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Black Widow Movie Review - Worthy Origin Story

Long overdue tribute to original Avenger is a success!

Reviewed by on Jul 08, 2021
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Black Widow Avenger origin story has got it all; emotional drama, hot action, great acting and a cool spy plot a la James Bond. Read our movie review of Black Widow!

In the Black Widow espionage thriller, we are following the events in Captain America: Civil War (2016). Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is on her own and Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) Secretary of State is after her for violating the Sokovia Accords. When her estranged younger “sister” Yelena (Florence Pugh) sends her a strange package full of vials of red liquid, Natasha is sucked into a plot launched by her nemesis since childhood Dreykov (Ray Winstone) to use his Black Widow force to control the world. Can Natasha deal with her history as a spy and all the broken relationships she left behind to become an Avenger? Can she defeat Dreykov’s plan?

Natasha gets away from RossNatasha gets away from RossCourtesy of Marvel Studios


Ohio – 1995 – Young sisters enjoy each other. They are in a loving family with a Mom and Dad. Suddenly the girls are told they only have an hour to get ready. The family has to leave. Their days as a family are over. They are a Russian sleeper cell in the U.S. and have been called home. Young Natasha (Ever Anderson) and six-year-old Yelena (Violet McGraw) don’t want to go. After a wild, tense chase, the “family” arrives in Cuba where Dad Alexei (David Harbour) also known as Red Guardian, and Mom Melina (Rachel Weisz) part from the kids who are taken to a strange facility. The girls are separated to be trained as Russian agents.

Melina is a scientist who was also a Black WidowMelina is a scientist who was also a Black WidowCourtesy of Marvel Studios

All Grown Up

Twenty-one years later, Avenger Natasha is on the run with Ross after her for breaking the Sokovia Accords with her fellow Avengers. Meanwhile, in Morocco, two young women battle it out and one, Yelena, gets a red gas released into her face from a vial. This changes her. She takes a case of these red vials. Her “boss” Dreykov says she’s a traitor and it’s okay to kill her. He sends his henchman Taskmaster after her.

The Taskmaster is a formidable foeThe Taskmaster is a formidable foeCourtesy of Marvel Studios

In Norway, Nat hears that Steve Rogers is also on the run. She meets with Rick (O.T. Fagbenle), who provides her with supplies, weapons, etc. He brings her mail from her last safe house. Driving to the nearest town, she is attacked by Taskmaster who wants the case of vials that was in her mail. She thinks Ross sent him and, finding an old family photo of her and Yelena as kids in with the vials, realizes Yelena must have sent them to her.

Rick says check the mail I brought youRick says check the mail I brought youCourtesy of Marvel Studios


Nat finds the grown up Yelena in her old safe house. They fight but call a truce. Nat learns that the vials contain an antidote to mind control from which all of Dreykov’s Black Widows suffer. Natasha is the “only superhero I know so I sent them to you”, says Yelena. What? Dreykov is alive? Nat thought she killed him with his young daughter was collateral damage years ago. No and he is still creating Black Widows in his dreaded Red Room. Black Widows attack the “sisters” and they escape with Taskmaster also after them.

Black Widows attack Nat and Yelena in BudapestBlack Widows attack Nat and Yelena in BudapestCourtesy of Marvel Studios

They survive and Yelena is angry that Nat didn’t come after her years ago. She was only six. She reminds Nat that the Avengers are not her family. We are both trained killers yet you are called “hero”. Yelena says she was on a mission to get the gas but when a vial broke, it released her from mind control. They must free the young girls Dreykov is still kidnapping and training. Nat agrees. They will find the Red Room and kill him.

The sisters meet after many years apartThe sisters meet after many years apartCourtesy of Marvel Studios

Breaking Dad Out of Prison

The “sisters” reason that their fake dad Alexei would know where the Red Room is so they break him out of prison with an elaborate, dangerous and action-packed plan. Plenty goes wrong but they succeed. There is no love for him. He only mourns his glory days as super soldier Red Guardian. He says Melina isn’t dead and still works for the Red Room as a scientist working on mind control.

Alexei will lead his girls to Melina's farmAlexei will lead his girls to Melina's farmCourtesy of Marvel Studios

He leads them to her farm where there is a very strange family reunion. Yelena wishes the family had been real. Dad puts on his old Red Guardian super suit. He’s so fat it barely fits. Nat learns that her real mom was always looking for her. Dreykov had her killed. Melina has called in Dreykov’s forces and she flies them to the Red Room which is now a huge, hovering station, far above ground.

At a weird reunion the girls see Alexei in his old Guardian suitAt a weird reunion the girls see Alexei in his old Guardian suitCourtesy of Marvel Studios

Red Room Action

Onboard the current Red Room we see that, at her farm, Melina consorted with Nat to hatch a plan that might free the current Black Widows being trained on the station. Nat is able to confront her longtime nemesis Dreykov and learns a shocking secret about his henchman Taskmaster.

Natasha is attacked by Taskmaster who mirrors her movesNatasha is attacked by Taskmaster who mirrors her movesCourtesy of Marvel Studios

Will Nat be able to kill Dreykov? Yelena’s life is in danger yet she is supposed to get the antidote to the mind-controlled Black Widows. Can Alexie and Melina survive when the station is being destroyed? Will Nat want to reconcile with the Avengers?

The Red Room station is coming apartThe Red Room station is coming apartCourtesy of Marvel Studios

As is “normal” with Marvel films, stay in your seat for an important Post-Credit Scene in which, later, Yelena visits Natasha’s grave and is visited there by Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (seen in “Falcon and the Winter Soldier”) who gives her a new assignment.

Yelena is a trained Black WidowYelena is a trained Black WidowCourtesy of Marvel Studios

Wrapping Up

Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff is dead (as of “Endgame”) and she never got a send-off….until this delayed film. About time!

Black Widow fights against Ross's forcesBlack Widow fights against Ross's forcesCourtesy of Marvel Studios

The very female-centric movie is unusual in that not one of the other Avengers appears so Natasha Romanoff stands alone to face her personal demons and an evil foe and she does so with flair!  

Melina tells Natasha about her real motherMelina tells Natasha about her real motherCourtesy of Marvel Studios

Actors are all working at the top of their game. Alexei is pleasing comic relief especially as played by David Harbour (of “Stranger Things”).

Alexei tries on his old Red Guardian suitAlexei tries on his old Red Guardian suitCourtesy of Marvel Studios

The “sisters” have some wonderful, believable, snarky banter with Florence Pugh more than holding her own as little “sis” Yelena and Rachel Weisz plays complicated Melina to perfection. All of these characters are never one-note but well-developed. Only baddie Dreykov seems a stereotype out of an early James Bond movie. However, overall, we have a great cast with wonderful chemistry among them. Young Ever Anderson is especially good as the tween Natasha. The new characters will no doubt add flair to the MCU universe now that Nat is gone.

The sisters will escape Dreykov's forcesThe sisters will escape Dreykov's forcesCourtesy of Marvel Studios

The movie would be best seen on the big screen for an absorbing view of the action sequences. The film starts with an exciting, edge-of-your-seat escape and, for the most part, the pace moves right along. There is a bit too much repetition when Black Widow has to fight Taskmaster so many times and some of the falls very human Nat takes should have killed her since she has no superpowers but we can forgive that.

Natasha wonders who the strange, masked fighter isNatasha wonders who the strange, masked fighter isCourtesy of Marvel Studios

Black Widow, at 2 hours and 15 minutes, is a little long and contains a lot of explaining/exposition but a lot has happened surrounding Natasha over her lifetime.  There are some very nice twists and surprises.  

Natasha and Yelena work as a teamNatasha and Yelena work as a teamCourtesy of Marvel Studios

Black Widow is one of the most intimate personal origin stories in the MCU I’ve seen so far. Natasha has old guilt to wade through as well as other emotional baggage and that mixes nicely with all of the set piece and personal one-on-one action.  There are no Infinity Stones to muddy the plot, just an old-fashioned, spy drama with a baddie trying to rule the world by using an ever-growing army of women and a masked henchman under his control but, here, it works and Aussie director Cate Shortland does a great job with both intimate, emotional scenes and action.

On set with director Cate ShortlandOn set with director Cate ShortlandCourtesy of Marvel Studios

If you love this character, you should really enjoy the film. We award four stars.

Black Widow Movie Rating: 4

Black Widow Movie Review - Worthy Origin Story | Marvel | Disney Courtesy of Marvel Studios

See Black Widow in theaters and with Disney+ Premier Access on July 9th