An intense movie about Black Widow that wasn’t quite the backstory I was expecting. One of my kids fell asleep and the other was worried about having nightmares. Wondering if Black Widow is scary for kids? Here’s our spoiler-free review and our honest opinion on if it’s worth the $30 Disney Plus Premier Access, and who you should bring with you if you go to see it in theaters.
Not the Backstory I was Hoping for
To be honest, I wasn’t anxiously awaiting this movie like a lot of Black Widow fans. I like her, but she’s not my favorite Avenger. So I was secretly hoping this movie would make me love her more. It didn’t. In fact, I don’t really feel like I got to know her much more than I already did. Sure, we got a piece of her backstory, but I was hoping we’d get so much more.
Though this was made to be a stand alone movie, it doesn’t fit in the timeline where I thought it would. In the first 10-15 minutes of the film we get a glimpse of a backstory and then the opening credits span over a decade, landing on a story based sometime shortly after the events of Captain America: Civil War. By the way I’m updating my Marvel movie checklist including Black Widow in case you want to re-watch them all in order.
What I Liked
Though this won’t rank near the top of my Marvel movies favorites list, I loved seeing all of the strong women in the movie. The camaraderie and dysfunctional family brought occasional moments of lightness and humor between action scenes. The music was catchy. And I love that we get to meet new characters, and they did not disappoint with the action scenes and cinematography. That said, at times the action felt over the top. Which leads me to what I didn’t like.
What I Didn’t Like
While I adore references to other Avengers in different Marvel movies this felt a bit overdone. We get it, Black Widow is an Avenger. A little easter egg here and there is nice but to me the constant reference to her being an Avenger felt like they were pulling me out of her story that I was trying to understand. They didn’t do this in Black Panther, Doctor Strange, or even as much in Spider-Man. Or when they did it felt natural. I think this took away a bit from having her own standalone movie. Part of this could be because of the timeline. Which, again, I would have preferred a backstory that aligned with her time in/getting out of the Red Room, or perhaps when she first met up with Nick Fury and/or Hawk Eye.
The movie felt a bit predictable at times. Jayda (my 10-year-old daughter) and I called out what we thought was going to happen and were right more often than not. But the predictability isn’t what got under her skin. No, that was the intensity. Even for a Marvel movie it felt a bit much. From scenes with child trafficking, to lots of violence. If you’re wondering if Black Widow is too scary or intense for your little ones this next section will help you decide.
Too Scary for Kids?
I’ll get more into my kids’ reviews in a moment so you can read what each of them thought about the movie and the intensity. But as a parent, here’s what I think is important to know. For a Marvel movie this is on the upper end of violence. The story and scenes are a bit more believable than the sci-fi edge in most of the lineup. Because it feels more realistic that amps up the intensity level and may be too much for some young kids. I’d recommend Black Widow for an older age group of 12-13 and/or for kids who are very familiar with Marvel characters. Captain Marvel had some of that girl-power juju we love, at a much more consumable level for younger kids.
There’s nothing sexual in the film, but some of the humor does hit at a more mature level and the language isn’t any worse than most Marvel movies. But depending on your kids and their comfort level, this movie may be a bit much. Especially if you go to see it in theaters where everything is bigger and louder.
What my kids thought
Like I mentioned, Black Widow has a lot of action. A lot. So much so that my 10-year-old who has seen all of the Marvel movies started counting all of the explosions to keep herself from closing her eyes or walking out. She was not a fan, and this is the lowest I’ve ever seen her rank a movie (half a star). But to understand that you need to understand Jayda a bit. She wasn’t a huge fan of Mulan because of some of the violence at the end. And she didn’t like sword fighting in Pirates of the Caribbean. She is totally fine with most of the Marvel movies because they involve some kind of supernatural power and alien species battling with space-looking blasters or godly powers. Hand-to-hand combat with knives and/or guns is not her jam at all. She didn’t like most of the story, didn’t like seeing kids in duress, and didn’t like the violence.
Ty Brings a Different Perspective
My 8-year-old son, on the other hand, liked the action. He said it definitely wasn’t too scary. But a lot of the dialogue went over his head. For example, his favorite part was “whenever it was girl versus girl near the beginning,” he said. When I reminded him that they were sisters he said “Wait, that was her SISTER?! And they were sparring? They did ALL those moves just for sparring? And they both had guns, are you crazy? They’re sisters and they were trying to spar each other?”
He can be aloof during movies now and then but normally he’s able to grasp the plot of the Marvel ones. Who the good guy is, the bad guy, the mission. This was a little confusing for him. And by the end of the movie he’d fallen asleep (to his credit, it was late).
Still, he gives it 3 out of 5 stars, which is quite generous for him. He said Black Widow was his favorite character and this was his new favorite “girl Marvel movie.” Ranked up against the rest, she still does ok. He likes Black Panther just “a little more”. But Spider-Man, Captain America and the Avengers movies all are better in his book.
And mine too.
Of all the Premier Access movies released on Disney Plus so far, this will be the first one I don’t buy and the first one I’m not excited to re-watch. I wanted to love it, and though I enjoyed it, it wasn’t great. I’m with Ty at the 3 star rating.
Do you plan on going to see Black Widow this weekend? Let us know what you think of our review, and what you think when you see it!
And do you love watching, rating and reviewing movies with your family? Check out our Family Movie Night Journal. Bringing families together one movie at a time!