After multiple delays, Black Widow was finally released on July 9th, 2021 both in theaters and on Disney+ premier access. Scarlett Johansson returns as the titular character in the her solo film debut. The MCU has had many entries in the series since her character was first introduced in Iron Man 2, which premiered almost a decade ago. While this film is fine in itself, it does beg the question, was it too little too late? *Spoilers from here on out*
So, how do you tell a story about a character that has been gracing our screens for the past few years across multiple films, not to mention having canonically died in Avengers Endgame? Black Widow tries to find footing by telling a story that takes place directly after the events of Captain America Civil War. Immediately, I raised my eyebrow at the established timeline. I thought it was strange to start a story strand from a movie/event that took place back in 2016 and would’ve much preferred a prequel instead that would’ve potentially covered new territory. Although they did vaguely touch upon Natasha’s childhood and red room experience, I still felt like it lacked. I think that this decision to have a story take place in the middle of the MCU timeline was a strange choice, since it felt as if the story was too late to be told, given all the events that have followed since. As I mentioned before, the biggest one was that Natasha dies in Avengers Endgame. I felt like already having that knowledge cheapened the story of this for me since it ultimately made the stakes very low for me. This is my biggest issue with the whole movie.
I’m under the opinion that Black Widow should’ve had her solo movie ages ago, and as much as I wanted to love this to bits, I can only say I “liked” it. The movie is strongest in it’s action packed scenes. It’s nonstop as you’d expect like any other Marvel film, and is similar to the action pieces from the Captain America movies. Black Widow is a “realistic” hero in which she does not have any super powers to relay on, but instead uses her own fighting abilities and weapon skills. I applaud everyone such as the stunt team and all the actors who stepped up to learn the fight choreography in this movie, it’s truly wonderful what they’re able to do. One of my favorite scenes was the prison break. That was very fun!
Another great addition to this movie was the introduction of Natasha’s family(who we actually later find out is not her real family) played by the charming David Harbour as Alexei, Florence Pugh as Yelena, and Rachel Weisz as Melina. Their dynamic was very cute when the characters are reunited with each other in the future, and everyone was delightful in their respective roles. Very charming, very funny and the most important part is that everyone had wonderful chemistry. It’s not easy to introduce new characters and have them all fit but they did a great job here with this. Yelena for me was a scene stealer and my personal favorite.
About the story itself? I don’t want to get too into detail with it, so I will just say it was an ok story, filled with lots of action and humor, with a weak villain and low stakes. It’s a good movie, but once again, I cannot shake the feeling that this movie would’ve been better had it been released literally anytime before Natasha’s death or sometime back in Phase 2 of the MCU. The film serves its purpose, and I won’t complain that we got a solo Black Widow film. The character deserved this, and I do feel like it’s a fine farewell to her character. I do also want to add, that this movie can absolutely be seen without having watched every single MCU film. While it doesn’t completely stand on its own, since it does make references to many past events and callbacks, the narrative is straightforward and easy to follow.
PS. I look forward to seeing more of a “specific character” in future MCU projects. Say hello to that after credits scene!
Black Widow is out now in theaters and available on Disney+ Premier Access