Black Widow, the latest addition to the MCU from Cate Shortland, is finally out for the masses. Expectations have been sky-high for Natasha Romanoff’s long overdue backstory, but does the film deliver? On the one hand, we get nearly every detail of Black Widow’s origin. On the other, you miss out on the payoff of that origin if you’re new to the MCU. The details are difficult to follow at times, and if you are an MCU fan, you might get lost in spots if the previous films aren’t fresh in your mind. Maybe that’s the trade-off of getting the film later rather than sooner. Despite its flaws, the film pushes the universe forward with endless possibilities for some fresh new faces.
In the Weeds
If you are new to the library of MCU films, you could get lost in the weeds of Black Widow. The same might be said to a degree for fans already familiar with the MCU. The film lays out lots of details and threads, sometimes too quickly, which isn’t necessarily a bad move. After more than a decade of Marvel films, we finally get a definitive origin for the first woman Avenger in the MCU. Those details do come at a cost, though, as the filmmakers expect viewers to keep up with the pace of the story, regardless if they understand the origins of specific plot points. The circumstances might have been different if Marvel decided to release the film in an earlier phase. The bottom line: If you are new to the MCU and decide to start with Black Widow, you might want to check out the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War beforehand to keep up with the plot.
New Faces, Endless Possibilities
The best element of Black Widow is its introduction of several more characters into the MCU. Like most Marvel films, Black Widow works exceptionally well as a story within the broader MCU. It pushes the post-Avengers Endgame story forward and introduces fantastic “new” characters into the universe in typical MCU fashion. Rumors and fan speculation are flooding the internet as expected, but the best thing about the newly introduced characters is just how much freedom there is to expand their stories. The possibilities are endless. So while Black Widow as a standalone film has its problems, it adds so much to the broader universe and does what any good MCU film should do: Move the story into the future.