Finally. A Black Widow movie. And she’s dead. Right? The last we knew, she sacrificed herself for the fate of the universe, including her BFF Clint Barton, by splattering her brains at the bottom of a Vormir cliff. The end. Scarlett Johansson‘s time within the MCU is over and done. Ha.
We can’t accept such a fate. Tony Stark got three solo movies atop his Avengers appearances before snapping away to oblivion. As one of the founding members of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Natasha Romanoff deserves at least one solo adventure under her belt. Respect.
So, here we go. Prequel time.
The trailer goes a long way into erasing whatever weirdness I had regarding the character’s eventual demise in Avengers: Endgame. Director Cate Shortland reveals a Natasha Romanoff in her element. Released from Infinity Stones and Mad Titans, Johansson is free to kick ass and take names. It’s basic spy thriller action stuff with a superhero shine applied here and there. As Captain America: The Winter Soldier proved before, Marvel Studios thrives in how it adapts genres to its purposes.
The trailer naturally opens on a skyline shot of Budapest. Is this the moment in time referenced by Hawkeye and Black Widow in the first Avengers film, or simply another excursion into the Hungarian capital. While on some level it would be a kick to see a Jeremy Renner cameo, as a final send-off for Scarlett Johansson, I would rather her storyline not get muddied by tangential MCU connections. As if that was possible.
“I used to have nothing.” The Avengers are a collection of heroes plagued by doubt. The appeal of Marvel characters is how they confront their inner demons, accept their failings, and strive to be more than their worst moments. Struggle is the key to bravery. Maybe more than any other character on the roster, Black Widow loathes her past self and the great splashes of red on her ledger. Her goal is to make up for past sins, and this film will go a long way in settling her accounts before accepting her final moments in Avengers: Endgame.
We’re given several glimpses from previous MCU adventures, including this instance from Avengers: Age of Ultron when Scarlet Witch invaded Natasha’s memory, catching a peek at her Red Room training. Born to be a killer, the Black Widow had no real will of her own until she was freed from the diabolical institution (presumably by Hawkeye).
“And then I got this job…this family…” The Avengers was Natasha’s redemption. Under the leadership of Nick Fury and the partnership with Clint Barton, she found purpose and a chance to free herself from a brainwashed childhood. “…but nothing lasts forever.”
The Marvel Studios logo comes up, fully embracing the branding of the character. The spider symbol giving a little extra gravitas to the presentation. Kevin Feige wants you to know this is not just filler adventure. This is epic. This is essential.