WARNING: Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame and for other Avenger-related movies
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is in a bit of a mess after Avengers: Endgame. Tony Stark is dead, Thor has joined the Guardians of the Galaxy, Valkyrie is the queen of Asgard, Steve Rodgers is now old, Sam Wilson is Captain America, and Thanos is finally dead. Don’t forget that Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, sacrificed herself so Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, could obtain the Soul Stone.
When Avengers: Endgame came out, fans were shocked as they walked out of that three-hour movie. The second part of Avengers: Infinity War killed two major heroes and gave another a life he never had. Half of the original six Avengers were out of commission and it seemed like the Avengers the audience knew and loved were gone. However, at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, a Black Widow movie was announced as part of Marvel: Phase Four and fans were ecstatic because this would be Black Widow’s first solo film.
Black Widow (Natalia Romanova/Natasha Romanoff), who is played by Scarlett Johansson, first appeared in Iron Man 2, which was released in 2010. In that movie, she becomes Tony Stark’s assistant, but at the end of the movie, she is revealed to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division) agent that was sent to protect Stark. Later, Romanoff explains that she was also sent to see if Stark would be right for the Avengers Initiative. She decides that the Iron Man suit would be good but not Stark as a person.
The next time Romanoff appears on screen is in The Avengers, which was released in 2012. Romanoff is first shown tied to a chair and being interrogated by three men in military uniforms. Then, one of the men gets a call for her and it’s from Agent Phil Coulson. He tells her that her partner and her friend, Barton, has been compromised by Loki, an Asgardian who comes to Earth by the Tesseract. Throughout the movie, the Avengers–Black Widow, Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor–track down Thor’s rogue brother, Loki, as he tries to take over the world. The climax of the movie comes as Barton breaks free of Loki’s mind-control and the six come together for the first time to take down Loki and his army of Chitauri. They succeed and Thor takes Loki and the Tesseract back to Asgard.
Two years later, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is released and this time, Black Widow is playing a major role as she and Captain America, Steve Rodgers, track down the Winter Soldier who tried to kill Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Rodgers is hunted down because he is believed to be the killer of Fury, who isn’t really dead. On the run, Rodgers runs into Romanoff and they find a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. base where Arnim Zola, a mad scientist part of H.Y.D.R.A., which was a terrorist group part of the Nazis, reveals that H.Y.D.R.A. has been growing inside of S.H.I.E.L.D. Together with Sam Wilson, aka Falcon, Romanoff and Rodgers take down Project Insight, which would have killed everyone who H.Y.D.R.A. thought of as a threat. Along with that, Rodgers meets his childhood friend, Bucky Barnes, who became the Winter Soldier. The movie ends with Project Insight being destroyed and Barnes getting away after saving Rodgers.
In 2015, Romanoff appears again in Avengers: Age of Ultron where Stark and Dr. Bruce Banner (the Hulk) accidentally created an AI (Artificial Intelligence) called Ultron. Ultron has plans to take over the world and it’s up to the Avengers to stop him. Ultron recruits two H.Y.D.R.A. volunteers, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, who have the powers of telekinesis and super speed respectively and have a grudge against Stark. Wanda makes the Avengers see their worst nightmares and a bit of Romanoff’s past is revealed as the audience sees the Red Room, the place where she was trained since birth to be an assassin/spy. Then, Stark and Banner create Vision, who has an infinity stone in his head. The infinity stones are six stones that were created when the universe was created and hold immeasurable power. The movie starts to wind down as the Maximoff twins change sides and the Avengers team up against Ultron, who is ultimately destroyed.
A year later, Captain America: Civil War came out and this movie features Stark and Rodgers against each other, each with different views of the Accords. The Accords are about superheroes and they force superheroes under the government’s control. Rodgers is against the Accords while Stark is for them. Romanoff initially starts on Stark’s side, but when Rodgers, along with Barnes, tries to escape, Romanoff electrocutes Stark to give the duo time to escape. Rogers, Barnes, Romanoff, and everyone else on that side become fugitives after Rodgers and Barnes almost kill Stark in a bunker in Siberia. The movie ends with Roger’s side hiding out in Wakanda.
Released two years ago, Avengers: Infinity War challenges the Avengers with their biggest threat yet. The mad Titan, Thanos, is attempting to collect the Infinity Stones so he could destroy the universe in a snap. Thanos’s plan is to kill half of the universe for “perfect balance”. Romanoff, coming out of hiding with Rodgers, helps fight in Wakanda as Thanos tries to get the final Infinity Stone, the Mind Stone, which is in Vision’s head. He succeeds and snaps his fingers, killing half of the universe. Beloved characters like Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Doctor Strange turn to dust along with many others.
The second part of Avengers: Infinity War came out in 2019 and only the original six Avengers seemed to be left. Avengers: Endgame shows what happens right after the snap and the Avengers go and find Thanos to try and reverse the effects the stones had, but the Titan reveals that he used the stones to destroy the stones. Thor, in a fit of rage, kills him. Then, the movie cuts to five years later and Scott Lang (Ant-Man) shows up from the quantum realm where the five years were only five hours. The Avengers reunite as they perform a time-heist to save the universe. Barton and Romanoff go to a planet called Vormir where they meet Red Skull, a villain from Captain America: The First Avenger. Red Skull tells the two what he told Thanos. They must sacrifice someone they love for the stone. The two fight over who sacrifices themselves but Romanoff wins and she throws herself off the cliff, killing herself and giving Barton the soul stone. The rest of the movie progresses when everyone who was snapped comes back to life. Thanos from the past comes to fight the Avengers and Stark snaps the gauntlet, killing Thanos, his army, but also himself. The movie ends with a funeral and goodbye.
Natasha Romanoff had a good run with the Avengers but still, the audience does not know her backstory or her family. That is what Black Widow will show.
Black Widow takes place right after Captain America: Civil War and Romanoff finds herself alone. In the trailer, Romanoff returns to her home country. She goes into an apartment where she is attacked by a woman named Yelena Belova (played by Florence Pugh), another assassin trained in the Red Room and like a sister to Romanoff. When asked what brings her home, Romanoff answers, “We have unfinished business.”
Then, in the trailer, Romanoff says they must go back to where it all started and when they do go, they meet Alexei Shostakov (played by David Harbour), the Russian super-soldier counterpart to Captain America. Shostakov has a history with Romanoff and is like a father to her.
In this movie, Romanoff must finally face her past and the people she left behind. She is far from her new home and she can’t call the Avengers. Throughout the movie, Romanoff must make active choices and face the time before she was an Avenger.
The rest of the cast includes O.T. Fagbenle who plays a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent romantically interested in Romanoff and William Hurt is revising his role as Thaddeus Ross, who was introduced in The Incredible Hulk. Ray Winstone is also in it but his role is not yet known and Rachel Weisz is playing Melina Vostokoff, another spy trained in the Red Room and who was involved in a scientific experiment. Along with them, Oliver Richters plays an undisclosed character and Robert Downey Jr. will be reprising his role as Tony Stark. The character Taskmaster will also be in this film and will most likely play the major villain of this movie.
Black Widow will be out on April 24th, 2020 as part of Marvel: Phase Four.
Along with Black Widow, Marvel: Phase Four will include the movies The Eternals (2020), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021), Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (2021), an untitled Spider-Man: Far From Home sequel (2021), and Thor: Love and Thunder (2021)
Shows in phase four include The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (August 2020), WandaVision (December 2020), Loki (2021), What if…? (2021), Hawkeye (2021), Ms. Marvel (Unknown), Moon Knight (Unknown), and She-Hulk (Unknown).