Jack decides to be a little shit.
Now so far Black Widow doesn’t really have that problem I don’t think, (so far anyway). But I feel like because she is just a human, and we’ve seen her in several movies so far, she’s basically shown us all her tricks. I’m just not sure she can really show me anything new for me to get excited about. I’d rather see a female character with superpowers, or enhanced abilities doing something new, than Black Widow just doing a lot of stuff I’ve seen her and every other human female action lead do over and over again already.
I also have question on a story arc with her, I think really the only story I might be interested in seeing on the big screen is how she came to Shield, from whatever bad place she was, and maybe meeting Hawkeye. That would provide some interesting dramatic “stuff” and something for her to overcome emotionally/spiritually, giving more weight to her story. That’s better than just having her battle and defeat some bad guy because she’s a good guy and that’s what she’s supposed to do. I suppose they could come up with something from her past to compromise her a bit more, have her switch sides back to the bad guys even… although her switching sides, I don’t know how well that would go over in a stand alone movie. Usually they want to show the heroes triumphing, not giving into the evil.
Let me preface this by saying I’m a big fan of the blog, and I’m perfectly capable of disagreeing with someone without wanting to set them on fire, but I am going to disagree with you nonetheless.
I’d rather see a female character with superpowers, or enhanced abilities doing something new, than Black Widow just doing a lot of stuff I’ve seen her and every other human female action lead do over and over again already.
Because we’ve had so many female action heroes, right?
And the good old “she’s not as good as the other Avengers because she doesn’t have any superpowers” argument! It’s been almost three whole minutes since I’ve seen that one, so thanks for that.
The sad thing is that, if they would take from comic book canon (all 50 years of it, with many a varied tale that managed to show many different sides to this character who could’ve been another cardboard cut out of the Cold War femme fatale but instead developed into one of Marvel’s most deeply layered heroes) you would have a movie about an “enhanced” superhero. Natasha of the comics was born in the 1920s in Stalingrad. Yep, she’s as old as Captain America. How is that possible? She took (or was forced into taking, depending on the canon you follow) a version of the supersoldier serum that was given to Captain America. It makes her extremely long-lived and gives her enhanced agility, speed, and strength.
That also gives her an incredible amount of story to be mined. Orphaned during a fire, she was thrown out of a window by her mother in a last-ditch attempt to save her, where she was caught by a man named Ivan Petrovich. Ivan placed her in the Red Room when she was a child, where she was raised to be an assassin. (“Do they start that young?” “I did.”) Her life there was fairly hellish, and her memories were altered and erased and altered again and again in an effort to make her the perfect weapon (“Have you ever had someone take your brain and play? Take you out and stuff something else in? You know what it’s like to be unmade?” “You know I do.”), so that she began losing track of who she was, of what memories were real and which were constructs of the Red Room.
She was a ballerina with the Bolshoi, or at least was made to believe she was. She was on the battlefield during World War II as a teenager, pregnant and alone but for the soldiers beside her. She lost that baby. She met and fell in love with the Winter Soldier, carrying on a forbidden love affair with him while they were both under the yolk of the Soviets. She was brainwashed yet again into believing she was an ordinary Soviet housewife, married to a national hero in the form of the Red Guardian, only to have her former superiors fake his death. His death spurred Natasha to action (ha, a male death spurs a female character to action- Black Widow sees your gender tropes and laughs at them!), as she always knew in the back of her mind she was made for more than an ordinary life, so she demanded the Soviets put her in the field, to let her be useful to the cause even before she was able to remember that she wasn’t an ordinary housewife.
Eventually she would defect to the United States, and (aside from being recaptured by the Red Room and brainwashed again) has been fighting faithfully alongside her fellow heroes for many, many years now.
Now I don’t expect all or even most of this to make it into MCU canon, but you can’t deny that there is a plethora of material to be mined for inspiration.
That’s better than just having her battle and defeat some bad guy because she’s a good guy and that’s what she’s supposed to do.
You mean like Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, Captain America, Thor, Thor: The Dark World, The Avengers, and probably every other superhero movie out there?
That all you can come up with for a character who is working so hard on attaining their redemption is “turns evil” is a little sad, to be honest, and rather lacking in imagination.
My dream Black Widow movie would be based on The Name of The Rose. Favorite Natasha comic series ever. This is what first showed me the depth of her humanity (and awesomeness) and cemented her as my one true love. It weaves her past and her present together seamlessly, showcasing someone simultaneously tough as nails (she wakes up mid-surgery on the operating table and steadfastly pretends to be unconscious throughout the rest of the procedure), and incredibly vulnerable. It contains a squee-worthy scene where the male Avengers essentially fangirl all over her to the men that are trying to make them to turn on her and name her an enemy of the state. It also has some beautiful passages in it:
I discovered the writer, Leo Tolstoy, in a muddy ditch that held more blood than rain. One of the soldiers loved his words— and then, so did I. “All, everything that I understand,” he wrote, “I understand only because I love. That was so many years ago. But words on a page didn’t teach me that lesson. I learned it on my own. I learned it in trenches with bullets flying overhead; pressed back to back with grizzled starving men who would have laid down their lives for mine. I learned it from a ribbon tied around my ring finger. I learned it from a kick inside my belly. I learned it from death, and hardship, and brief acts of inexplicable kindness. I learned love from sacrifice. I learned love from living. And no matter where I’ve gone, or what I’ve done— all the dark things I do not regret, but will never speak of— that is the one part of me that I have always kept safe.
I can come up with several more that would work wonderfully as a standalone film if that doesn’t appeal. But wait! you cry, That’s not fair! How was I supposed to know Natasha had all this backstory?
You didn’t know because Marvel didn’t tell you. You didn’t know because they haven’t given us a damn Black Widow movie in which to tell of all this delicious backstory.
But you have an unfair advantage- you’ve read the comics!
I hadn’t read a single Black Widow comic (or Marvel comic, for that matter) before I saw Avengers. It’s due entirely to the tantalizing hints of deep backstory they gave us in the film that even bothered to pick up a comic to learn more about this woman who was clearly holding so much inside her. Her scene with Bruce that I quoted earlier was such a morsel. A child forced into the life of a spy? Tell me more, please! Her scene at the cage was another. Red in her ledger? A set of skills she didn’t care who she used them for or on? Sao Paulo, Drakov’s daughter, the hospital fire? Tell meeee! And then the scene with Barton? Someone had unmade her? And she was still standing, still striving for redemption? *incoherent squeals of pure want*
And last, but most definitely not least, you have this puny little human with (as of now) no superpowers and no metal suits, only two little guns and her own body, who has seen all of the “heroes” scatter to the wind and for all she knows won’t be coming back, and she says I’m going to fight. There might not be anyone beside me when I do, but I am going to stand up against an army of gods and monsters, and I am going to fight.
And that’s not a woman worthy of her own movie????
Yes yes yes yes yessssssssss. The hints the movie gave me were enough to make me say “I want to know more,” and then I got more and more and more, and if the goal of the movie wasn’t to make audiences say “God damn I want to know more about this Natasha lady,” they done fucked up.
My personal ideal story wouldn’t be Name of the Rose, but rather the Yelena arc, which would be the story of Natasha trying to rescue someone else who’s stuck at the crossroads she remembers so vividly. Natasha would be forced to reconcile her past with her present, and make amends for her own behavior by trying to save the next person in line. And it would also feature a female protagonist, a female antagonist, and the villainy of a male-dominated institution that sought to mold women to their expectations.
If you say you wouldn’t be into that, I’m just going to assume you’re lying.
NOT ALL AUSTRALIANS:
- Are tanned
- Drink copious amounts of alcohol
- Like sport
- Can magically surf
- Say G’Day Mate
- Have ridden an emu to school at least once