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Marvel fans, the moment you’ve been waiting for draws nearer. We’re only a handful of days away from the release of Scarlett Johansson's big Black Widow mid-quel, meaning the MCU will be back on the big screen for the first time in over a year. Nature must be healing, as the first critical reactions have officially been revealed, and so far the Marvel Cinematic Universe sounds like it's back to business as usual.

CinemaBlend’s own Sean O’Connell saw the film, giving director Cate Shortland’s Marvel debut four stars out of five. In his review of Black Widow, O’Connell highlights something we touched upon in the opening: how the film measures up against its prolonged delay and extended marketing campaign. Thankfully, it sounds like that time was well spent, as Black Widow has this working for it:

The best review I can give you for Black Widow is that this standalone movie was worth the unusually long wait.

Meanwhile, Vanity Fair's Richard Lawson found himself on the positive spectrum of Black Widow reactions. Touching on the frequently discussed subject of connecting the narrative threads throughout Marvel Studios' various arcs, Lawson praised the movie in how it handled its rather interesting position in the MCU storyline. If you thought the wait for Black Widow was good for fighting superhero fatigue, you might like Black Widow for the following reason:

But at a time when even the better, more inventive Marvel properties—chiefly the Disney+ series WandaVision—have ultimately played as mere bridge content to something else, Black Widow’s relative isolation comes as a welcome change of pace.

That spirit of interconnectivity is something that MCU fans, for better or worse, have had to contend with during the entirety of this cinematic universe. As Black Widow's one-off nature does bring a breath of fresh air, it also has some drawbacks. Those cons, and some of their pros, made their way into the review from Collider's Matt Goldberg, as he called the film out for the following:

While the family dynamic is fun and the mission is standard Marvel fare, Black Widow ultimately feels like it’s telling the wrong story, but it has no choice given where it falls in the MCU timeline.

Another reaction that happens to comment on the feeling of Black Widow coming up a bit short for Scarlett Johansson’s Avenger comes from ScreenRant’s Mae Abdulbaki. With more positive notes on the film’s action logged in her reaction, Ms. Abdulbaki had a huge issue with the overall story. Those feelings are summed up rather nicely as follows:

Black Widow is filled with fantastic action-packed sequences, fun comedic beats, and themes of family, even while it shortchanges Natasha herself.

Black Widow is starting to sound more and more like a proper Marvel movie through the various critical reactions. Our final highlighted reaction comes from Courtney Howard of FreshFiction.tv, and it helps hammer home the overall consensus that seems to be forming. Howard’s thoughts of the film boil down to this:

Thrilling, clever twists and turns combined with capably constructed and propulsive set pieces make this a film with stamina and staying power, far beyond the end credits coda.

As you can see, Black Widow's action offers a lot of thrills for fans of Marvel's cinematic universe, but may leave them asking for more in terms of the overall story. Plus, with Florence Pugh, David Harbour, and Rachel Weisz being introduced into the MCU family, it sounds like the results have added some more humor, and a welcomed family dynamic, back into the world of comic movies. And you won't have to wait long to throw in your own two cents about Black Widow either.

Black Widow kicks down the doors at a theater near you, or on Disney+ Premier Access at a couch near you, on July 9th, which feels so close and yet so far. Let the 2021 release schedule help pass the time, as it’ll allow you to plan your Marvel and non-Marvel trips to the movies with great ease. Though should you want to stick to the MCU’s roadmap ahead, you can take a look at the upcoming Marvel movies of Phase 4 on the release slate as well. If you're not a Disney+ subscriber already, check out the current subscription package that allows you to sign up for that platform, as well as ESPN+ and Hulu, for one monthly fee!

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