We watched Black Widow a little while ago, and it was fine! Solid action, and the new characters were great. Especially Yelena. There’s just one problem with the movie – there’s no reason for it to exist in the MCU, except for setting up other shit.
The character of Black Widow is currently dead (and with the issues going on with Scarlet Johannsson and Disney, she’s probably staying dead), so the movie is set in the past. There’s so much that has happened since Civil War that revisiting this time period feels weird and unnecessary. The ONLY reason we’re still getting this movie is to set up Yelena as a new Widow. It serves no purpose in the MCU. It advances no greater plot, introduces no new tech or mystical force that will come up again, we only meet one new character that’s going to matter. Sorry, Red Guardian.
Everyone I talked to about it said that the excitement ship for a Black Widow movie had sailed long, long ago. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is clearly in a weird spot, where they’ll green-light an entire movie that basically just serves as an introduction of a character who is not the star of the movie. Like the original MCU movies did that, but it was brand new. Doing it now, in a movie ostensibly about someone else is just a strange flex. The early movies felt important, this one feels superfluous.
Look, it was enjoyable, but the Marvel universe has been blasted wide open, with basically every major team and source of power available for movies. There’s no kudos available for finally making a movie about an OG Avenger, especially when the movie really wasn’t setting anything up for her. Natasha didn’t even get to be the first female lead in an MCU movie! Her ship sailed long before now. Marvel should’ve realized it. They got where they are by moving forward, and this was looking into the past.