It will be stated in many a review that Black Widow is a long awaited return for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, though that won’t be entirely true. We’ve already had the completion of two of Marvel’s premiere Disney+ series, the magical WandaVision and the diabolical The Falcon And The Winter Soldier. All of this while Loki is currently just over half way through being released. Now though, Black Widow sees the much more anticipated cinematic return for the MCU after a very long year. It’s safe to say that it was most certainly worth the wait.
The best solo films of the MCU often entangle themselves deeply into the undercover world of espionage. One of the highest regarded of these is of course Captain America: The Winter Soldier which brought a dark twist to the seemingly heroic SHEILD while also adding great depths to Steve Rogers’ character. Black Widow does much the same thing for Natasha Romanoff, giving her a very charismatic long lost family and fleshing out her murky origins. While the film does actually share quite a few similar plot beats to the aforementioned Captain America sequel, it still manages to entertain with magnificent action sequences and some very heartfelt and emotional moments.
Scarlett Johannsson is unsurprisingly on top form throughout the two hour run time but the lime light is shared by a fantastic supporting cast. Florence Pugh makes her explosive Marvel debut as Yelena Belova and often steals a lot of the scenes she’s featured in. David Harbour basically plays a Russian version of Hopper from Stranger Things but is great fun to watch nevertheless. Though both Harbour and Pugh are the source of quite a lot of the film’s unnecessary comedy.
Marvel does have a tendency to rely a lot on quips and funny one liners and Black Widow is no exception. It can become slightly frustrating at points with a story that is really quite dark to have silly comic moments sprinkled throughout. Black Widow‘s plot (along with WandaVision‘s) tackles some quite mature themes and could be a sign that Marvel’s content is growing up with its audience. Every so often, however, David Harbour will make some silly joke in his over the top Russian accent and those theories start to fade away.
The jokes don’t distract too much though as the villains of the film are dark and scary enough to outweigh the occasional bouts of silliness. Taskmaster is a completely unstoppable force and is a fantastic presence on screen whenever they’re up against Natasha and her family. Though the masked assassin isn’t on screen enough to truly show off their impressive set of skills, they will nevertheless sell a lot of toys. Ray Winstone too is a sinister antagonist and while he doesn’t play too far away from his usual type, he’s a welcome addition to the MCU’s ever growing rogues gallery.
Black Widow is very much a return to form for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s a beautiful and action packed swan song to one of the original Avengers and it sets the stage for more Marvel spy action to come. It can be said with certainty that yes: Marvel. Is. Back.
Black Widow releases in cinemas on July 7th and will be available with Premium Access on Disney+ on July 9th.