Fans have been looking forward to a Black Widow solo movie for years with projects going back as far as the mid-90s. The demand has only doubled down on itself with the appearance of Natasha Romanov in Iron Man 2 (2010). And with her death in Avengers: Endgame (2019) resonating with many fans, the prequel film was nothing if not inevitable.
They’ve been teasing this project for quite some time now and, in SDCC 2019, they showed some exclusive footage and announced the film’s cast. But just a few hours ago, Marvel finally dropped the trailer for the upcoming superhero film. Here’s the breakdown.
POSSIBLE SPOILER WARNING! FOR A MOVIE THAT HASN’T COME OUT YET.
1. The Setting
“But isn’t Black Widow dead? She died in Endgame!” I hear you saying. Well, yes. She did. I said that already. But it’s been previously confirmed that this film will be set prior to the events of that movie and prior even to the events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018).
The film will, in fact, be set after the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016) where, as you may remember, the Avengers were split in two and the titular man-out-of-time and his crew were hiding on account of going against the Sokovia Accords and being labelled criminals – a crew that later included Natasha.
Based on the trailer, it seems that she didn’t just hangout with Cap, Bucky, Falcon, Wanda, and Vision that whole time. Instead, she took some alone time to get the red off her ledger. But more on that later.
The very first shot we see in the trailer is that of the Liberty Statue (not that one) on the Gellért Hill in Budapest. As many a Marvel fan would know, the Hungarian capital is a big deal in Natasha’s origin and fans have speculated over it since the throw away line in Avengers (2012) between her and Hawkeye.
Since then, it’s been mentioned multiple times by both characters – most recently in Avengers: Endgame in reference to how far they come since, now traveling through space and between alternate timelines and all.
It seems like we’re finally getting a story behind that throw away line in this film.
Following the reference to Budapest, we get inter-cut footage of Natasha in present day, relative to the film, and shots of her from previous movies. We revisit her as she was in the first Avengers, Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014), and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015). We even see shots of her in Red Room, the Russian project that trained young girls to become Black Widows, from her the vision that Scarlet Witch caused in the Avengers sequel.
4. Yelena Belova
In the middle the trailer, Natasha goes to what is presumably Budapest to reconnect with her “sister”, Yelena Belova, another product of the Red Room and another Black Widow. Here, she’s played by Florence Pugh.
In the comics, Yelena was created as a replacement for Natasha. She was sent to kill her and take her mantle. But, such is comics, they instead become friends but she still took the name of Black Widow anyway.
Here, it seems that Natasha needs Yelena to help her take down the organization that created them. In the background of the scene, we also find hints that Yelena herself has been on the run for quite some time or has been looking for someone or both judging from the large map and collection of photos she has plastered on the wall of her apartment. Also in the background is a poster for a famous German opera and a Rock Band drum kit. What do those have to do with the plot of this film? Probably nothing.
It’s also worth mentioning that both Black Widows pull of some impressive moves when they first encounter each other. The whole gun switching thing is there to tell you that their skill sets mirror each other, having been trained by the same organization. It might also be there to reflect the film’s villain, Taskmaster, who’s whole thing is that he can perfect copy his opponents’ moves.
And, for fans of the John Wick franchise, you’ll be glad to know that the fight coordinator who worked on John Wick is also working on this film. So expect a lot of John Wick-style gun-fu going into this.
5. The Red Room
As previously mentioned, there are multiple Black Widows. The Natasha Black Widow is merely one of many products of the Red Room organization. Another is Yelena Belova and later in the trailer we also meet Melina Vostokoff. Think of them as Russian Winter Soldiers minus the super soldier serum.
The Red Room is the “red” in Natasha’s ledger that she’s been talking about. Presumably, a good portion of the film will be Natasha tracking down and assembling former Black Widows to help her take down the organization that trained them.
Her cleaning off her past in this film also explains why she was so ready to die in Endgame – free from regrets and the sins of her past. Her death would’ve been made all the more poignant if this had came first, now that I think about it.
6. Red Guardian
So, when Hopper “died” in Stranger Things, he was given the super soldier serum and became The Red Guardian. Haha. No.
But seriously, we get a good look of David Harbour’s Alexei Shostakov in this trailer. Think of him as the Russian Captain America.
Traditionally, The Read Guardian isn’t super-powered and even has his own shield. But it seems that this version of the hero is getting a power boost judging from the way he easily bursts through that metal door in the trailer. He’s a little on the heavier side after years in prison but once a super soldier, always a super soldier. Also, no shield. Sad.
7. Melina Vostokoff
Like I said, the other Black Widow we get to meet is Melina Vostokoff, who is portrayed by actress Rachel Weisz. In the comics, she’s taken the name Iron Maiden (not the band) but is still an agent of the Russian government, albeit one that went rogue. That version of the character is much younger than Natasha and harbors a hatred for her after having to grow up in her shadow. The MCU version looks to be a slightly older Black Widow than Natasha. Maybe from an earlier batch of the Red Room’s products.
The villain of the film is Taskmaster, a fan favorite from the comics. Much like the Mandalorian and Jedge Dredd, he’s not too keen to taking off his helmet and his identity going to be a big part of the film. An actor for Taskmaster has yet to be revealed, which have led many to speculate that it’ll either be Olivier Richters, who has been announced to have an involvement in the film but that role has been kept in the dark so far, or Melina Vostokoff.
I’m thinking that it’s more likely to be Melina because of the possibility that they’re banking on the gender swap garnering a more favorable surprise for audiences. It’s not too hard to imagine one of the Red Room alums going that far off the edge and betraying the rest of the group – something akin to that of Madison Lee, Demi Moore’s character in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003).
Like I said, Taskmaster is a master combatant – having mastered every form of martial art and a variety of weapons. He also has what’s called “Photographic Reflexes” allowing him the ability to instantly absorb knowledge and perfectly duplicate anyone’s physical abilities. In the comics, he’s done this to both Captain America and Black Panther – holding up against both of them easily.
9. Returning Characters
Other than Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanov, other familiar faces will be returning for this film. Early in the trailer, we catch a glimpse of a significantly de-aged Thunderbolt Ross, who one might remember from The Incredible Hulk (2008) and Captain America: Civil War. He might make an appearance in scene from Natasha’s past prior to her joining for S.H.I.E.L.D.
Another character set to make a reprise is Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark who, like Natasha, hasn’t died yet. Wouldn’t that be fun?
Despite all that, the one character who’s not confirmed to be in the film is Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, which is strange since he’s Natasha’s closest friend and they do share a long and complicated history together. A surprise appearance, perhaps?
A major theme of the film seems to be concept of “family”. The trailer opens with dialogue from Natasha talking about her family. She presumably means the Avengers but Alexei also mentions it again through the end of the trailer when he says “Family… back together again.” during the scene when they all sit down to have a nice family dinner.
That being the fact that prior to the Avengers, the Black Widows were the only family that Natasha had. All the Red Room’s alums are orphans after all.
What’re you most excited to see in the Black Widow solo film? Who do you think task master is? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Also, share this post on social media if you enjoyed it. Even if you didn’t, I’d very much appreciate it.
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