Decade long wait ends; Marvel Studios’ Black Widow released


Photo used with permission from Google Commons

The Black Widow cast, including Kevin Feige, Scarlett Johansson, David Harbour, Florence Pugh, O.T. Fagbenle, Cate Shortland and Rachel Weisz, announce their film at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con.

The wait has ended; on July 9 Marvel Studios delivered Black Widow, the second female-spotlighted Marvel film. Viewers have the option to watch it in theaters or through Disney+ with Premier Access.

The focus of the film, Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow), was first introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as a former KGB-assassin and S.H.I.E.L.D agent in Iron Man 2. 

During the promotion of the movie in September of 2010, Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige disclosed a potential standalone Black Widow film was in the works. At the 2019 San Diego Comic Con, Feige announced that the Black Widow feature film was in production as the first incoming Phase Four movie.

As the pandemic emerged, the expected May 1 release date got postponed to Nov. 9 last year, May 7 this year and the movie was finally released on July 9. Despite those delays, the wait was well worth it. 

The movie starts off with a young Romanoff, played by Milla Jovovich, and her younger sister, Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), living in Ohio as members of a posing family with Red Guardian super soldier Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour) and Black Widow Melina Vostokof (Rachel Weisz). The sisters are then taken by General Dreykov to the Red Room – the secret Soviet program where Romanoff, Belova and other young women were put through agonizing sterilizations and “Black Widow” assassin training.

It is safe to say that this film aces cinematography from start to finish. Notably, the opening credit scene is a masterpiece in portraying the eerie tone of the Red Room through the music and its appropriate red-and-black hue. Cut to 21 years later, Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) is experiencing the aftermath of the events in Captain America: Civil War (2016), in which the movie also falls before Avengers: Infinity War (2018) in the MCU timeline. 

The intricate bond between Romanoff and Belova, as well as the bond the two have with their parents, is significant as the plot unfolds. It is found out that the Red Room is still active and girls from all over the world face the torturous abuse that Dreykov enabled. 

Through the ins-and-outs of action-packed and suspenseful fight sequences in bridges, streets, a snow-surrounded jail and apartments, the two heroines come together to defeat their foe: the Taskmaster. Because Romanoff and Belova were separated for decades after they were taken by Dreykov and the mission to save the Black Widows in the Red Room brought back traumatic memories, it evokes vulnerability between them. Belova’s clever, backhanded jokes to Romanoff bring about top-notch comedic relief. 

As thrilling as the action is, being able to connect to Romanoff’s raw emotions through a greater understanding of her struggles makes the Black Widow movie well worth it.