Contains spoilers for “Black Widow”
“Black Widow” has many amazing scenes that help make the movie a fitting last outing for Scarlett Johansson’s long-serving super spy. Fans finally find out what that mysterious Budapest mission with Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) was all about. Yelena (Florence Pugh) is primed to take up the mantle after Natasha’s demise, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine shows up to sic her against Barton.
Of course, there are also the numerous, cool action scenes, as well as all the fun interaction between Natasha, Yelena, and their sleeper cell “parents,” Alexei (David Harbour) and Melina (Rachel Weisz).
However, there’s one particular scene in the movie that is extremely personal and important to Natasha, and the film does an excellent job at making it as threatening and creepy as anything you’ve seen in a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. Let’s take a moment to talk about that Red Room scene in “Black Widow.”
Natasha confronts and conquers her worst nightmare
Natasha Romanoff’s backstory is among the most tragic in the MCU, and the man responsible for it is as vile as Marvel villains get. Dreykov (Ray Winstone) may look like an unassuming, elderly bureaucrat with a penchant for Bond villain-style plots, but no amount of flying fortresses and power trips takes away the fact that he’s an evil, abusive man who has spent decades stealing young girls away from the world, and brainwashing them into subservience.
The climax of “Black Widow” finally shows Natasha facing off with her tormentor, only to discover that the predatory Dreykov has a scent-triggered failsafe that stops Natasha from hurting him in any way. The scene is rife with abuse-themed subtext, from Natasha’s helplessness and Dreykov’s patronizing demeanor to the little “back of the hand” fakeout he pulls on her, implying that this wouldn’t be the first time. And that’s before the actual violence begins.
Both characters harbor a solid grudge against each other, and their meeting reminds you of the dynamics between Jessica Jones (Kristen Ritter) and Dreykov’s fellow mind-controlling slimeball Kilgrave (David Tennant) in Netflix’s “Jessica Jones,” made all the more unnerving because it falls in the middle of a cavalcade of high-octane action pieces.
Fortunately, Black Widow soon reclaims control of the situation by disabling her sense of smell in a characteristically amazing way, and the tables turn for good. Ultimately, Dreykov’s fate in the ensuing action frenzy is almost an afterthought, as befits a small man who has lived his life by making others do his bidding.