5 Thoughts I Had While Watching ‘Black Widow’ in a Movie Theater Near Me

(Scarlett Johansson) in Marvel Studios' BLACK WIDOW, in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Hey, Hollywooders! What’s Good in the ‘Wood?

I just got back from seeing Black Widow, one of the many new movie releases out now in movie theaters.

I took a look at theaters near me to compare movie showtimes and settled on going to the 10:45 pm movie showtime at the AMC 34th Street 14 theater. I purchased my tickets well in advance knowing this release is the first Marvel Cinematic Universe feature-length film since Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019). I purchased some movie theater popcorn and a Coca-Cola Icee and strolled into the IMAX theater, excited to see Scarlett Johansson on the big screen again with an enthusiastic crowd of MCU fans!

AMC gifted fans a Black Widow prelude comic at my IMAX screening, which made for a great way to pass the time while waiting for the film to start. The comic catches fans up briefly on some of Scarlett Johansson’s finest MCU moments and sets the stage for the new movie.

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Black Widow: What is the new movie about?

Black Widow takes place almost directly after Captain America: Civil War (2016) and finds Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) on the run after violating the Sokovia Accords, with the Avengers in shambles after that iconic airport showdown from Civil War. Natasha flees to Norway, where a contact named Rick Mason (O-T Fagbenle) sets her up in a safehouse. She prepares to adjust to a life off the grid so long as U.S. Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) is hunting the Avengers who violated the Accords. Her quiet lifestyle is quickly interrupted when she receives a mysterious package from another safehouse in her network, this time in Budapest. Natasha is then confronted by an even more mysterious — and lethal — villain who has set out to destroy the package.

Natasha travels to Budapest — which savvy Avengers fans might recall is the site of the often-referred to mission she and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) once went on — and comes face-to-face with Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), her surrogate sister who she has not seen in 20 years. Yelena, who was similarly trained as a spy and assassin at the Red Room in Russia, reveals that she knows how to break the Red Room’s mind control over its agents, and seeks Natasha’s help in taking down the organization’s leader, General Dreykov (Ray Winstone) once and for all.

Black Widow seriously explores childhood trauma

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) gave audiences a small glimpse into Natasha Romanoff’s past.  Prior to Black Widow, we knew she was trained as a spy and assassin from a young age and had some sort of medical operation performed on her as a form of graduation ceremony in order to become a Black Widow. The new film takes that backstory and runs with it, giving fans the full scope of what Natasha and Yelena were put through as children and the lack of choices made available to them growing up.

Director Cate Shortland seriously knows how to pull an audience in. The first 20 or so minutes of Black Widow stand among the best introductions of any MCU film and paint a clear-as-day picture of Natasha and Yelena’s troubling past, thematically connecting their story with Don Henley’s iconic song “American Pie.” The groundwork the film lays out early on makes the rest of the adventure more meaningful, along with the audience’s meta knowledge that this film marks the end of Scarlett Johansson’s story as Natasha Romanoff due to the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019).

Florence Pugh steals the show in Black Widow

As consistently strong as Scarlett’s acting always is, Black Widow’s success is in large part driven by Florence Pugh’s remarkable performance as Yelena Belova. We’ve never quite seen Florence take on such an action-oriented role, and she fits the part like a glove. The 25-year-old convincingly portrays a lifelong killer who reacts at times with child-like innocence when presented with the opportunity to make her own choices for the first time. 

Along with David Harbour’s Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian, Florence bears much of the comedic relief in this film, often poking fun at Natasha’s half-baked plans or offering meta-commentary on Black Widow’s signature fighting poses. That comic relief is needed, too, because when Yelena is not laughing, the grim reality of her life’s story rises to the surface.

Black Widow shows that family bonds last forever, no matter what

David Harbour and Rachel Weisz appear in Black Widow as parental figures to Natasha and Yelena. On the surface, they’re just like any other family — all 4 bicker at times through the film — but underneath, their particular circumstances are complicated at best and downright traumatizing for Natasha and Yelena at worst. David Harbour portrays a past-his-prime supersoldier who was once the Soviet Union’s attempted answer to Captain America, while Rachel Weisz is an expert scientist and former Black Widow agent herself.

Ultimately, all 4 characters hold a grudge against the Red Room and General Dreykov. They use the familial bonds they do share to trust each other enough to right the past’s wrongs and bring a regime responsible for unimaginable corruption and destruction down, once and for all.

Does Black Widow have a post-credits scene?

One could be forgiven for asking the question — after all, it’s been 2 years since an MCU film was released in theaters, and Marvel Studios is certainly trying out new things in Phase 4. At the end of the day, though, the MCU is the MCU, and there most certainly is an exciting post-credits scene that is worth sticking around for after the film. Us Marvel fans are always trying to guess what’s next, aren’t we?

What others thought about Black Widow

I genuinely enjoyed Black Widow and found it a worthy addition to the MCU, but let’s take a look at what other fans have to say about the movie.

Yeah, you’re really going to want to stick around for the post-credits scene.

Florence Pugh can do no wrong. Like Gabriel, we have no choice but to stan.

Some fans are having fun imagining Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Mobius (Owen Wilson) watching Black Widow from the comfy confines of the TVA in the Disney+ series Loki.

Again, the opening credits of this film are some of the most creative and daunting choices made in any MCU movie.

The movie is genuinely hilarious at times. Everyone in my theater laughed it up!

Overall, Black Widow is a worthy addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, although its place in the franchise’s timeline is a little bit odd since the rest of the series largely takes place in the post-Blip world. Let us know what you think of the film on our Instagram!

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