The first reactions from film journalists are in for “Black Widow,” and they’re strong across the board. Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been waiting over a year for the “Black Widow” release, which was delayed multiple times because of the pandemic. The film is Scarlett Johansson’s long-awaited standalone MCU tentpole, but it’s also her last appearance in the franchise. No wonder anticipation is so high. Joining Johansson in the cast are Rachel Weisz, David Harbour, and Florence Pugh. The “Midsommar” actress and “Little Women” Oscar nominee is earning instant raves for her performance, being called “an instant MCU icon.”
“Black Widow” is directed by Cate Shortland, making it the first MCU movie tentpole to be solo-directed by a woman director. The Australian filmmaker is best known for movies such as “Somersault,” “Lore,” and “Berlin Syndrome.” The “Black Widow” script, credited to “WandaVision” showrunner Jac Schaeffer and Ned Benson, is set after the events of “Captain America: Civil War” and finds Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow on the run and heading to Russia to confront her past.
“I think we’ve made something very raw and very painful and very beautiful and I think people are going to be really surprised by the outcome of a big action film having that much heart,” Pugh told Variety about the tentpole. “And I know lots of people will be emotional about her because her character had such a hard ending [in ‘Endgame’], but it was special learning from [Johansson], and she’s been doing this for like 10 years in those films. For this to be her film was special. And I got to be there and see how she does stunts and lives it, and it’s so her.”
“Black Widow” opens in theaters and streams on Disney+ via Premier Access on July 9. Check out first reactions below.
#BlackWidow : Actually bruising fighting and chase sequences, a go-for-broke Florence Pugh performance (does she turn in any other kind? nope), and a first half that’s intimate and talky and kind of funny in a new way for the MCU; yes, I enjoyed this. pic.twitter.com/i48fFmjNud
— Kate Erbland (@katerbland) June 17, 2021
Marvel movies are back! #BlackWidow is a tense, action-packed spy thriller that truly completes Natasha’s story in a visceral & emotional way. Florence Pugh CRUSHES it & is an instant MCU icon. This is like the MCU’s Bond movie w/ shades of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE & THELMA & LOUISE. pic.twitter.com/bauc2XVQlF
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) June 17, 2021
BLACK WIDOW feels like a Phase 1 Marvel movie in that’s it’s the most standalone story in quite awhile. That whole “An MCU entry like you’ve never seen!” trend, yeah that’s not this. Florence Pugh rules. (Also bonus points for a great MOONRAKER reference.)
— Mike Ryan (@mikeryan) June 17, 2021
I really liked Black Widow!! One of the funnier MCU movies, w/a ton of self-referential jokes for longtime fans, enough self-awareness to make the absurdity work. Florence Pugh & David Harbour steal the show. Definitely has some issues. But dug it! Absolutely see it in theaters! pic.twitter.com/i8s96I14It
— julia alexander (@loudmouthjulia) June 17, 2021
Mix the Jason Bourne movies, FX’s The Americans, and MCU lore and you get #BlackWidow (or what i will call for now on, “The Moment Florence Pugh Took Over The World”) … Definitely stick around for the post credits scene pic.twitter.com/btDWxb0bjX
— Jason Guerrasio (@JasonGuerrasio) June 17, 2021
#BlackWidow is one of Marvel’s best solo films.
Start to finish, the movie is great. Excellent surprises, emotional character moments, bad-ass action, and Scarlett Johansson finally gets to pour everything into the role.
Director Cate Shortland nailed it. Bravo. pic.twitter.com/sgEkUW63cT
— BD (@BrandonDavisBD) June 17, 2021
Dug #BlackWidow a good deal! Was kinda worried about watching this story unfold knowing what’s to come in Endgame, that it might diminish the stakes, but that wasn’t the case. In fact, this is the kind of prequel story that feels bound to enhance other installments of the MCU. pic.twitter.com/sFcwHzW30Y
— Perri Nemiroff (@PNemiroff) June 17, 2021
#BlackWidow director Cate Shortland balances sentimentality, situational severity & seriousness, folding those emotional touchstones into the camera choreography & character-drive. Twists & turns are clever. Lorne Balfe’s score carries a haunting sense of gravitas. pic.twitter.com/DiMk8ZhnC7
— Courtney Howard (@Lulamaybelle) June 17, 2021
#BlackWidow is far from my favorite MCU entry, but there’s still plenty to like for diehard fans. Florence Pugh steals the show as Yelena Belova. Putting Natasha Romanoff in the spotlight was *long* overdue, so I’m glad it finally happened. pic.twitter.com/QmNG5ZYmYR
— Dan Casey (@DanCasey) June 17, 2021
Cate Shortland had the difficult job trying to fill in Natasha Romanoff’s backstory, but she nailed it in #BlackWidow. While entire cast was great both @Florence_Pugh and @DavidKHarbour hit home-runs with their performances. No way audiences don’t want more of both characters. pic.twitter.com/CIJTV4oxR6
— Steven Weintraub (@colliderfrosty) June 17, 2021
Marvel movies are back and Phase 4 kicks off with the very entertaining and action-packed #BlackWidow. Giving us a long-overdue look at Natasha’s backstory, with solid performances throughout and thrilling set pieces that demand you see this movie on the biggest screen possible. pic.twitter.com/Pr6qeBlSGQ
— Umberto Gonzalez (@elmayimbe) June 17, 2021
Saw #BlackWidow on big screen and for fans it is def WORTH THE WAIT.
A true ensemble piece that mixes awesome hand-to-hand combat with reflections on family, free will, finding your place.
It’s Marvel does The Americans, laced w/ black comedy.
Oh, and all hail Florence Pugh. pic.twitter.com/ANpILzClgx
— Joel Meares (@joelmeares) June 17, 2021
BLACK WIDOW is the Bourne sequel we should’ve had the last time around.
— erickohn (@erickohn) June 17, 2021
I saw #BlackWidow! Interlaced with the well done action and humor is some of the darker material we’ve seen in the MCU, which packs a punch. The cast is all great with Florence Pugh a standout. A couple of beats near the end I could have done without but overall I really dug it.
— Eric Goldman (@TheEricGoldman) June 17, 2021