Making her first appearance in the film Iron Man 2 as Natalia “Natasha” Alianovna Romanova, also known as Natasha Romanoff, and reappearing in The Avengers, Black Widow dominates the screen as the female superhero with a dark history.
Past Women Who Wow Wednesday posts have focused on female characters that could empower women into becoming better in whatever position life has given them. But after having thoroughly researched Black Widow’s record, this writer is at odds with placing this woman on a pedestal.
What can one say of Black Widow’s behavior that in some form or another wouldn’t cause someone to cringe? Definitely not the following:
- In Ultimate Marvel, Romanova is a former KGB spy and assassin
- Genetic or cybernetic implants make her a formidable combatant
- The woman is known for killing her ex-husbands
- Responsible for the death of Hawkeye’s wife and children
- Publicly revealed Bruce Banner’s connection to the Hulk
- Collaborated with the Liberators in their invasion of the U.S.
There’s more, yet that would involve divulging major plot points in Black Widow’s history. Suffice it to say she leaves much to be desired on the honor and trustworthiness scale.
However, when she appears in Iron Man 2, she’s Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson), Stark Industries’ replacement for personal assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) who moves into the company’s CEO position. No one knows what to make of the redhead until S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury reveals Natalie Rushman is covert operative Natasha Romanoff, planted to monitor Iron Man, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). You see, Tony’s dying, and she needs to keep him from harm’s way. Natasha also injects Tony with a special serum to slow the palladium poisoning he’s been experiencing due to his use of the arc reactor that keeps him alive.
In the movie The Avengers, there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind where Black Widow’s loyalty lies. From the very first frame, we see her in a quandary. A Russian general is about to interrogate Natasha as three soldiers stand in the wings. She dispatches them whole—tied up, no less. The information flows from the general’s mouth.
Yeah, but can anyone trust her? Nick Fury can. He trusts her with the most important assignment of all—bringing in Bruce Banner. No other Avenger can do what she can. Nick doesn’t trust anyone else to do what she can. One wrong move and Bruce turns into the big green guy. No doubt, she did it. She brought him in without a fight.
Once on the helicarrier, her next assignment gets more complex. Interrogate Loki. What’s your plan? Of course she didn’t ask the direct question. Through subterfuge and ploy, Natasha discovers Loki’s nefarious design to deploy Hulk to do his dirty work. One problem, though: When Bruce Banner does turn into the big green guy, Natasha is the only one to delay the inevitable—the absolute destruction of the ship.
When the final battle occurs in New York City, Black Widow’s the only one who understands someone has to close the portal spewing the Chitauri upon the earth. Iron Man’s pathetic attempt at brutal stoppage does not work. Thankfully, she follows through with her genius plan and saves the city from destruction.
No matter what her past, Black Widow has redeemed herself with The Avengers.
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Have you seen The Avengers? What did you think of it? Do you know of Black Widow’s past?