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Black Widow First Reactions: One of the Best Solo Movies of the MCU

Early reactions from critics on social media say the standalone prequel has thrilling action, emotional depth, and a stellar supporting cast led by Florence Pugh.

by | June 17, 2021 | Comments


Almost two years have gone by since the last theatrical release in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and by the time Black Widow does hit screens (big and small) on July 9, that two-year marker will have passed. That puts a lot of weight on the shoulders of its titular Avenger (again played by Scarlett Johansson), but this solo, standalone superhero blockbuster is worth the wait, according to most early reactions from critics. While full reviews will come later, social media posts about Black Widow hint at another win for Marvel, with great action, plenty of heart, and the introduction of a new favorite character for the franchise.

Here’s what critics are saying about Black Widow:


Is it worth the wait?

We finally have a solo Black Widow movie and it does not disappoint…the phrase “better late than never” really does apply to this film.
– Ferdosa Abdi, Geeks of Color

Black Widow kicks ass. It surpassed my expectations.
– Simon Thompson, IGN Movies

I was pleasantly surprised!
– Britany Murphy, Geeks of Color

Black Widow is exactly what fans have been waiting for!
– Gabriella Geisinger, Digital Spy

Black Widow was exactly what I’d hoped for: a story about family and sisters that deepened Natasha’s character development.
– Nicole Ackman, Next Best Picture

Black Widow is everything I ever wanted in a female led comic book film… To see a film led by women where they are strong, fierce, and kick ass warms my heart.
– Sharronda Williams, Pay or Wait

I wanted to enjoy Black Widow, but it was a disappointment.
– John Nguyen, Nerd Reactor

It’s fairly unremarkable.
– Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist


Scarlett Johansson in Black Widow

(Photo by ©Marvel Studios)

How does it compare to other MCU movies?

Black Widow is one of Marvel’s best solo films. Start to finish, the movie is great.
Brandon Davis, ComicBook.com

Ultimately, I think it’ll become an MCU favorite, especially in terms of “solo” films.
Trey Mangum, Shadow and Act

More Winter Soldier and Civil War than anything.
Fico Cangiano, CineXpress

Black Widow is really going to please fans of Captain America: The Winter Solider. The film shares a lot of blood… Fans who enjoyed the way Black Widow was written in that film will find a lot to love here.
Meagan Damore, CBR

Black Widow feels like a Phase 1 Marvel movie in that 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.
Mike Ryan, Uproxx

Black Widow is far from my favorite MCU entry, but there’s still plenty to like for diehard fans.
Dan Casey, Nerdist

Generic, uninspired and ultimately lacking the Marvel Magic.
Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment


Does it do anything for the franchise?

This is the kind of prequel story that feels bound to enhance other installments of the MCU.
Perri Nemiroff, Collider

[Black Widow has] a first half that’s intimate and talky and kind of funny in a new way for the MCU; yes, I enjoyed this.
Kate Erbland, IndieWire

This was something that we needed more of in the MCU and I am glad we finally got to see it.
Britany Murphy, Geeks of Color

Marvel fans are going to really enjoy Black Widow. Lots of questions are answered with plenty of cool action… A solid addition to MCU.
Germain Lussier, io9.com

This is a fantastic chapter in the MCU.
Sean O’Connell, CinemaBlend

Black Widow doesn’t necessarily add to the larger MCU narrative. It has a singular focus and in the pursuit of telling a stand-alone story about Black Widow, it ends up being a much better film overall. It isn’t just a puzzle piece.
Ferdosa Abdi, Geeks of Color

Cate Shortland’s vision for the MCU is bold, empowering, and utterly unmissable.
Josh Wilding, ComicBookMovie.com


Scarlett Johansson in Black Widow

Ryan Fujitani

How is the action?

It’s action packed with awesome fight choreography and great set pieces.
Sharronda Williams, Pay or Wait

Black Widow is full of incredible action sequences.
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

Big action set pieces are thrilling, propulsive and capably constructed.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

Black Widow is a hard-hitting romp with thrilling action sequences, including a fantastic car chase.
Brett White, Decider

Actually bruising fighting and chase sequences.
Kate Erbland, IndieWire

From start to finish it is an exhilarating ride.
Trey Mangum, Shadow and Act

Atomic Blonde-level fight scenes.
Anne Cohen, Refinery29

Entertaining Bourne/Mission Impossible style action for sure.
Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist

Black Widow is Bourne meets Bond meets Terminator.
Josh Wilding, ComicBookMovie.com

Black Widow wants to be Bourne Identity but ends up more like Bourne Legacy.
Hoai-Tran Bui, Slashfilm

Some overly long action scenes disrupt its pacing.
Gabriella Geisinger, Digital Spy


How is it to see Black Widow in the spotlight?

Watching Natasha at the forefront rather than sidelined was a joy to see as a fan of the character… wish we had more solo time with [her].
Britany Murphy, Geeks of Color

It is so good to see Natasha again — even if she feels like a side character sometimes.
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

Scarlett Johansson was a treat when she’s on the screen.
John Nguyen, Nerd Reactor

Scarlett Johansson finally gets to pour everything into the role.
Brandon Davis, ComicBook.com

Anyone who has followed the character’s film journey closely will be rewarded. There are a lot of effective payoffs here.
Meagan Damore, CBR

The big problem is we know Nat so well by now, she gets hugely outshined by almost everyone else in her own movie.
Germain Lussier, io9.com


Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh in Black Widow

Ryan Fujitani

Who shines the brightest?

Florence Pugh as Yelena is the star, bringing lots of charm, humor, and emotion.
Nicole Ackman, Next Best Picture

Florence Pugh steals the show.
Fico Cangiano, CineXpress

Florence Pugh steals the show, as she always does, with a hilariously down-to-earth performance that might also make you cry?
Anne Cohen, Refinery29

Florence Pugh steals the show… Get ready to welcome Yelena THEE Belova to the MCU.
Trey Mangum, Shadow and Act

Black Widow is an excellent introduction to the character. Florence Pugh’s performance is pitch-perfect as Yelena.
Ferdosa Abdi, Geeks of Color

Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova is an ABSOLUTE STANDOUT. Marvel fans will ADORE her… She’ll be an instant fan favorite.
Meagan Damore, CBR

Florence is one of the bright spots, she’s hilarious and perfectly vulnerable.
Hoai-Tran Bui, Slashfilm

Florence Pugh rules.
Fico Cangiano, CineXpress

Florence Pugh steals the show.
Mike Ryan, Uproxx


What about when Johansson and Pugh are onscreen together?

Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh are fantastic!
Sharronda Williams, Pay or Wait

[Pugh’s] chemistry with Scarlett Johansson makes the movie what it is and provides a lot of laughs!
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

With two phenomenal, BADASS female leads in Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh.
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh nail the banter and ballet-like stunts.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction


David Harbour in Black Widow

(Photo by ©Marvel Studios)

Does it work on an emotional level?

Besides all the laughs, there is some heart in Black Widow as well — with great lessons about family that might have fans shedding some tears.
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

The relationship is so fun to watch develop and fits into the MCU history really well. You’re gonna feel things.
Brandon Davis, ComicBook.com

Maybe it’s because I’m super close to my sister but I couldn’t get enough of the Natasha/Yelena relationship — from the bickering to the more heartfelt moments. This is my kind of twisted family film.
Perri Nemiroff, Collider

The movie’s heart, and display of a broken family, hit me hard. Very much appreciated this deeper dive into Natasha.
Sean O’Connell, CinemaBlend

This took me by surprise, but Black Widow managed to make me cry…really opened the floodgates for me. Bring tissues!
Meagan Damore, CBR

The entire family subplot doesn’t work because there is little to no chemistry between the characters. I get what the writers were going for but the emotional hook isn’t there.
Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment


Does anyone else in the cast stand out?

David Harbour is another great addition to the MCU — and delivers a lot of fantastic one liners that will have audiences laughing and begging for more from the Red Guardian!
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

David Harbour is absolutely terrific.
Brandon Davis, ComicBook.com

David Harbour is doing “a thing.”
Mike Ryan, Uproxx

David Harbour has some scene-stealing moments as Red Guardian and Ray Winstone… he’s great.
Josh Wilding, ComicBookMovie.com

Rachel Weisz is wonderful.
Jenna Busch, VitalThrills.com


Black Widow

(Photo by ©Marvel Studios)

How is its villain?

Taskmaster is one of the best villains from Marvel Comics and is too underused in this film — but looks great when in it.
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

I definitely didn’t expect to love Taskmaster as much as I did, but what a beast of a character.
Josh Wilding, ComicBookMovie.com

Somewhat disappointed with Taskmaster.
Fico Cangiano, CineXpress

The only con I’d say is the Taskmaster stuff isn’t that fun.
Trey Mangum, Shadow and Act

The villains never felt like threats, and Taskmaster’s potential was wasted.
John Nguyen, Nerd Reactor


Will it leave us wanting more Black Widow?

It left me wanting to campaign for another Black Widow movie so, some things never change.
Brett White, Decider

It is a great set up for things to come!
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

Can’t wait to see more of Yelena. More sarcasm and action please!.. May her era be fruitful because lord knows we need a proper Black Widow film series.
Ferdosa Abdi, Geeks of Color


And should we stay for an end credits scene?

Don’t miss that end credit scene — it truly delivers and will give CHILLS to Marvel fans.
Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

Stay to the very end. It’s a biggie.
Courtney Howard, Fresh Fiction

KNOCKOUT end credits scene!!
Sean O’Connell, CinemaBlend


Black Widow opens in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access on July 9, 2021.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

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