A Review of Marvel Studios' BLACK WIDOW

In what took a decade to accomplish, Marvel finally released the highly anticipated Black Widow movie. Natasha Romanoff has been a pivotal character in the MCU since her debut appearance 11 years ago in Iron Man 2, a fan favorite in the comics and the Marvel cinematic universe, and one of the original avengers. In other words, it’s about damn time.

Set immediately after the events of Captain America: Civil War, half of the avengers are scattered and on the run. Natasha is on her own trying to keep out of the way of the U.S. Government.

When she comes in contact with Taskmaster after being sent a package from her former surrogate sister and fellow Widow, she’s pulled back into a past that she thought she left and the people she left behind with it.

Natasha Romanoff has always been a core Avenger and to be honest, they wouldn’t have survived this long without her. However, we also know the least about her history. Her spy past has been hinted at since the first Avengers movie and although being secretive about her past is part of her character, we finally get a glimpse at who Natasha was before she became the Black Widow. We see how she is with her surrogate family, the love she stills holds for them, and how they were affected by her leaving. We see so much of how Natasha’s past informs her present self in terms of bravery, kindness, decisions, her kinship with the Avengers and her ultimate sacrifice for her family

The movie had plenty of great supporting characters. A new fan favorite is Yelena Belova, the surrogate sister of Natasha. She’s just as deadly but still has a blunt sense of humor and a childlike quality about her. She represents the stolen childhood of all the Black Widows and the desire to have a future where she can make her own decisions. The chemistry between Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh is felt between their very first scene together. Their sisterly relationship is familiar and easy. From their banter to their arguments and shared trauma, it’s easy to believe their history with each other even with years apart from each other. With the original Avengers slowly leaving the MCU, Florence would make a great addition as a next generation Black Widow.

The supporting characters of Red Guardian, Melina Vostroff, and Taskmaster round out the main group. Each character was well carried by their corresponding actors. They added humor to the story without taking away from the main plot and the gravity of the situation.

Also without getting too detailed, you can really see the camaraderie and the closeness between the women in the film. Many times they lean on each other or turn to each other for understanding. The audience gets an understanding of the trauma brought upon by the abduction of young girls and their induction as assassins from the moment they’re taken. And many of the characters find comfort in those who experienced the same. There were many complaints that the villain was not as interesting but the focus was on Black Widow and her family, it was more meaningful to focus on her gaining control back from someone who took every choice from her than to justify the villain's actions.

The ending. What can I say about the ending? It was poignant. It was emotional. While it was a nice wrap up to Natasha’s story in the Marvel Universe, it left the audience wanting more stories about Natasha  her beginnings, Budapest, and her many many missions with SHIELD. Natasha will always be missed but this story gives fans a way to say goodbye.

Also, I feel like I shouldn’t have to mention this to most readers but stay for the post-credit scene. It sets up for an unexpected plot point that’s surely to cause some tension in upcoming Phase 4 projects. While I highly recommend watching this in theaters to get the full experience, it’s also available on Disney + for a fee.

Written and Edited by Carly B.