Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) has been a key part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since nearly the beginning. She finally gets her long overdue solo film, Black Widow, this week, as it releases Friday after years of delays. The film showcases a story that takes place between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. Though her solo outing will mark the first Marvel release in nearly two years, it’s hardly the first time the character has appeared on screen.
Black Widow has been a supporting player in many other stories throughout the years. For this week’s binge, I decided to look back on the Marvel films where Black Widow has appeared over the years. Do you have a favorite? Drop it in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @knighthawk7734.
Iron Man 2 (2010)
About: This was the third film released in the larger MCU. At the time, the universe consisted of just Robert Downey, Jr.’s Iron Man, the Ed Norton Hulk and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. Natasha Romanoff first appears as Natalie Rushman, Tony Stark’s secretary. It’s only during the climatic action that it’s revealed she’s a S.H.I.E.L.D Agent placed under cover. It’s notable for her first appearance, but it’s not a great film.
Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
About: Black Widow is back, joining the super team that includes Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Iron Man and her good friend, Hawkeye. This was a landmark film, the culmination of four years of work to bring it all together. I still enjoy the film though its place in the MCU has slipped with the quality films released in recent years.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
About: Here, Natasha is a close colleague and support for Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) at S.H.I.E.L.D. She plays a pretty vital role in the action here, and this one is a decent spy thriller. This is the best of the Captain America films and pretty under-rated.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
About: The second Avengers film wasn’t as bad as some made it out to be. Is it the worst of the four Avenger films? Sure. Does it introduce a romance between Black Widow and The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) seemingly out of no where that has sort of a bummer ending? Sure. But Johansson is good in the film, and there are some fun moments, too.
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
About: This is the secret Avengers film, but really the third Captain America film. This one sees the heroes still reeling from the events of Age of Ultron, and the world looking to put limits on their power. That sets Captain America and Iron Man at odds, forcing the other heroes to choose sides. Plagued by her own guilt, Black Widow joins Team Iron Man. But, in the end, she lets Captain America go, forcing her to go on the run. It’s actually her final line of dialogue with Tony Stark opens the door to the action in her upcoming film. This one isn’t my favorite. It’s three quarters of a great film, but the third act still frosts me.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
About: The third Avengers film finds the world plunged into a dark and chaotic war with Thanos (Josh Brolin). Black Widow is out there working with Captain America when they get pulled back in. This one was remarkable in a lot of ways, but most especially for the way it brought all the pieces of this massive universe together. This is a great film despite its bummer of an ending.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
About: Justice for Black Widow. Look, I love Tony Stark and I am not ashamed to say I cried hard when he died. But he wasn’t the only Avenger lost in the battle. At the mid-point, to save a world that she spent years trying to hold together after the blip, Black Widow sacrifices herself. I felt like her death and sacrifice got a bit lost in the shuffle, which is a bummer. Especially with her solo film now being released two years after her character perished. Still, this in an incredible film, in my personal Top 5 for the MCU.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.