It irks me that we’re only just now getting a Black Widow movie when this should have happened ten years ago and, for the life of me, I don’t know what short-sighted movie executive at Marvel thought that she couldn’t carry a film. Sadly, this works to the detriment of Black Widow because, quite honestly, no matter how good the movie turned out, it feels like an afterthought and has a hard time justifying its existence in a Post-Endgame world.
This prequel featuring the late Natasha Romanoff before she straight up yeeted herself to her doom. Taking place between Captain American: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, Black Widow is on the run, her surrogate family is in pieces, and she’s in a bad place so, naturally, this is the perfect time for her past to catch up with her and her fake family she was with so many years ago to re-enter her life, sending her and her not-quite-sister on a mission to destroy The Red Room, the inhumane training facility that created them, once and for all.
Overall, this is a supremely entertaining spy adventure. Scarlett Johansson is, once again, commanding and likeable as Black Widow and her supporting cast, consisting of David Harbor, Florence Pugh, and Rachel Weisz are good compliments for her. While never quite as bombastic or huge as Marvels other superhero vehicles (for the most part, that is), Black Widow is a little sneakier and a little quieter until it decides not to be. Then, it pulls out an incredibly large and impressive action sequence that literally brings down the house as it merrily dances inside it.
David Harbor, in particular, is highly entertaining as the Red Guardian, a blustering Russian super soldier past his prime with extremely poor interpersonal skills. I would be very interested in watching a spinoff featuring his character up against Sam Wilson’s Captain America.
As I said before, the thing that detracts from this movie is that it feels like it’s a decade too late because, let’s be honest, it totally is. It feels like it was made out of obligation to make up for an oversight and it’s a feeling that is hard to shake, but shake it I did and discovered a long overdue, but highly satisfying Black Widow solo movie that allows Natasha a little character deconstruction, a little closure, and a little happiness for once.