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The MCU Movie You Need To Watch After Black Widow

The Marvel Cinematic Universe's big return to the cinema is right around the corner and it's just as overdue as the project set to premiere. Director Cate Shortland and lead actress Scarlett Johansson will unveil the very first "Black Widow" solo movie on July 9, 2021, having overcome several delays brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over a decade beyond the titular heroine's MCU debut, the film will flesh out previously unexplored elements of her backstory, introduce old friends such as Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) and the Red Guardian (David Harbour), and provide the debut of the villainous Taskmaster.

For casual Marvel fans, this title should make for fine viewing on its own come early July, but its very existence may generate a burning question: how is a Black Widow story even possible at this point in the timeline? After all, her death in 2019's "Avengers: Endgame" seemed pretty definitive, especially once Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) noted that not even the power of the Infinity Stones couldn't bring her back to life. To put this confusion to bed, "Black Widow" is a prequel set sometime after the events of "Captain America: Civil War" from 2016.

"Civil War" is a perfect primer for "Black Widow," but what if you want to keep the MCU party going back at home after the credits roll? Worry not, as there's already a technical sequel readily available for your viewing pleasure. 

Avengers: Infinity War bookends Black Widow quite nicely

Released in 2018, "Avengers: Infinity War" was a massive cinematic event and a landmark moment in the MCU. Following multiple teases across various films, the evil Thanos (Josh Brolin) was finally ready to impose his population-splitting, Infinity Stone-collecting will on the Marvel universe. However, his crusade led to the alliance of heroes from across the cosmos, all working together to put his scheme to an end. Though much of the resistance kept the fight away from Earth, the green planet had plenty of backup for when the Mad Titan inevitably arrived.

Alongside the likes of Captain America (Steve Rogers), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), Black Widow did all she could to fend off Thanos and his alien horde. This comes after she spent a couple of years on the run following "Civil War" despite her signing to Sokovia Accords. Cap refused to do so, and she helped him avoid arrest for it, thus making her an accomplice to his crime against the United Nations. What she was up to in that span of time and how she avoided capture by the United States government is a major piece of her arc that "Black Widow" seeks to answer.

The MCU continues to grow with no sign of stopping, so binging every installment before you see "Black Widow" isn't the easiest feat to pull off. For the context of the character's story alone, checking out "Civil War" beforehand and "Infinity War" immediately after will work just fine.