BLACK WIDOW – a Quick-Fire , No Spoiler Reaction! – Transcript

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Contributed by: Tom Pizzato and Vicky Hodges for SpyMovieNavigator.com


This article is an edited transcript of Spy Movie Navigator’s quick-fire reaction podcast for the just-released movie, Black Widow. Our podcast show is called Cracking the Code of Spy Movies on your favorite podcast app and our YouTube channel.

Our hosts for the podcast are Tom Pizzato from the US and Vicky Hodges from the UK.

Don’t Forget To Watch Black Widow‘s Post Credit Scene

Tom

I want to start up front with a warning for you. I have a friend of mine who is a very big MCU fan, and I forgot he told me that after the closing credits MCU movies have a post-credits scene. I forgot about this when I went to the theater. We left during the credits and Vicky, there was a scene at the end and I think people probably should have stayed to watch, correct?

Vicky

Yeah, you just need to sit there and just watch all the names scroll down the screen for about two or three minutes. Right to the very end and then you will get a scene that will lead to something in the future.

Tom

I can’t believe I was so stupid because I read something about the ending and I said to myself: Oh man, I forgot Anthony told me that.

Overall Reaction

Tom

So let’s talk, again non-spoiler as we can, about what this movie was. We’ll talk about if we liked it, where it may have been influenced by either real-life things or previous movies, and give you an idea if it’s something worth your time.

I didn’t think I was going to like this movie as I’m a spy movie fan and I’m not a fan of the MCU. Boy was I wrong. I really like Black Widow and I think you will too.

We’re going to do this by taking a quick-fire look at the movie The goal of our quick-fires is to give you a spoiler-free look at the movie since we do them right after the movies are released, so we won’t go into too many details on the movie.

So again, I’m coming to this from a non-MCU fan. In fact, prior to seeing the movie, I had only seen two of them. I had watched the prior two MCU movies the day before I saw Black Widow.

I went to this because it was supposed to be a spy movie and since we’re SpyMovienavigator.com, this definitely made sense for me to do. However, I did not want to watch it since it was an MCU movie. I didn’t want it to be like The Avengers. I hate those movies where they’ve got characters that morph into things or animals that take on human-like roles. And there’s some of that in The Avengers and it’s also why I don’t like Star Wars.

It’s that’s not what I like, and fortunately and happily for me, this movie isn’t that. This movie was a spy movie.

The end fight scene, there’s always an end fight scene, that was a little MCU-ish, but it didn’t have all these goofy characters in it, so I really like this movie. What about you, Vicky?

Vicky

I actually rate this one of the higher films in the Marvel run of films because of the spy element.

It’s essentially a prequel set after the events of Captain America: Civil War. But if you aren’t, as Tom said, an MCU fan, you can go and see this as a standalone film. You don’t need to have seen any of the other films to enjoy this.

Tom

The whole thing is about Natasha Romanoff, who’s a spy in the MCU. And it’s really about her adventures.

Vicky

Yeah, It’s essentially her origin movie. The origin of her character: like we’ve had with The Wolverine and a number of other characters. This is her origin. She’s a trained assassin and it shows you how she leads to this.

Tom

And the timing of it’s weird to me because like I said, I watched the last two Avengers movies before I saw this, and she appeared to die in Avengers: End Game.  So I’m like: why are we seeing her as a young person and then now as an adult when I thought she died? I thought that was weird timing-wise.

Vicky

Well, as I say, when they do these origin-type films they want to show you where it starts and you know what influences, things that happen to her.
I can’t rate it highly enough, to be honest with you. In fact, I would like to see it again. That’s how much I like it.

Tom

Yeah, I was shocked that I liked it as much as I did. When I say that, I’m not degrading it at all, ’cause I really liked it.

Influences From Other Movies

Vicky

Yeah, and it has so so many influences of other films that it draws on and you find yourself sitting there going. Ah, ah, yes, that’s what I found myself doing.

Tom

Why don’t you talk a little bit about some of those influences, again without giving the scenes away in Black Widow? Let’s talk about some of the movies that might have influenced Black Widow.

Vicky

Yeah, Key ones. You definitely have got James Bond in there. Lots lots of things for Bond to be honest with you.
You’ve also got a little bit of Mission: Impossible

Tom

Before we get to Mission: Impossible, let’s talk a bit about Bond because Natasha is sitting at home one night watching Moonraker.

Vicky

Yes

Tom

So that movie influences this one.

Vicky

Yeah, I mean I think this is a key one for them to pick. When you see something later on in the film. Yes, and that was one where I went ahhhahhh. I sort of nudged my other half.

Tom

Yeah, absolutely.

Vicky

And the locations. For me as well, is very much Bond. Lots of locations throughout the movie. I sat there thinking oh, has Bond been to here then as I’ve you know, my mind was drifting off to other places.

Tom

OK, what about On Her Majesty’s Secret Service? I saw some influence there.

Vicky

Now that’s an interesting one. I didn’t pick up on that. Interesting.

Tom

OK, So what I will say is: what Dreykov was doing, Dreykov’s big scheme has some influences from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in my mind.

Vicky

Yes, yes, I’d also got that there was some influence of Moonraker in that as well, there was a mixture of the two. Yeah yeah.

Tom

Yes, there absolutely was, yeah. And so again trying not to give it away, but I’m saying that these are two movies from the James Bond world that we think influenced this one.

So now you were going to say something about Mission: Impossible.

Vicky

Yes, there was a little bit of Mission: Impossible in there. Just a couple of seconds which took me to Mission: Impossible.

Tom

Oh, I went there immediately.

Vicky

Yeah yeah yeah, and that again I think I leaned over and said “Mission: Impossible

I also got a little bit of Star Wars in there from the costume.

Tom

I saw the first Star Wars and that’s the only one I’ve seen.

Vicky

Yeah, there’s a little bit of costume, and I think it might be a little bit of a nod to Star Wars, which would be then a nod to Moonraker so it sort of crescendos on.

Tom

Yeah, there was also a very big influence in my mind from the Jason Bourne trilogy, especially from Bourne Ultimatum., I really think there’s a very important influence there, and if you’re not a Bourne fan you might not pick it up. I watched that and I went back and watched the first three Bourne movies again because I couldn’t remember which one it was in. So it was in the third one. Huge, huge influence.

Vicky

Just going back to Bond, you’ve pretty much of course got some very high-end stunts and also that leads from Mission: Impossible. And of course, a supervillain, which again is Bond.

Tom

With a lair.

Vicky

But without copying. Without really copying, it’s more of a homage to each of these things,

Tom

You could see influence without it saying we’re copying.

Any other TV or movies that you came up with because I’ve got two more to talk about, OK?

Vicky

Not for me, more connections with perhaps the cast that all picked up on, yeah?

Tom

OK, well yeah we’ll talk about the cast in just a second. So there are two other things that I kind of wanted to point out as influences.

The first was that there was a tv show called The Americans. I don’t know where in the world showed. I saw it here in the US. I don’t know where else you can see it. I don’t want to give anything more away than that, but there is a particular scene that was heavily influenced by that show. That show was based on real-world events.

There is a scene in Black Widow that is very heavily influenced by the tv show, so if you’re a fan of The Americans when you see that scene, you’re going to say: “That’s what Tom was talking about.”

Vicky

Right, yeah I do know of the program, but I haven’t watched it to myself. But I do know it’s been highly spoken of.

Tom

OK. The last influence is a stretch, especially because Dreykov has been around for a while. When I first heard it in the theater I thought they were calling him “Draco”.

Vicky

Yes

Tom

That “v” wasn’t there when I heard it. And if I think about it in movies, you have Draco Malfoy who was Harry Potter’s big rival in the Harry Potter movies.  You’ve got Mark-Ange Draco, who’s the crime boss in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  And then here Dreykov is the villain. But there’s this “v” at the end of his name.

So, again, I’m making a stretch here. I’m going to take some liberties here: One of the translations of the word “Draco” is “dragon”, and if you look at Merriam Webster under Dragon, it talks about a violent, combative, or very strict person as a person. Someone formidable or baneful. And I think those two nail Dreykov here.

Now here’s where I go out on the ledge with this.

There’s a video game that has a character called The Ultimate Dragon who has posted talking about the fact that there is a character called Drake in that video game. It is a lower class of dragon. Now, the English translation of the Russian word “Dreykov” is “Drakes”. At least according to Google.  So, is this whole “dragon” tie in part of it? I don’t know, but I looked at it and thought that that could have influenced his name. But again, given that Dreykov has been around for a while, I don’t know if that’s valid. That was just something I picked up on.

Vicky

Yeah, I want to sort of.

You said Drake over Drax. I mean, I know it’s not quite the same, but it’s going in the direction I was as well. Drax from Moonraker.

Tom

Yeah, exactly. And I don’t know what that translates to. That could be “dragon” as well for all I know.

Preview Differences

Tom

One other thing before we get into the characters that I thought was kind of interesting was when you watched the previews when you were in the theater watching it. ’cause you saw this in a theater, right?

Vicky

Yes

Tom

Yeah, so did I.

They didn’t have a No Time To Die preview. They had The King’s Man and almost everything was a Disney-based movie. So I think that might have been why they may have only been previewing their movies

Vicky

Ah, now I did have No Time To Die.

Tom

You did OK, so I did not so.

Vicky

I only had that one. That’s the only one I have.

Tom

Oh, we had 25 minutes of previews in the US. That’s how they do it. They say the movie starts at 11 and the movie started at 11:25.

The cast

Tom

So let’s go and talk about the cast. Obviously, Natasha, the lead who is also called Black Widow, is played by Scarlett Johansson taking that role forward and I thought she did a great job here. My wife, the first thing she said when we got out of the theater was “Scarlett Johansson was really good in that”.

Vicky

She’s a good actress and I think she takes on that role well. Yeah, it suits her very well.

Tom

Yeah, and she says this is her last go-round as Natasha, and given that we saw her die in Avengers: End Game I guess that makes sense.

Vicky

Yeah.

Tom

There’s another character and I’m only going to refer to the characters by the first name without telling you who they necessarily are because if I do that, we’ll be giving some of this away, especially at the beginning of the movie.

Vicky

Yeah, yeah.

Tom

There’s a character Yelena played by Florence Pugh who I absolutely thought was fantastic in that role. What do you think?

Vicky

I think she was the standout person in the film.

Tom

Yeah, now she also got the best lines in the movie.

Vicky

Yeah, she was just really good. She just looked good and the action scenes were good with her. She was funny, you know? Spot-on casting there, spot-on casting.

Tom

Before the ending credits started, it kind of looked like maybe they’ll have her back in other roles or in other movies. I might want to go see those even if they are the other kind of MCU movie. We’ll see.

So, the next name then is David Harbour who plays a character called Alexei. James Bond fans may remember him as Greg Beam who’s the section chief of the CIA.

Vicky

In Quantum of Solace. Yeah, yeah.

Tom

If you ever saw the movie Hellboy, he was Hellboy.

Vicky

He’s been in lots of things and he’s been very good in everything. I particularly like him in Stranger Things. That’s what I watch him in, and he’s always very funny.

And he’s I must admit it without giving much away, he is the comedy element in this movie.

Tom

Yes, And he played that really well too. He did a good job with that.

Vicky

Very much so. Yeah, yeah.

Tom

Since you mentioned Quantum of Solace, we have another alum here: Olga Kurylenko. And she has a decent-sized supporting role in the movie. Now, in Quantum of Solace, she played Camille. And if I didn’t tell you she was in this movie, Black Widow, you might not recognize her. Now that I’ve told you she’s in it, I bet you recognize her.

I knew she was in the movie when I first saw her and I didn’t get that it was her. And then like the second or third time you saw her, I was like, oh yeah, that’s her.

Did you recognize her instantly?

Vicky

Yes. Well, I must admit I looked to see who was in the cast. But I didn’t clock that her name was in this movie and when it came up on the screen I was like “Oh, OK more Bond people.”

I just don’t, I don’t wanna give too much away but you don’t see it straight off. So, it was like “well where, what character is she gonna be?”

Tom

Yeah, she wasn’t recognizable at all initially. Yeah, Yep, all right.

And then finally we have Rachel Weisz, who plays Melina, and you know she’s always good, right? You may know her as Tessa, Quayle, in The Constant Gardener. She won the Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar in 2006 for that role. And that was based on the John le Carré novel.

Bourne fans may know her as Dr. Marta Shearing from The Bourne Legacy if you watched that one which I think was the worst of the Bourne movies

But, then a lot of people know her as Daniel Craig’s wife. And I only mention that because she was on one of the late-night talk shows here in the US. They were trying to figure out when to release Black Widow in the theaters? We’ve got this No Time To Die monster that we’re going to have to be up against at some point to some degree. How do we stay away from it? If we only knew what they were going to do on the release.

And Rachel said I’m sitting there and I hear Daniel walking down the stairs and I don’t even know if these people realize that I’m Daniel’s wife. And I kept thinking to myself: Well, do you want me to just ask Daniel?

It was like some super-secret meeting they were having trying to figure out the planning of it.

Ok, let’s talk about Ray Winstone.

Vicky

I’ll be honest with you, I’m not a fan of Ray Winstone. I think he’s good at playing a “cop near East End” gangster. But not so much in other things, doing other things. But I’m not going to take anything away from the performance that he did. But, he was probably, for me, the weakest of the main characters.

Tom

OK, I thought he played a pretty good bastard. Which was his role. He was Dreykov. He’s mentioned in other MCU movies but I don’t think he was in any. Dreykov, The character wasn’t in it, right? This is the first time you actually see Dreykov, right?

Vicky

Yes, yes, and also there’s a character called Mason, played by O-T Fagbenle. He was a good tie into Q from the Bond films.

Tom

Yeah, the guy who could get the gadgets?

Vicky

Yeah

Tom

That’s good. Yeah, I like that. That’s a good tie-back.

There’s one big thing for me there that we haven’t talked about.

And I loved the preponderance of women roles in this movie and how they did the women roles in this movie. Almost all of the fighting is done by women.

And importantly, unlike some earlier MCU or other spy movies. They fought dressed like they were a spy fighting, not in a ninja costume. No high heels, no tight skirts, nothing like that. They’re dressed for the role they were supposed to be doing. And there was none and there was none of this “ I’ve almost got him, but I need a man to finish the job.” There was none of that. These women were in charge. They took charge of what was up. And they did their jobs. You didn’t have any of the stuff we normally see there and I think it’s great. Especially when I think about No Time To Die. We see pictures of Paloma fighting in a dress.

If you saw the debacle of a movie in 2019, Charlie’s Angels, sometimes I didn’t know what the heck they were wearing here. The women in Black Widow had strong roles and they looked the part for the role they were playing.

Vicky

Yeah.

Tom

Which I really thought was great.

Vicky

Yes, and it brought me to thinking about the fight scenes and how they were choreographed because they were so entertaining. It brought back again a couple of links to different films. Pretty much reminded me of John Wick and the fight scenes. Very stylized routine and also elements of Kill Bill. I was almost thinking of

Tom

Yeah

Vicky

Because she was quite a powerful character with them in that movie and with what she’s got on, which is similar to the things that we’re seeing in this movie.

Tom

Yep.

Different Theater Experiences

Tom

So now you said you saw this in a movie theater.

Vicky

Yes

Tom

As did I.

But this has been released on a couple of different formats in the movie there’s Superscreen, there’s Dolby Cinema, there’s IMAX, and then there’s the more traditional theater format.

And so you saw it in more of a traditional theater format, correct?

Vicky

Yes, I did.

Tom

So you have recliners? No, seat shakers.

Vicky

We can’t just yeah, just reclining seats. Lots of lots of legroom, lots of space, and yet they’re quite a huge screen that curved, yeah?

Tom

OK, oh you. So it was a curved screen?

Vicky

It was a curved screen, but it wasn’t all singing all dancing.

Tom

How was the audio on it?

Vicky

Good, yeah. You felt you were there, you know, surround you, you’re in the action.

Tom

Yeah, that’s great. We saw it on Dolby cinema here. Dolby Cinema means you’ve got the blackest black when the screen is supposed to be black. It’s the blackest black that’s out there right now.

I could have seen it on IMAX but I was trying to get to the first show when that was going to be an 11:00 show.

I would strongly suggest seeing this in a theater, not streaming it.

Vicky

I agree.

Tom

I think you would lose so much if you streamed this for your first time, seeing it.

We had the seat shakers and there’s a scene with an avalanche. I’m not going to give away what happens with the avalanche, but there is one.
And I’ll tell you, those seat shakers really make you feel like you’re in that scene when you see the snow coming down and your seat shaking like this and you’re feeling it, not just seeing it and hearing it.

Which was which was great. So, if you can see this in a theater not streaming for the first time, ’cause I think at home you’d lose a lot.

I also think it would be a great movie to see on IMAX

Vicky

Yeah, I agree.

Tom

Especially the second half of the movie. Which also makes me really look forward to No Time To Die. Because they did some of the filming on that on the IMAX 70-millimeter cameras, so I just really want to see a good action movie done that way.

And how crowded was your theater?

Vicky

Where there were not many people in it was an afternoon showing. We were all spaced out. It was all very. I didn’t feel at risk. It was a nice comfortable afternoon. I thoroughly enjoyed it, yeah?

Tom

Had you been, had you been to the cinema coming out of the pandemic yet?

Vicky

This was the first film that I have seen since the pandemic, yeah.

Tom

OK, OK all right.

So this is the fourth one I’ve seen since the pandemic started. We saw Tenet when it was released in September. And I also saw The Courier. I did a quick-fire podcast on that one. I saw that movie Cliff Walkers. That one I saw twice. I was the only person in the theater or the second time I saw it. It was the first showing of the day. I also did a quick-fire podcast on Cliff Walkers.

For Black Widow, the theater was probably 30 to 40% full. The nice thing about that is you didn’t feel crowded. You felt there was some social distancing, but there were other people to hear, and see the movie and get their reactions.

A Laugh Track?

Tom

So, Vicky, there was one other thing in this movie that I wanted to talk about that I bet you didn’t catch. Did you hear the laugh track?

Vicky

The laugh track?

Tom

Do you know what I mean by a laugh track? I don’t know if maybe we have different terms for that. But when they show a movie

Vicky

I’m not aware of that term, what?

Tom

It’s a term here in the US, at least, where when they’re showing a movie or a TV show, there’s laughter on the tape.

Vicky

We call it canned laughter.

Tom

OK, so did you catch the canned laughter?

Vicky

No. oooh.

Tom

OK, so so I don’t want to give this away. But Vicky you’ve seen the movie. Once you’ve seen the movie search for Yelena or Florence Pugh. There is a scene they’ve got a trailer out on it when I saw it in the movie theater, I thought the people in the audience were laughing and they may have been because I was laughing at this one line. It’s one they kind of touted in some of the trailers and stuff coming up.

I watched a video of that trailer and there was laughter in the track so there was canned laughter in it.

Now maybe it was somebody had filmed it in the theater, but it sure looked like it was a regular trailer cut for me. And there was laughter, and it shocked me when I heard that. So if anybody knows, did I just see a weird trailer of it? And it’s not really there? But it was and it was in exactly the spot I thought I heard the laughter when I saw it in the theater.

Vicky

No, I didn’t hear that. Interesting.

Tom

Well, all I can say Vicky is you’re such a poser.
(laughter)

Release Schedule

Tom

One more thing I wanted to talk about this movie because of James Bond. They released Black Widow in almost all of their locations on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of the same week, except for Thailand and Indonesia. So, they staggered the release, but it was within that same weekend.

And it meant that I didn’t get the spoilers before I saw Black Widow. For No Time To Die, there are 10 days between when it releases first in Belgium to the time it hits the US. And there’s no way I’m not going to know what happens by the end of that with social media and all that we do as spy movie fans.

Vicky

Yeah

Tom

And I really wish Eon Productions would take, especially since you’re not going to allow streaming, that approach. And I believe No Time To Die, probably, especially with the IMAX filming they did should be seen in a movie theater at least the first time you see it.

Vicky

Oh Yeah. Definitely yeah.

Tom

This movie should also be seen in a movie theater for the first time. But make it so we don’t get it spoiled before we see it and get these releases closer in timing at least in my opinion.

So I mean, you’re lucky, Vicky, you get a chance to see No Time To Die the second day it’s been released.

Vicky

Yes.

Tom

It’s in only one location, it’s in Belgium the day before, so there’s only one country that has it. Even on the day you get it, there are 15 or 16 countries that get it.

So, that wraps up our quick-fire look at the new Marvel movie Black Widow. We think this is a spy movie to watch, especially if you can see it in a theater. And if you’re an MCU fan, you’ll like it.

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