Review: ‘Black Widow’ Boldly Emerges From MCU Shadows

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“Black Widow” (July 9)
Rated PG-13
(MARVEL Studios)  

“I’ve lived a lot of lives….”  

It’s hard to believe that we got our very first glimpse of this intriguing character way back in 2010’s “Iron Man 2.”

And to see where they’ve taken her, to what eventually plays into a supremely important point, is admirable and noteworthy indeed. 

To its credit, the movie feels much more like a Bond or a “Bourne Identity” film than an extension of “The Avengers.”

True, it drops plenty of Easter eggs and reminders of its Marvel Cinematic Universe ties, but largely stays within the confines of its own gritty and ethically intense insularities.

Ironically, in true Marvel form, the story is spooled in such a way that it can be used as an entry point for diving into the MCU or simply enjoying it for the gripping, fast-moving and surprisingly emotional, espionage core action thriller that it is.

The story is set post “Captain America: Civil War” and it is bold, ambitious and even unexpectedly heartfelt. After pop culture masterpieces like “Infinity War” and “Endgame,” if Marvel is moving forward with additional, comparatively smaller scale, retro origin stories like this, I am all for it.

Bringing in the Backstory

“Black Widow” manages to satisfy and wildly entertain while swinging for the fences and coloring in the long-speculated backstory of Natasha Romanoff and her shrouded defection to S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers.

The film becomes to this character what “Winter Soldier” was to Captain America. Easily. And she dramatically and solidly underscores the importance of having “mere mortals” like herself (and Hawkeye) on a team that boasts a super-soldier, a witch, an android and even a god within their ranks.

Gene Roddenberry made the same rather convincing case decades earlier, with his use of the Starship Enterprise as a metaphor for Earth. No one “crew” should ever be made up of one kind. Ever. As a species, our absolute best hope to taking on any kind of calamity or adversity is with diversity.

 “Black Widow,” the character and the film, will defy your expectations and does so in clever, explosive, thought-provoking, spectacular fashion.

And as much as it pains me to say this, especially after over a decade of offerings, 24 films and even with everyone claiming to already know better, for Odin’s sake, stay until the very final credits. 


Andre is a Los Angeles-based writer and stand-up comedian.

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