, The Wrap's Alonso Duralde writes, “Black Widow” excels most as Marvel’s attempt to make their own 007 movie. Like Christopher Nolan’s recent efforts “Tenet” and “Inception,” it doesn’t quite achieve that ineffable something that sets the best James Bond films apart, although each brings something to the table: Nolan’s films offer narrative acrostics, while “Black Widow” comes armed with a sense of humor and capable, self-possessed women at the helm.

Check out some more reviews below.

Leah Greenblatt, EW

If Widow, with its winky one-liners and spandexed catsuits, is purely pop feminism, the movie's female gaze still reads like more than a cynical marketing ploy; it's one step closer to real, messy life, Marvel-size and amplified.

Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

Divorced of its duties to superhero lore, Black Widow would still be a sufficiently deft spy caper, confidently crafted and worthy on its own terms. And yet it wouldn’t exist without the long and diligent work of Johansson and Kevin Feige’s project. Even a canny genre movie like this had to be tied to the biggest I.P. of them all to get made.

Eric Kohn, Indiewire

At its best, however, “Black Widow” is a welcome break from the overwrought transmedia machine that dictates Disney’s biggest franchise bets, and almost invites you to forget what’s at stake. 

Nick De Semlyen, Empire

It shouldn’t really have taken 11 years for the Widow to get her own standalone adventure. But thanks to some zesty new character dynamics and smart twists, Marvel have finally done her right.

Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist

“Black Widow” is mostly an entertaining and adequate tribute to Natasha Romanoff, Black Widow, and Scarlett Johansson's time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Jenna Busch, Vital Thrills

The chemistry between these two fantastic actors is stunning, and Pugh is a perfect addition to the MCU. From her badass fight scenes to the way she makes fun of the iconic “Black Widow pose,” to her vulnerability when revealing how excited she is to have bought herself a vest with a lot of pockets (you don’t exactly shop at the mall when you’re in the Red Room), she gives us a look at what Natasha might have been if she hadn’t escaped until much later in her life.

Josh Wilding, Comic Book Movie

Black Widow is Bourne meets Bond meets Terminator…with two outstanding, badass female leads. Action-packed, funny, and at times surprisingly gut-wrenching, Cate Shortland's vision for the MCU is bold, empowering, and utterly unmissable.