Black Widow Reviews: How Are Critics Reacting To the Scarlett Johansson Film?

By Aeron Mer Eclarinal Updated:
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, Black Widow logo

Natasha Romanoff might have already died during Avengers: Endgame, but her story is not over yet due to the arrival of her own solo film in Black Widow

Directed by Cate Shortland, the upcoming prequel is set to showcase Scarlett Johansson's return as the titular spy, and she will be joined by her Russian family from the Red Room. These roles will be played by Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, and David Harbour.

Plot details are still being kept under wraps, but Black Widow has been confirmed to be set in between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. As a result, the reunion will happen due to the fact that Romanoff is on the run from the Sokovia Accords

After multiple pandemic-induced delays, the film finally landed a July 2021 release window with premieres on Disney+ via Premier Access and in theaters. In recent weeks, marketing has ramped up for Black Widow, with a slew of trailers, interviews, and promotional posters being released online

Now, as the film's debut inches closer, initial reactions from critics have arrived. 


Ahead of the film's July 9 release, the press shared its first reactions to Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow on social media. 

Fandango's Erik Davis revealed that Black Widow "truly completes" Natasha Romanoff's story in a "visceral & emotional way" while also praising Florence Pugh's performance in the film: 

Collider's Steven Weintraub shared that Pugh and David Harbour "hit home-runs" with their performances in the MCU prequel: 

The Wrap's Umberto Gonzales pointed out that Black Widow is a movie that is worth seeing on "the biggest screen possible" while also describing the film as "very entertaining and action-packed:"

Jenna Busch remarked that Scarlett Johansson "deserved this film long ago:"

Indiewire's Kate Erbland revealed that the first half of Black Widow is "intimate and talky and kind of funny in a new way for the MCU:"

ComicBook's Brandon Davis praised Black Widow by saying that it is “one of Marvel's best solo films.” Davis took note of Johansson's performance, admitting that she "finally gets to pour everything into the role:"

Murphy's Multiverse's Charles Murphy shared that Marvel Studios “went for big Winter Soldier action beats” in Black Widow

ScreenRant's Alisha Grauso said that there were "shades of John Wick fight scenes and intense action sequences" in Black Widow while also pointing out that the film "shows exactly why Natasha Romanoff was the glue that held the Avengers together:" 

Collider's Perri Nemiroff revealed that Black Widow is "the kind of prequel story that feels bound to enhance other installments of the MCU."'s Jim Vascardi praised the cast of Black Widow, sharing that it is "one of the best casts in a Marvel film:"

ComicBookMovie's Josh Wilding described Black Widow as "Bourne meets Bond meets Terminator:"

CinemaBlend's Sean O'Connell praised Black Widow director Cate Shortland by saying that her style "approaches Russo levels of physicality and intensity:"

Variety's Courtney Howard said that Johansson and Pugh "nail the banter and ballet-like stunts" in the film while also pointing out that the big action set pieces are "thrilling, propulsive & capably constructed:"

Buzzfeed's Nora Dominick also praised Pugh's performance as Yelena Belova, sharing that the actress is "born for the MCU:"



Based on what's been revealed so far, it looks like Marvel Studios has another hit on their hands.

Most of the reactions generally praised the film's cast, and it seems that the quartet of Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, and Rachel Weisz delivered memorable performances that should be the main topic of discussion among fans when the film premieres next month. 

Early reactions are generally positive, and this should boost the hype for Black Widow. Given that the film has been compared to notable films like John Wick, Mission Impossible, and the MCU's very own Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it seems that the prequel delivered in the action side of things. 

It remains to be seen if this will be Johansson's last hurrah as Natasha Romanoff, but the reactions suggest that the film showcases a fitting ending to the character. Even though fans already know Romanoff's ending in Avengers: Endgame, it looks like Black Widow creates an opportunity to add more layer to this heroine, thus further cementing her sacrifice for her other family, the Avengers. 

The reactions revealed that the future is bright for Pugh's Yelena Belova, and this is good news for the franchise's Phase 4 and beyond. It was rumored that Yelena will appear in other MCU projects like Hawkeye, and there's a strong chance that she will carry her strong performance to those titles as well. 

Black Widow is a prequel, but it seems that Cate Shortland and her crew managed to deliver exciting surprises for the MCU's future while also giving Romanoff a proper send-off after the Infinity Saga. 

Black Widow premieres on Disney+ via Premier Access and in theaters on July 9, 2021. 

- In This Article: Black Widow
Release Date
July 09, 2021
- About The Author: Aeron Mer Eclarinal
Aeron is a news/features writer and Content Lead for The Direct who has been working for the site since March 2020. From writing about the inter-connectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to having an extended knowledge about DC TV's Arrowverse, Aeron's expertise has since expanded into the realm of reality TV, K-drama, animated, and live-action shows from Netflix,  Disney+, Prime Video, MGM+, Peacock, Paramount+, and Max. When he isn't writing and watching all things MCU, Aeron is heavily invested with the NBA (go Celtics!) and occasionally watches thrilling matches in the WWE.