The Marvel Cinematic Universe had a banner year in 2019. Captain Marvel was the fourth biggest box office of 2019 and proved 2017's Wonder Woman was no fluke. Avengers: Endgame smashed records, and is currently the highest all-time grossing movie ever. Spiderman: Far From Home followed as Sony's biggest box office to date. But the MCU isn't done yet, not by a long shot. The year 2020 will start with a bit of a backtrack as Black Widow's standalone feature finally hits theaters. And Black Widow’s first trailer suggests, the wait will have been worth it.
Fans have been clamoring for a Black Widow standalone film since 2013 when Phase II got underway in the wake of The Avengers' box office success. The lack of a female-led franchise was notable, especially with Warner Brothers Pictures and DC Films trumpeting the upcoming Wonder Woman.
Whatever the reason, Captain Marvel was designated the first female-led franchise instead, and it was held back until those in charge saw the success of Wonder Woman for themselves.
It may have delayed things by five years, but Black Widow will now, at long last, get her due. And even better, she's bringing other Black Widows to the party.
As noted above, this film is a bit of a backtrack. As fans know, Natasha Romanoff, Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, died in Avengers: Endgame. That necessitates setting this film in the past. The events occur at the beginning of Phase III, just after Captain America: Civil War has split Earth's Mightiest Heroes into two camps.
In Civil War, Natasha picked Team Iron Man, despite her long-running friendship with Steve Rogers and her heart being with Team Cap. Logically, it was the right decision for her. For example, unlike the rest of Steve's friends, she didn't end up imprisoned or under house arrest. But it did leave her at loose ends by the film's conclusion.
Moreover, the next time she arrived on screen, in Avengers: Infinity War, she was by Steve's side. And the film makes it obvious she's been running with the fugitive Avengers for quite some time. What happened in the interim that caused this change of heart? Black Widow should provide some answers.
Marvel Studios' Black Widow is in theaters on May 1, 2020.