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The MCU Movie You Need To Watch Before Black Widow

As a prequel film, "Black Widow" is an unusual entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's a long-overdue solo film for the Avengers' resident super-spy badass, Natasha Romanoff, played by Scarlet Johansson.

There are a lot of questions fans want "Black Widow" to answer, despite already knowing where Natasha's story ends: We saw her fighting alongside her fellow Avengers in "Infinity War" and holding the team together in "Avengers: Endgame," eventually sacrificing herself for the sake of saving everyone Thanos (Josh Brolin) had killed. But "Black Widow" takes place before Thanos ever stepped foot on Earth.

In the upcoming flick, Natasha will return to her roots by going back to Russia, where she was trained to be a highly effective assassin in the "Red Room." We'll meet her family: the fellow Red Room graduates, Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) and Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz), and the Soviet supersoldier called the Red Guardian, Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour). Ultimately, she'll have to reckon with her past and come to terms with it.

However, since all the MCU movies are intertwined in one long story and "Black Widow" doesn't come at the very beginning of Natasha's arc, there's at least one movie everyone should watch before heading to theaters.

Watch (or rewatch) Civil War to understand where Nat's head is during Black Widow

"Black Widow" takes place between "Captain America: Civil War" and "Avengers: Infinity War," so to get a full experience of what Natasha is dealing with during this movie, audiences should definitely watch "Captain America: Civil War" first.

"Civil War" sets the Avengers against each other. They're still reeling from the events of "Avengers: Age of Ultron," in which Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Bruce Banner's (Mark Ruffalo) science experiment accidentally turns into an all-knowing artificially intelligent supervillain who completely destroys a city in the fictional country of Sokovia. This forces them to think more closely about their responsibility for the casualties in their fights and question if the Avengers should be able to operate as they please, or under the oversight of an outside governing body.

The Avengers themselves are split over this: Tony Stark and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) are on opposite sides, with their teammates divided between them. Their little disagreement turns violent, however, when Steve's childhood friend, Bucky, aka the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), gets involved. In the film, Natasha picks a side that heavily influences her circumstances at the beginning of "Black Widow."

"Captain America: Civil War" is available for streaming on Disney+, while "Black Widow" will be released in theaters on July 9.