Natasha Romanov in the MCU
Following on from the events of Captain America: Civil War, Natasha is on the run from the American authorities for breaching the Sokovia Accords. The decision she took to help Captain America escape, right at the last minute, was a heavy one. It’s not until this point that we see the inner struggle that Natasha has been dealing with throughout the film. That has sort of been the deal with Scarlet Johansson’s character through the franchise. The Avenger first appeared in Iron Man 2 back in 2009 has continued to surprise viewers from her cover as an assistant at Stark Industries, right up until her stand-alone film.
Black Widow was the main character with the most unanswered questions regarding her past. It seemed that whenever she would appear in one of the films, so would another mystery. Be it about Budapest that was first mentioned in The Avengers or the Red Room first mentioned in Avengers: Age of Ultron, the questions just seemed to keep piling up. The film does a great job at not only answering all these questions but also providing satisfactory answers.
Part of the satisfaction comes from watching a denouement that relies predominantly on Black Widow and her abilities. Next to Thor, Iron Man and Captain America, the character’s skill set has never truly had the chance to be valued. It is made clear throughout the film, however, that Natasha is an avenger and she is seen to be in equal standing to her other teammates. The jaw-dropping stunts that Black Widow performs are evidently ones that couldn’t be done by an ordinary person.
A Powerful Message for Women and Girls
In Avengers: End Game, Black Widow certainly missed out on the action, especially during Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ final confrontation with Thanos. The Russo brothers had dedicated a section of the incredible battle to the heroes of the franchise. Also known as a group called the A-Force in the Marvel Comics. Having been the only female protagonist in the Avengers, Scarlet Johansson’s character paved the way for the other female characters in the franchise. Not simply in being able to join the blockbuster films but in showing what female characters could bring to the table. As more Marvel films were released, many powerful and well-loved female characters were introduced into the universe also. Natasha Romanov’s backstory is incredibly relevant today and especially in the Western World where feminism is generally seen to have reached its goal. Around the world, there are still women and girls who don’t have choices and although the Red Room is seen to have been a Russian Project, the Black Widows come from all different backgrounds and ethnicities. This is a really subtle way of enforcing the message that this is an issue faced by women all over the world.
“At some point, we all have to choose, between what the world wants you to be and who you are.”
When Natasha Romanov says this in the trailer, it’s not only something that she is saying about herself. I believe that this is something she is saying to all women. It’s this idea that women and girls might not be aware that they do have the right to have a choice. This is something that Yelena speaks about quite a bit in the film. One of the main messages that this film is putting across is that no matter the social pressures, or cultural traditions or even religious beliefs, every woman and girl has the right to have a choice. As the film portrays certain characters, sometimes that is something you have to find within yourself.
A Marvellous Final Bow
When asked about the possibility of Black widow’s return to the MCU, Scarlet Johansson replies: “It’s bittersweet to say goodbye. But when you love something you need to set it free.” This almost seems like an echo of one of Vision’s most famous lines:
“A thing isn’t beautiful because it lasts.”
If you love the character, you will understand that one of her main motivations has been to wipe the red of her ledger. It’s important for fans, just as it was for her friend Clint Barton, to let her make this sacrifice. The Black Widow film is going to open up some old wounds, especially now that we get to know even more about the character. With that being said, Black Widow and Scarlet Johansson will never truly leave the MCU. Something that has been spoken about the most since Avengers: Endgame was Tony Stark’s Legacy. This probably has something to do with Spiderman. What we see in this film is that Black Widow has also had quite a big impact on the Marvel universe and in doing so, she has left behind her a legacy. Black Widow had to wait thirteen years for her standalone film. Even Captain Marvel, the first Marvel film with a female lead, was only released after eleven years. With the female characters that have been recently introduced and the characters that are on their way, it seems as though the Black Widow film is also making a statement. That this is the women’s time and they’re going to be incredible.
By Sam Dawson
Images courtesy of Marvel Studios/Twitter