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Why Black Widow Should Get Her Own Marvel Movie

'The Avengers' proved that Natasha is more than just a pretty face; here's why we think she deserves some more of the spotlight.

By now, most of you who are reading this have already had the pleasure of watching The Avengers; but if you haven't yet don't worry, you can still read this article without any major spoilers. Like many of you who live, breathe and love comics, I too felt that The Avengers was one of the best comic book, super hero movies I have ever watched. Better than all Marvel movies that came before it, and all FOX comic book movie adaptations. It even gave 'The Dark Knight' a run for it's money, in my opinion. But this isn't an article about how much I loved 'The Avengers,' it's about how happy I felt when I left the theater thinking that after just having watched that film, there's no reason why Marvel Studios couldn't make a Black Widow movie.

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If you were to have asked me before, I would have told you that there was no way that Marvel Studios could pull off a Black Widow movie -- she just didn't hold enough clout. The character, who has been around since her first appearance in TALES OF SUSPENSE #52 could hardly ever maintain her own ongoing series. At best, they would get cancelled -- not because they weren't good (because they were often fantastic) but because she simply didn't garner support of enough readers. Her appearance in Iron Man 2 when she first met Tony Stark was sub-par. She was completely uninteresting and had no depth.

Before watching the movie I was convinced that Black Widow was the only really odd part of all of The Avengers movie posters and she didn't make sense to me in the trailers because Scarlet Johansson had delivered a less than stellar first performance in Iron Man 2. I wasn't expecting a whole heck of a lot out of her performance in 'The Avengers, and that may very well be the reason why I was so blown away by her character's presence on screen. When I left the theater after having seen The Avengers for the second time the only thing on my mind was, "what the hell happened in Budapest?" I was smitten.

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If you get that reference, then you probably know where I am going with this. Even though Black Widow didn't have a tremendous amount of on-screen time, the moments where she made an appearance were compelling -- so much so that I left the theater with a whole new appreciation for her character. Hawkeye and Black Widow had obvious chemistry in the film, but it wasn't sexual; and the fact that Whedon strayed away from any romantic involvement between the two characters (something that frequently appeared in the comics) is what made it so interesting to see the pair working together (and at times against one another) on screen.

What Whedon didn't touch on (which I was completely comfortable with) was the fact that Natasha and Clint Barton were lovers at one time in the comics. At that time, Barton had been working with the Avengers when Natasha was still with the KGB when he fell in love with her and whisked her away. At least that's the romanticized version. In her early appearances, Natasha left the KJB for Barton and the Avengers, although their relationship fizzled. And while there is clearly chemistry between the two characters in Whedon's film, the fact that there is no on-screen romance is a plus. The possible romance would have been distracting, first of all, and it would have ultimately taken away from Natasha's ability to be seen as an equal by her peers (the other Avengers teammates), which I will get into later.

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There are some great moments between them, however, that were virtually pulled straight from the comics. In the film, Natasha emphasizes the fact that she owed Clint Barton "a debt" and that is the reason why she was so dedicated to ensuring his safety. That debt is her life, and in turn she feels obligated to save his too, because he had been sent to kill her but instead chose to save her. He (Clint) understood her struggles and all she had endured, and there were diffinitive seeds that were purposely planted by Whedon in the film that will probably be expounded upon later -- hopefully in her own movie.

Black Widow is brainwashed
Black Widow is brainwashed

In the scene where she is coaxing Hawkeye -- who is restrained after being brainwashed by Loki -- she repeats (for a second time) that she "had been compromised." This time, in a more somber tone. She states again that she "has red on her ledger." Those who have read any Black Widow comics or know anything about her history know that she was used by the Russian KGB.

At one time, Black Widow thought herself to be a ballerina, but she later discovered that she had been brainwashed. The memories she thought she had had were not her own, and they were put there by the Russian KGB. She was never a ballerina. Her husband hadn't died as she had originally believed. She was used as a pawn when she was utilized as part of the "Red Room" experiment. During that time, she did a lot of terrible things to people; and the fact that Whedon alludes to this in his film makes me think he is preparing fans for a movie of her own; which she rightly deserves.

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All too often when there is a prominent female character in a cast of mostly men, the woman is often the object of affection -- she's used as the romantic interest. We saw Natasha play that role in Iron Man 2 when she was first introduced to audiences. She was there mainly for eye candy, referenced specifically by Iron Man's character.

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There was none of that here. In Whedon's film Black Widow was able to play with the boys, and the fact that they never once questioned her capabilities and consistently treated her as an equal was probably the most compelling thing about her portrayal. It's so much so that you forget that Scarlett Johansson is sexy. It's never in your face. The blatant joke in the beginning of the film by Georgi Luchkov during the interrogation where he claims that Natasha is "nothing more than a pretty face" is an obvious affront to an age old cliche; that she wouldn't have such prowess without her striking good looks. This is something that both Whedon and Scarlett Johannson successfully disprove.

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Black Widow naturally has an interesting (albeit, complicated) history in Marvel Comics. Born in 1928 in a small town in Russia, she is said to be the last of the Romanov's. She became a spy for the KGB, was brainwashed, and at one time she even took a dose of super soldier serum -- which explains why she still looks good after all these years. She is smart, savvy and of course, beautiful; making her deadly. In her performance in The Avengers, Scarlett Johansson and Joss Whedon proved that Black Widow can be conveyed as an interesting and compelling character.

After seeing The Avengers there is no doubt in my mind that Marvel Studios can't make a great superhero/spy movie featuring both Black Widow and Hawkeye. She has a complicated history, (and so does he) and certainly both characters have their share of demons; but that's what makes them human and easy to relate to. Hopefully we'll get to see what happened in Budapest in Black Widow's very own feature film, or at the very least find out where all that "red on her ledger" came from.

What do you think? Do you want to see a Black Widow/Hawkeye spin-off movie? Do you think that kind of a film would be successful?

177 CommentsRefresh
Avatar image for mercy_
Posted By Mercy_

@Illuminatus said:

it'll make $300 million easily

You're craaazy :3

Avatar image for trueilluminatus
Posted By TrueIlluminatus
@Mercy_ said:

@Illuminatus said:

it'll make $300 million easily

You're craaazy :3

She said, while researching Dr. Strange rumors.
Avatar image for thanosismad
Posted By ThanosIsMad

A Black Widow movie would be a lot like Haywire, but with supervillains.

Either way, I'm game for it. I've always liked Widow.

Avatar image for mercy_
Posted By Mercy_

@Illuminatus said:

@Mercy_ said:

@Illuminatus said:

it'll make $300 million easily

You're craaazy :3

She said, while researching Dr. Strange rumors.

Nuh uhhhhhhhhh

Avatar image for wolverine0628
Posted By Wolverine0628

If they portrayed Black Widow like they did in the Avengers, then I would LOVE to see her in her own movie. I would also like to see Hawkeye in this movie, partly because I really want to know what happened in Budapest.

Avatar image for haydenclaireheroes
Posted By haydenclaireheroes

I think we can learn a lot more about Black Widow's past. I think that could perfectly be told in her own movie

Avatar image for zeeguy91
Posted By Zeeguy91

@jmood88 said:

@The Stegman
If she gets a movie before Wonder Woman, I'mma choke someone.
Blame the people at DC who made such a stupid and sexist character.

Stupid? Sexist? Then why has she been able to sustain her own series for years while Spider-Woman and Black Widow can't support their own?

A Wonder Woman movie would be incredible epic. Greek myth meets modern world. I would so be down for that. The only problem is that DC (or WB really) seems to be dragging their feet in the movie department. If Man of Steel ends up being good, then I seriously think DC should invest in something like Wonder Woman. Oh, and THE FLASH, PLEASE!!!!!

Avatar image for fuchsia_nightingale
Posted By Fuchsia_Nightingale

I'd for one love to see it.

Avatar image for tyrannotaur
Posted By Tyrannotaur

Nice article. I agree. I could see a "Agents of SHIELD" movie. Show the backstory of Hawkeye, Black Widow and others from Shield. Maybe use Taskmaster or some other shield defector as the bad guy. Would also be cool if it lead up to Avengers 2 in someway.

Avatar image for authenticm
Posted By AuthenticM

@Bestostero said:

Black Widow, yes. Scarlet Johansson, no.


Avatar image for csl316
Posted By csl316

I'd like to see it, but I'd want Whedon doing it. His strength has always been female characters so he'd be perfect for it. Even if it's something smaller scale between this and Avengers 2.

Avatar image for chalkshark
Posted By chalkshark

They already did a Black Widow movie. It was called Salt. Marvel Studios would need to abandon all the Soviet backstory from the Black Widow's history for fear of being considered too derivative. I realize the Black Widow laid claim to those ideas first, but Jolie's potential franchise character beat her to the big screen, and stole all her best moves & motifs.

Best option is to move forward with the character. Johannson may be problematic. There are few actresses that can anchor a big film. Johannson is not one of them. The Avengers film though is a massive success, and the Black Widow's profile has never been higher. If they're going to do it, it has to be now.

The one thing they would probably need to do is put the emphasis on "superhero" over "spy". Again, Salt has already stolen the Black Widow's milieu. The film can't just be an espionage thriller. It has to be bigger. More over the top. As a character, she should occupy the space in between Captain America & Iron Man. Her adventure should contain elements of super science, and span the globe. Her adversary should probably have an origin steeped in nationalism. It wouldn't hurt if said villain was played by an "A" list actor/actress. Johannson is going to need some help with the heavy lifting. With the right creative team, any film can work.

Avatar image for batteredarmor
Posted By BatteredArmor

@The Stegman said:

If she gets a movie before Wonder Woman, I'mma choke someone.


Avatar image for raineffect
Posted By RainEffect

Black Widow and Winter Soldier.


Avatar image for frozenedge
Posted By frozenedge

Have a SHIELD movie with Widow, Hawkeye, Fury and other SHIELD agents but like others said maybe tie-in to one of the other Marvel movies to keep everything connected.

Avatar image for ganthetsward20
Posted By Ganthetsward20

I really loved the black widow in the avengers movie. She was a good charchter and while not a "heavy hitter" because she doesnt have powers I feel she could have a movie based around her but I feel even with all the neat gadgets and stuff that someone like her can get access too she would need one or two heroes to keep me in the "this is a marvel comic" mindset otherwise i think it would be to close to something like alieas or gi joe. Which can be good movies but I will want the same level of awesome as the Avengers movie had. Maybe they could have team up with hawkeye or even daredevil? Or go after AIM and stop MODOK?

Avatar image for 1fearless1
Posted By 1fearless1

NO BW movie. She's nothing special. It would BOMB!!

Avatar image for harrymcback
Posted By harrymcback

It's not about whether people will come out to see a Black Widow movie or if Scarlet Johannson can headline a movie. It's about having the right story with the right director and producers to make it happen. If Joss Whedon were to tackle one individual movie in the Avengers Movie-verse I hope it will be Black Widow. Whedon has proven on more than one occasion that can write and director strong female characters better than most in the business. Why is this? He doesn't apply the normal Hollywood like stereotypes to his female characters. He allows them to be human first and a hero second. His work features strong and realistic female leads with characteristics any man or woman would be proud to have in a daughter.

I don't want to see a story where Hawkeye saves Black Widow, that's not the Black Widow we see in the Avengers. I want to see a movie where she saves Hawkeye and Nick Fury. Where they serve as the bookends to her story. I think this may also present an opportunity to have limited flashbacks to tell the Budapest story.

Avatar image for mercy_
Posted By Mercy_

Black Widow and Winter Soldier.


Avatar image for redheadedatrocitus
Posted By RedheadedAtrocitus

She's looking food for 84 years old I say! Seriously though I'm all on board for Romanoff having her own movie OR even being part of a larger SHIELD flick. If its a movie of her own, it should definitely be an origins movie of some kind. Just my opinion.

Avatar image for sladewilson30
Edited By sladewilson30

Hell yes, and it should introduse the characters Boris Bulski(Titanium Man), and Omega Red

Avatar image for blackwidowboy
Posted By BlackWidowBoy

Spoke on it before and i have to say that i'm pleasently suprised by Scarlet's performance. I didn't think she could do it but she proved me wrong. And I would love to see a Widow movie, but If it's just going to be a Widow movie then I still don't think I would want to see Scarlet alone. A SHIELD movie with Fury, Hawkeye, Agent 13, Dum Dum, Hill, hell maybe even War Machine or the Falcon would be cool. A super Tech Spy thriller Against Hydra or AIM and Strucker Hell a Fury/Black Widow movie would be awesome.

Avatar image for biteme_fanboy
Posted By BiteMe-Fanboy

@Illuminatus said:

Black Widow will never get a solo film. Mark my words.


Avatar image for mavfan626
Edited By mavfan626

I hate the idea of Black Widow getting a movie, theres a ton of better character that deserve a movie and Black Widow ant one of them

Avatar image for moywar700
Posted By moywar700

i'm a male and I like black widow the best. I would rather go see a movie of her than the other avengers.

Avatar image for tchokes
Posted By Tchokes

There is one big IF for me to buy into a Black Widow movie:

Natasha is not a regular superhero. She is a heroine, but one built in a pretty mortal realm. She faces problems like torture, drugs, violence, betrayal, rape... even if you tone down a few things (mostly rape and drugs), a movie about the Black Widow would still feel either too serious for the rest of Mavel's MovieVerse or a comedy/spy movie in the league with Knight and Day.

Avatar image for zackattack529
Posted By zackattack529

her character was REALLY awesome in the iron man 2 i was like..hmm OK shes hot...but she didnt really have a standout character this she proved she can actually have her own individual pay to go see her in her own movie! but i think it should be Hawkeye/Blackwidow in a movie together! not just seperate since they work better together their chemistry id like to know about how they met. i know they mentioned it in avengers but i wanna SEE it :)

Avatar image for awesam
Posted By AweSam

It would be like too many movies. She's not interesting enough to be unique.

Avatar image for rogue_mar1e
Posted By rogue_mar1e

It should be a Black Widow and Hawkeye movie.

Avatar image for solh0und
Posted By Solh0und

I could see more of a mini-series for BW more than a movie.

To those that are ScarJo haters: I can probably bet they could've casted worst than her.

Avatar image for doordoor123
Posted By doordoor123

Sorry Sara, she is always going to be a better secondary character. Never a main.

Avatar image for dmc
Posted By DMC

A Black Widow movie would be cool, but I would hate for all the Marve Studios films between "Iron Man 3" and "Avengers 2" to focus on the established roster. Whether they face Thanos or not in the next film, we need 1 or 2 new characters get their first solo film. Hopefully Ant Man and Dr Strange pull through.

And for the record, Spider-Man and Wolverine should not be a part of the Avengers franchise.More classic Avengers need to be introduced to the mainstream audience.

Avatar image for the_assassin_
Posted By The_Assassin_

@rogue_mar1e said:

It should be a Black Widow and Hawkeye movie.

This ^

Avatar image for fluffypigeons
Posted By fluffypigeons


Avatar image for k4tzm4n
Posted By k4tzm4n

Personally, I'd love to see her get more time in a S.H.I.E.L.D. movie (God I hope they can come up with a decent title for that one). I think in the right hands, it would be great to see a story with a heavy emphasis on giving the causal fans a better look at Fury, Barton, and Romanova.

Avatar image for capelesscrusader
Posted By capelesscrusader

@The Lobster : Taskmaster would make a terrific villain for a S.H.I.E.L.D. movie. It would let them create some awesome action, and Joss knows his way around fight choreography.

Avatar image for chibi_iroh
Posted By Chibi-Iroh

@Bestostero: She was great as Widow

Avatar image for raycarter
Posted By raycarter

I am perfectly fine with Black Widow having her own movie. But I disagree with the notion that a romance will automatically demote a female character.

Case in point? Vesper Lynd, the Bond Girl who (in IGN's words) broke, and ergo made, James Bond. In her romance with him she came off as the intellectual equal to 007. Her shadow and legacy looms large in Quantum of Solace. In her case, the romance was not a crutch nor a stereotype; it cemented her as one of the most significant figures in 007 mythos, if not in the mind of 007 himself (he has to remain professional about it, of course).

I think it boils down to how well the romance is executed. If it's done well, I think it could actually help BOTH Black Widow and her partner (Hawkeye, Bucky etc). It all boils down to execution and careful handling of the situation, in my opinion.

Avatar image for k4tzm4n
Posted By k4tzm4n

@capelesscrusader: Trying to deal with Taskmaster and his school for criminals as a sub-plot could prove very interesting. For example, they could be hired by whoever the primary villain would be.

Avatar image for chibi_iroh
Posted By Chibi-Iroh

I say have her and Hawkeye be a team for Shield. Have the writer of Ghost Protocol write it and have Joss do some rewrites.

Avatar image for replicant0658
Posted By Replicant0658

@The Lobster : I totally agree, as interesting as the characters are (and I cannot stress enough how big of a Hawkeye fan I am!), Black Widow and Hawkeye would have to be a packaged deal, I just don't think the movie would be strong enough on their own. A S.H.I.E.L.D. movie would definitely be awesome, especially now that all the characters are gunna be doing their own things for their respective movies, the timing is perfect for it, I mean, what are Black Widow and Hawkeye doing during the events of Cap 2 or Iron Man 3? A Budapest prequel would definitely be cool to see, and seeing as how Taskmaster isn't a superhuman and has the ability to mimic anyone's fighting style, he would be the perfect villain for the movie, especially considering that'd probably be the only chance we'll ever get to see him on the big screen.

Avatar image for renee
Posted By Renee

Angelina Jolie did Salt and that was really good, so this could work too.

Avatar image for tanet62
Posted By TAneT62

i dont know ant man and dc strange, who the hell are they? the public wont be interested in them.

black widow film wud be great. period.

Avatar image for darthhavok
Posted By DarthHavok

@darkrider: really like that idea would have her up front but they could start building on the winter soldier stuff for bucky him training her an all

Avatar image for blizaga101
Posted By Blizaga101

I wanna see BW meet up with Bucky, I can imagine a great action scene :D

Avatar image for mattersuit
Posted By Mattersuit

@The Lobster : Not MI:Ghost Protocol though lol.

Avatar image for hawkeye446
Posted By Hawkeye446

@rogue_mar1e said:

It should be a Black Widow and Hawkeye movie.

I would cry out of joy, please, yes. Then again, either/or, I love them both ^__^

Avatar image for friskynesss
Posted By Friskynesss

@Blizaga101: woah I agree that would be awesome, the Return of Bucky as Winter Soldier O.O

...I was disappointed when the after-credits scene of Captain America wasn't about Bucky :))

Avatar image for croi
Posted By Croi

I wasn't really keeping an eye on her performance until I saw her huddled in the corner after fleeing from the Hulk, her voice breaking over the com to Fury. I was like "Damn... she's good."

Avatar image for the_mast
Posted By The Mast

Black Widow is utterly amazing and her movie would be incredible when/if done right.

That wouldn't including having Scarlett Johansson. Her role basically could've been any random agent of the organisation. Nothing about her was Natasha. She's red-haired and hot. Ok, great. She was great in the movie, but she wasn't Natasha. All she did was reference that she's Russian. That does not a Black Widow make.

We deserve, and SHE deserves, someone who can nail the part like the others do. Not someone who gets paid the salary of a nation and can't even do an accent. Especially when she's alongside the likes of Mickey Rourke, who learned Russian AND the accent.

That's a big deal, to me. It's a big part of who she is. People are just clamouring over Black Widow because she's the first and only kick-ass chick in a superhero movie.

I understand big time leading ladies are hard to come by in comics. They don't get the promo they deserve or sell like they should, but this won't help matters. Scarlett isn't a good actress. She isn't a good Black Widow.

Natasha deserves much better.