Over the past decade or so, Scarlett Johansson has taken her already-impressive star power to the next level as one of the core six Avengers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She’s worked with such acclaimed directors as Noah Baumbach, Christopher Nolan, Cameron Crowe, Wes Anderson, and the Coen brothers.
As with anyone who works as regularly --and on such widely-seen blockbusters-- as Scarlett Johansson, her movies’ Rotten Tomatoes scores have been up and down over the years – but the majority of them still have a “fresh” rating. To celebrate that, here are the ten movies Rotten Tomatoes deems to be Johansson's very best to date.
10 Captain America: The Winter Soldier (90%)
Since Captain America’s first solo movie was a relatively generic origin story that didn’t make the character seem too exciting, his sequel was not hugely anticipated. However, the Russo brothers swooped in and knocked it out of the park with Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
It’s a visceral spy thriller in which S.H.I.E.L.D. is compromised and Cap goes on the run with Black Widow. Along the way, they enlist the help of the Falcon and face Cap’s childhood best friend who has been brainwashed to become a Hydra assassin. This is probably the best part-two in the entire MCU (not that the competition’s all that great, apart from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2).
9 Isle of Dogs (90%)
Last year, Wes Anderson returned to the quirky style of stop-motion animation that he curated with the Roald Dahl film adaptation Fantastic Mr. Fox with Isle of Dogs, an acclaimed ‘toon set in Japan in a dystopian near-future.
Scarlett Johansson appears in a star-studded voice cast alongside fellow A-list talents like Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Greta Gerwig, and Jeff Goldblum. Though controversial, there’s no denying that Isle of Dogs is a gorgeous cinematic achievement. The movie received an Academy Award nod for Best Animated Feature Film, but it lost to the slightly-more-amazing Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
8 Captain America: Civil War (91%)
Despite being billed as the third movie in Captain America’s solo trilogy, Captain America: Civil War is really Avengers 2.5. You can’t watch the second and third Avengers movies and hope to follow the plot without also watching Civil War. It sees Earth’s mightiest heroes being torn apart when they disagree over the Sokovia Accords – new legislation that will regulate superheroes.
Iron Man wants to sign the Accords, whereas Cap doesn’t trust them. This leads to a rift in the Avengers, with Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow taking the side of Iron Man (but secretly helping Cap and Bucky to escape during the airport battle as a personal favor).
7 The Avengers (92%)
Scarlett Johansson had already made her debut as Black Widow in Iron Man 2, but she didn’t really get a chance to shine until she assembled with Earth’s mightiest heroes to fend off a Chitauri invasion in New York in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers.
Black Widow has some of the movie’s most memorable moments, from being the only person to trick Loki and not fall for his tricks to knocking the mind control out of Hawkeye’s head by slamming him into a railing. Johansson’s deadpan delivery of lines like, “I don’t see how that’s a party,” make this one a lot of fun.
6 Ghost World (92%)
When it was released back in 2001, Ghost World didn’t make a huge splash at the box office (movies with a bleak, pitch-black sense of humor rarely do), but it has gone on to find a cult audience. It’s a screen adaptation of the soulful, coldly gorgeous, iconic graphic novel of the same name by Daniel Clowes (who also contributed to the Oscar-nominated script).
Scarlett Johansson and Thora Birch star as the central duo of Rebecca and Enid, respectively, in this deliriously dark look at teenage angst. Witty dialogue and stark cinematography help to bring the unique tone of the comic book to the silver screen.
5 Avengers: Endgame (94%)
A lot of Marvel fans were unhappy with how Black Widow’s story arc was handled in Avengers: Endgame. While characters like Tony Stark and Steve Rogers got the perfect ending in the movie’s poignant final moments, Natasha Romanoff got a quick death scene halfway through the film – that wasn’t even coherently edited, due to countless reshoots – and there was a brief conversation where the characters mourned her.
On the whole, it’s still an incredible movie, but some feel that it fails Black Widow. Fortunately, she’ll be getting her own solo movie (finally!) next summer, so the MCU has a second chance to give this character the send-off she deserves.
4 Her (94%)
It may have been jokingly called a romantic drama about a guy who falls in love with Siri, but Spike Jonze’s Her is actually an interesting, reflective study of relationships. Joaquin Phoenix stars as an introverted guy who opens up to his virtual assistant as he falls in love with her.
Scarlett Johansson provides the voice of the virtual assistant (although interestingly, she wasn’t the first choice – Samantha Morton played the role originally, but she was replaced with Johansson during post-production). The movie’s greatest strength is Jonze’s screenplay, because his masterful use of dialogue is what makes the audience forget the guy is just talking to his phone.
3 The Jungle Book (95%)
Disney’s ongoing onslaught of live-action remakes, adapting their animated classics shot-for-shot with better-looking, yet less inventive animation, has yielded very few great movies. These movies are visually dazzling, after all, but a little... unnecessary. Jon Favreau’s photorealistic take on The Jungle Book is the exception that proves the rule.
The changes that it makes to the original are (arguably) for the better and the A-list voice cast is perfectly cast, including Bill Murray as Baloo, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Giancarlo Esposito as Akela, and Scarlett Johansson as Kaa.
2 Lost in Translation (95%)
Sofia Coppola wrote and directed this powerful tale of two lonely souls who happen to cross paths in Tokyo. Scarlett Johansson plays a recent college graduate whose boyfriend is never around and Bill Murray plays an aging actor who’s out in Tokyo to shoot a soul-crushing ad.
They’re both at an impasse in their lives and a chance encounter with one another helps them to realize what they really want in life. The way Coppola shoots Tokyo captures the beauty of the city, while Johansson and Murray’s on-screen chemistry gives the movie some substance. Coppola’s script won her an Oscar.
1 Marriage Story (100%)
Noah Baumbach’s latest masterpiece to explore human relationships in a beautiful, honest blend of comedy and drama, Marriage Story, had its premiere at the Venice Film Festival recently. It was met with universal critical acclaim.
It won’t have its release on Netflix until later this year, but the early reviews have praised the movie as a raw depiction of a couple going through a bittersweet divorce. Stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson give two of the finest performances of their entire career, and as with all of Baumbach’s work, the characters feel real and the dialogue is subtly compelling.