After two long years, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is finally returning to the cinema with the release of “Black Widow,” which brings the story of the spy-turned-Avenger to a satisfying close.
In “Black Widow,” Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), aka Black Widow, confronts the darker parts of her past when a dangerous conspiracy arises. Set after the events of “Captain America: Civil War,” Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake before she became an Avenger. Joining Johansson is a star-studded supporting cast with Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, David Harbour as Alexei/The Red Guardian, and Rachel Weisz as Melina.
I will be the first to admit that I was skeptical of a need for a Black Widow solo film, much less one that would take place prior to the current state of the MCU canon; upon watching “Black Widow,” however, I can humbly say that director Cate Shortland has left me convinced that this story was not only worth telling, but satisfying to a degree and certainly offers an interesting future for Phase Four of the MCU.
Initially meant to premiere in 2020, the film was originally slated for May of this year before getting pushed to July 9, where it will follow Disney’s recent trend of simultaneous theatrical and streaming releases via Disney+ Premier Access. And yet, just like with past MCU releases that were once delayed, this feels like fate and fits right in as a successor to “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.”
This fast-paced film runs at a tightly-edited 2 hours and 14 minutes, and seldom slows down from its explosive and emotional start; but when it does, however, the film spotlights beautiful, emotional moments between the members of Natasha’s makeshift family. The supporting cast truly shines as a result — especially Pugh, who is already being lauded as the scene-stealer of the film.
I do hope that this isn’t the last we see of Natasha’s parental figures, Alexei and Melina. Harbour and Weisz are fully game to play in this Super Hero-filled world, and more than make up for the slight disadvantage of being introduced as new characters in a spin-off film.
“Black Widow” sets out to put the final stamp on Natasha Romanoff’s legacy; while we know how her story ends in “Avengers: Endgame,” we don’t know much of anything about her past or the infamous events that took place in Budapest — until now. While I won’t go into detail, as practically every plot point feels like a spoiler, I will say that Natasha’s ultimate goal is an admirable, feminist mission that drives home what the Avenger stood for right up to the very end.
While I am somewhat disappointed that we couldn’t get this version of Black Widow prior to her death in the MCU, I am glad that we were able to get to see her at all; hopefully the plot threads that she sets up in her wake will lead to more fulfilling arcs in the future without a near 10-year wait for payoff.
As this is the first film in Phase Four of the MCU, but not the first entry thanks to the shows on Disney+, I would recommend you have at least watched through all of “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” prior to seeing “Black Widow.” You’ll understand why eventually, I promise. As such, there is one end credits scene that you won’t want to miss, so make sure you stick around for that.
In the Parks
Once you’ve seen “Black Widow,” you can head to Avengers Campus at Disney California Adventure to see Natasha take on Taskmaster alongside Black Panther in exciting choreographed encounters. As with the recent additions to promote “Loki,” it is entirely possible we could see updates related to this film added to the land in the coming weeks.
Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow” premieres in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access on July 9, 2021. You can check out the trailer below: