Would have been better if the Red Guardian had been better established in the MCU. Otherwise a Marvel-ous action flick with appropriate witticisms sprinkled throughout. Of course this means that the sister & nieces of the Black Widow are now free to populate the MCU as well.
Originally released in 1941, this is an interesting morality play - seemingly isnpired by both mobster & monster movies. Lorre gives the part his usual intensity, including assaulting a tough guy who is nearly a foot taller! As in most Hollywood films Love, Honesty, & Morality eventually win out but not before some serious detours.
Also interesting that this film (2 years after war broke out in Europe) depicts an immigrant as an honest, clever, hardworking, if a bit nervous person willing to do any task with vigor and appreciation for any opportunity. It is only extreme hardship -inadvertently created by American citizens looking only skin deep- that the immigrant becomes untrustworthy or dangerous.
This film needed more development time, perhaps another movie even as a prequel -- filled with Easter Eggs to hint at more. It might have focused on developing the lesser known characters with glimpses of Batman & Wonderous Woman watching & encouraging the others to accept a bit of assistance when available.
The actors seem to do well considering what they were given, but the director & producers should have been willing to let situations develop rather than trying to easy-bake a hero's worthy epic in one film.