When the Avengers came out in 2012 it was pretty much a lock we would get a Black Widow movie eventually. With Iron Man, Thor and Cap already having feature films beforehand (and even the Hulk getting a Marvel movie under a different studio – which is still canon thanks to Tony Stark’s appearance) the super spy from Iron Man 2 was pretty much a lock for a major motion picture and we were right, only 2 phases, 17 films later (not counting The Winter Soldier as a Cap/Widow film) and one global pandemic worth of delays we finally have a Black Widow film in cinemas, but is it worth the wait?
For anyone who is new the MCU Natasha Romanoff aka the Black Widow is a Soviet Spy who defected to SHIELD. Not any normal spy, the product of a Russian training programme called the Red Room that would train assassins and spies from almost birth. This of course until the Black Widow left it behind before we first saw her in Iron Man 2 (which was probably after her time in Budapest with Clint Barton who remembers Budapest very differently).
The new film, set roughly between Captain America: Civil War and Infinity War has us joining a Romanoff on the run after refusing to sign the Sokovia Accords (the Superhero registration act which was the result of the actions of the Avengers in Age of Ultron and Civil War as well. While you do not need to have watched every part of the MCU to get up to speed it is important to realised that this film was delayed three times and originally intended to release in June of 2020 as the first Phase 4 release before being followed by Falcon and the Winter Soldier in August of 2020 – so at the very least it you may want to make sure you are up to date on your Disney+
Without giving too much away in spoilers the new film gives us more of an insight into Romanoff’s history with her time during the cold war (as a young teen) before jumping to her being on the run. At this time she is no longer the only Widow with the Red Room 2.0 now in operation. The Red Room we know from Age of Ultron was very much like the comics with successful graduates receiving hysterectomies (if you want more of the comics backstory we recommend the Mark Waid 2014 Black Widow series as well as some of the Brubaker Captain America run if you like Gulags).
While we would normally not try to give any spoilers this probably doesn’t really do much more than explain what is going on as Black Widow as a film is much more of an Superhero film with Spies than a Spy movie with Superheroes (like Captain America: The Winter Soldier). While there are some key moments in the film the focus is very much on the action which does not take long to start with Black Widow encountering Taskmaster very early on.
The MCU version of Tasky is similar to the comics but not quite the same with Taskmaster originally being the Skull Masked Avengers foil with Photographic reflexes, that is being able to duplicate any action he sees. Watches Captain America – learns how to throw a shield just as hard, watches Hawkeye – adds some archery skills to his quiver. While the comics version of Taskmaster is very much a talkative mercenary (who has both tangled and been best buds with Deadpool) the MCU version shares the skills but not the origin.
So should you go see it? Like we said this is not The Winter Soldier in terms of pacing with a focus being on action over revealing Hydra was inside SHIELD all along. While we are fairly unlike to get a Black Widow trilogy at this point with Natasha as a standalone film there is a lot of tie-in to events across the MCU even just in passing. While expectations for this film may have been heighted with the extended release delay this does a great job of reminding us that there might be more happening in Phase 4 than just Multiverse stuff and don’t worry the level of action only goes up at the end.
Black Widow is in Cinemas across Australia right now but will also be available via Disney+ Premium Access this Friday for anyone who cannot get to a cinema safety