If I’m honest, this is what I want to see in an action movie released during a pandemic: hideous man-eating extraterrestrials, gunfire, explosions, a plot with holes so big you can drive trucks through … and Chris Pratt.
The premise is somewhat familiar, though it does take it in a slightly unexpected direction: present-day humans are recruited and transported (in bigly numbers) to fight a war some thirty years into the future. Service is compulsory, but all they have to do is fight and survive for seven days, then they’re done and beamed back home. For the folk who’d never seen combat before, seven days didn’t sound like the end of the world … until they saw what they were up against. If you’re a fan of Independence Day then this’ll be right up your street: great adult-ish entertainment that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
It took it’s own sweet time getting here, but as it turns out, it was well worth the wait. Scarlett Johansson takes Marvel’s eponymous near-superhuman spy around the world for one last outing (after the whole … well, you know … Thanos business).
And it’s one hell of a swan song. The movie takes the Black Widow across the world with the help of a fella who seems to be able to conjure experimental fighter jets out of thin air, but seems to have trouble getting hold of a decent caravan, and the family of Russian agents who’re her family … after a fashion.
The plot is … unsurprisingly unlikely, the characters have just the right amount of depth: enough to keep you rooting for them, but not enough to get in the way slow down the on-screen carnage. The stunts are fantastic, and like all Marvel movies, it doesn’t take itself too seriously (DC, take note). The only cringeworthy bit about it was Ray Winston’s accent, which meandered between Russian Bond villain and Phil Mitchell from Eastenders.
The Black Widow didn’t have that Marvel blockbuster feel to it; felt more like something that could’ve played out on the Disney+ channel over a six-part series. Still, well worth seeing IMO.
This one comes from the Pixar Studios, which as far as I can remember, has never put a foot wrong. The film was supposed to be out last summer, but suffered the same fate as a lot of movies set for a June outing: faced with the prospect of empty cinemas, the studios delayed the release, hoping that the pandemic would be sorted by Christmas.
Well, for the UK and the US . . . not even close. So with no end in sight, the studios have three options:
Keep delaying the film until audiences can return to the picture houses, and hope they’re still interested in seeing it. (No Time to Die)
Release to the cinemas anyway and hope enough people are willing to risk infection to see it. (Wonder Woman 1984)
Release it to a streaming service and see if it attracts new customers.
Pixar went for option number 3 (which they can do since they can stream on Disney+), and frankly, they deserve to have the gamble pay off.