“Black Widow” (Disney)

Scarlett Johansson stars in a scene from the movie "Black Widow." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. (CNS/Disney)

By Catholic News Service

With the Avengers ensemble of superheroes temporarily in disarray, one of its members (Scarlett Johansson), from whose moniker the film takes its title, battles a Russian villain (Ray Winstone) bent on world domination. She finds potential allies in the ostensible sister (Florence Pugh) and parents (David Harbour and Rachel Weisz) with whom she posed as a family in childhood while the grown-ups worked as sleeper agents in the United States.

Large-scale special effects and intrepid derring-do are wedded to themes of clan solidarity, compassion toward adversaries and contrition for past misdeeds in director Cate Shortland’s Marvel Comics-derived action adventure. But the former overshadow the latter, weakening the impact of the morally respectable points screenwriter Eric Pearson seeks to make.

Frequent stylized but sometimes harsh violence, a few mild oaths, about a half-dozen uses each of crude and crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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