Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow was never going to leave the MCU quietly and, with her highly-anticipated solo film, she’s finally got the ending she deserves.
Set just after the events of Captain: America Civil War, Black Widow catches up with Natasha as the Avengers are thrown into disarray. With most of them locked up in prison after breaking the Sokovia Accords, the assassin goes on the run, coming face to face with a past she’d rather forget.
She’s reunited with figures from her past, including Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), whose link to Natasha proves to be much closer than first expected, and soviet super-soldier Red Guardian (David Harbour).
Things kick off in a very dark way as we learn more than we ever have about Natasha’s past in a matter of minutes and, with a completely chilling opening sequence, are given a glimpse inside the Red Room where she was raised.
From then on, it’s non-stop action. The stunts, performed by Scarlett and Florence as well as their incredible doubles, are particularly impressive, with the vicious fight scenes sure to leave some viewers flinching.
Meanwhile the cast are, simply put, perfect.
Scarlett executive-produced the film (Picture: AP)
Florence stunned as Yelena (Picture: AP)
David is simultaneously terrifying and hilarious as Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian, while Florence is at an all-time best as Yelena the perfect counter-part to Scarlett’s Natasha.
We won’t spoil anything about Rachel’s role, only to say that it is exquisitely unexpected.
It’s been heavily hinted that we’ll be seeing Florence’s character Yelena in the future of the MCU, and that can’t come soon enough – while she could never replace Natasha, the character is the perfect continuation of the Black Widow legacy.
David is simultaneously terrifying and hilarious as Red Guardian (Picture: AP)
Rachel’s role is brilliantly unexpected (Picture: AP)
As for the soundtrack? We’ll have that as the background to our lives for the foreseeable.
The one element that fell a little flat was the villainous Taskmaster. Perhaps a victim of Marvel’s hype, the way the character was dealt with is most likely not what fans are expecting, and it was ultimately a little underused.
We learn more about Natasha’s past than we ever have (Picture: AP)
The fight scenes are immense (Picture: AP)
However, it doesn’t take away from Natasha’s journey, which is beautifully summed up when she’s asked: ‘How have you kept your heart?’ For a character who was always so guarded about her past, it’s pretty fitting that we only learn more when she’s already gone.
It’s also very clear that the movie’s been executive-produced by Scarlett. Natasha has come so far since she first appeared in the Iron Man films, and it’s only right that Scarlett should have her say.
While there have been rumours that Scarlett is set to reprise her role in the future, that would be a mistake. Black Widow is a fitting ending for her, with the final scenes being a love-letter to the least likely Avenger.
As with every other Marvel movie, fans will want to stay for the end for a post-credits scene that will bring you to tears, make you laugh and then leave you with more questions than you came in with.
We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Black Widow is released on July 9.
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