Could we be any more excited? After nearly killing the fans because of the wait (puns, I tell you), Black Widow hit the screens with a bang, or should I say, a tasking story. Marvel Cinematic Universe is heading to its phase 4, and Black Widow is the first film to be released in this slate. So what’s the point of telling stories of the (spoiler alert) dead? How does it tie into the other Marvel films? Here is a brief explanation of what happens and why.
To start in the middle
The story picks up after the events of Captain America-Civil War. Natasha is on the run, deemed a federal enemy and chased by Thunderbolt Ross. She decides to lay low and alone with the help of a friend who possibly has Genie and Doremon-like qualities of providing her exactly what she needs. The story then follows her journey into reuniting with her make-believe family, long lost sister, the mistakes she made in Budapest and a villain she thought died.
The climax starts with a bang.
Nat and Yelena decide to pull down the Red Room when they are reconciled. The problem is that no one knows where it is, so Nat and Melina devise a strategy that gradually emerges. It’s worth noting that neither Yelena nor Alexei are aware of the plan, or even that one exists, until later.
The scheme is devious. Melina looks to be betraying the rest of the family by informing Dreykov that they are visiting her. While his thugs are on their way, Natasha and Melina use the usual MCU super technological devices to change their outfits and faces. The thugs come, immobilize everybody, save Melina, and whisk them away to the Red Room, which turns out to be in the clouds, literally well above radar.
Natasha and Melina hatch an underwhelming plan to beat Dreykov with a Mission Impossible trick. From hereon, everyone has a duty. Alexei’s major task is to block the relentless Taskmaster from interfering with the women responsible for the sections. Natasha will discover Dreykov’s plans. Melina will drop the Red Room and transfer its inmates to Ross’ captivity. Yelena is in charge of discovering the vials of the red chemical and deprogramming the latest group of Widows, and releasing them.
Then comes breaking noses and bones
It’s all part of the plan. Dreykov immediately recognizes Natasha as Melina and decides to deal with her sans the Taskmaster’s help. Upon seeing an opportunity, Natasha tries to kill Dreykov. Still, she cannot because of a ‘pheromone lock’ that prevents any Widow from harming Dreykov as long as they can smell him. So, Natasha casually insults Dreykov to get a few punches here and there, which seems like stupid at the start. However, the idea is to break her nose, stop smelling him and kill him (neat. right?). But, since Dreykov doesn’t do the job, Natasha decides to ‘sever the nerve’ herself and bangs her head on the table.
It’s a moment that demonstrates how formidable Natasha is, capable of overriding her instincts to carry out the plan. She may now assault Dreykov, but until she can truly hurt him, he summons the Widows and orders them to murder and torture her. Nat is capable, but she can’t take on a group full of Widows who have similar capabilities, training and, oh, chemical alteration. Lucky for her, Yelena comes to the rescue and disables the chemical alteration with the antidote.
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Underwhelming Taskmaster reveal
Although it successfully shows how ruthless Dreykov is, the Taskmaster’s reveal is felt rather flat for two reasons. Firstly, it wasn’t the right moment to reveal who it is, especially seeing Natasha and Dreykov talking for the first time in the movie. It took away from the weight of their interaction to a tangent of something new and not necessary. Secondly, Antonia being the Taskmaster really undermines Natasha’s guilt of killing an innocent child for her crusade of Dreykov. However, it does not make it any better than Antonia is a programme used to kill. It still makes me question the red in her ledger being fake.
Later, when the Red Room is on the verge of collapsing, and Melina has imprisoned Antonia, Nat puts her entire life on the line to save Antonia. She won’t allow Antonia to die again on her watch, so she sets her free, knowing Antonia would hunt her out and kill her. And that is why, after strapping the parachute to Yelena and sparing her life in the crash, Nat lets Yelena go off to avoid Yelena being involved in Antonia’s struggle. Nat’s struggle is exclusive; it’s her righting of wrongs, and it’s a crucial part of her path.
Both battle until Nat can rescue Antonia from her father’s clutches by releasing one of the vials. “Has he left?” Antonia questions. Among the most moving and terrible scenes in the film, revealing only a sliver of the suffering, she has suffered her whole adult life.
With Dreykov dying, finally, and Antonia and Yelena being saved by other freed Widows, all of them embark on a new journey except Black Widow, who stays to face Thunderbolt Ross. How does she still escape and unite with Captain America? Guess we’ll never know.
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Black Widow Ending: Post Credit scene explained
The post-credit scene for Black Widow is in the timeline after Avengers: Endgame, aka Black Widow’s death. Yelena is seen paying respects to Natasha’s grave, a moment cut short by the entry of Val. It’s a betrayal to have a scene taken from Black Widow fans as a character overshadowed by a comedic nose-blow. The duo has a back, and forth that reveals Yelena is actually working with madam Hydra all this while. Val gives Yelena a chance at revenge for her sister’s death; avenge her, if you will. The target is Clint Barton, and the curtains drop.
What I am curious to understand is how Val knows the events of Endgame and why she is manipulating Yelena. We already know Val is putting a team together that includes the US Agent and now Yelena. Marvel will explore the possibility of Thunderbolts or New Avengers soon in their universe.
Final Thoughts on Black Widow
Finally, Natasha learns that the avengers are her actual family after uncovering her pre-Avengers clan. Their common experience brings together her and Yelena. Natasha understands that the Avengers’ mutual interests define them as a genuine family, which is why their false sibling relationship seems so real. Personally, I feel this movie would have worked better in the phase 3 timeline immediately after Civil War. There is no need and sense to wait this long to give Black Widow her own film that isn’t really timeline specific. I will always hold against the makers of MCU not giving Black Widow the farewell she deserves. This movie isn’t it, and we all know it.
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