In the chronology of The Avengers movies, Black Widow fits in between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. As it is, Black Widow is a solid Marvel movie, complete with wild action, witty dialog, and a kick-ass feminist bent.
This is an exciting chase picture with well-placed flashbacks that reveal the origin of Russian spy Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, again played with verve by Scarlett Johansson. The main plot deals with villain Dreykov (Ray Winstone), who creates assassins through mind control. So to stop him, Natasha teams with the woman whom she thought was her younger sister when they were children, assassin Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh). The Russian spy couple who Natasha and Yelena had known as their parents (David Harbour and Rachel Weisz) also re-enter the fold.
What truly makes the film work, besides the crackerjack direction by Cate Shortland (Lore, Somersault), is the on-screen chemistry between Johansson and Pugh. Their sister-like bickering during car chases or prison breaks are priceless.
Pugh is a blast, delivering many of the film's biggest laughs, like when her character critiques Natasha's "superhero pose."
The second half of Black Widow is a little heavy on plot and backstory, but the film eventually revved up again for an action-packed finale.
Black Widow is in theaters now as well as streaming on Disney+.
*** stars (out of four)