Review: Black Widow
You knew it would come to this. After a decade of patiently enduring her female fate—waiting around to be granted her own standalone movie while one male Avenger after another got his (Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Iron Man, Iron Man, even Ant-Man, for God’s sake)—Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff finally gets the call. But it’s too late—in the Avengers timeline, Natasha is dead. And it wasn’t much of a death, either: In the 2019 Avengers: Endgame she fell from a cliff and got one farewell shot as a corpse before the story moved right along.
Endgame was the last hurrah for the original Avengers, but of course no one at Marvel/Disney was ever about to let this cash geyser stop gushing. So a narrative cheat had been devised: The next movie would be set in 2016, a year in which Natasha was still alive. As you’ll surely recall, that was the year of Captain America: Civil War, in which the Cap and Tony Stark/Iron Man had a big falling out and Natasha disappeared.
Now—in 2016, that is—we find Natasha on the run in Europe (the movie globe-trots expensively from Norway and Hungary to Morocco and England and beyond). She has to cool her heels for a bit, though, while the story flashes us back to 1995 Ohio to meet two little girls—preteen Natasha and her younger sister Yelena—who are living happily with their immigrant parents Alexei (David Harbour) and Melina (Rachel Weisz). Then disaster strikes, in the form of a S.H.I.E.L.D. snatch team. It turns out the parents aren’t really parents and the sisters aren’t really sisters, either—they’re all part of a sleeper cell of KGB spies (even though in the real-world, Russia had disbanded the KG
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