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Black Widow early reactions: Thrilling film on par with 'Bond at his best'

Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to launch with raves for Florence Pugh, comparisons to famed spy franchises.

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Black Widow is earning early raves.

Jay Maidment/Marvel Studios

Marvel's long-awaited Black Widow feature film comes out July 9, both in movie theaters and through Disney Plus with Premier Access. On Thursday, those who've already seen it shared their early opinions on the first film of Phase 4 in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film stars Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, and Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, another woman trained as a Black Widow. David Harbour of Stranger Things fame plays Red Guardian, the heroes' father figure.

CNET staffer Sean Keane was one of many raving about the new film.

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"As has been the case with much of Marvel Studios' recent output, I didn't want Black Widow to end," he wrote. "It thrilled me like Mission Impossible, Bourne and Bond at his best, and I can't wait to talk to everyone about it after its July 9 release.

Like 'Bond at his best'

Iconic Florence Pugh

Fandango's Erik Davis also mentioned the James Bond and Mission: Impossible franchises, and was one of many critics to highlight Florence Pugh's performance.

"Marvel movies are back!" Davis tweeted. "Black Widow is a tense, action-packed spy thriller that truly completes Natasha's story in a visceral and emotional way. Florence Pugh crushes it and is an instant MCU icon. This is like the MCU's Bond movie w/ shades of Mission: Impossible and Thelma & Louise."

Wrote Nora Dominick of BuzzFeed, "Black Widow might be one of my favorite solo origin movies in the MCU." 

Troll tweets

But read early reactions with care. Some -- including the one below we included earlier from Ben Mekler mentioning a "Russian JCPenney" -- are intentional jokes. But who wouldn't want to see Black Widow do battle with a Big-Mouth Billy Bass?

Look for CNET's full Black Widow review on June 29.