So less than a week after from the Avengers: Age of Ultron theater release, the complainers have descended upon us. People just can’t help themselves these days it seems. Instead of enjoying a really awesome movie some people have to concoct some ‘well actually’ argument and run to the internet to get some recognition. There are occassional arguments worthy of humoring but most of them are laughable at best and downright stupid at worst. And with the MCU a lot of them revolve around Black Widow. The Hot Take brigade loves to use Widow as a reference point to complain about the MCU’s non existent diversity issues, and as always they’re way off base. But Age of Ultron has given new life to an old argument, and birth to a new one. Both are stupid, but here they are:
No Black Widow movie..unfair!!!
Can we clear something up here? Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Black Widow was an absolute afterthought of a character. While a frequent guest star across the board, she’s never been a main character in and Marvel events. The longest running series she’s had is her current one (now in the teens in number of issues), and none of her previous ones went beyond 8 issues. This is the peak of her popularity and it’s all due to her use in the MCU. There are other women in the Marvel Universe who could have been plugged into her spot. They could have easily used Mockingbird or Misty Knight or Monica Rambeau or Sharon Carter in her place in the MCU without missing a beat. They could have introduced Captain Marvel earlier. Or they could have left that part out entirely and given more run to Hawkeye or put in Ant-Man as a founding member of the Avengers just like in the comics. So for people to suddenly be out there crusading for Black Widow to get her own movie is a bit much.
I love the character, I read her solo series and enjoy it, but in the movies she’s perfect in exactly the role she plays – supporting character who can stand alongside the big names without looking out of place and make her time on screen count. That doesn’t mean she should get her own film and not part of some kind of team up. That’s not an insult; War Machine and Falcon don’t need one either. I bring those two names up for a reason. If you were to rank the twelve Avenger characters we’re seeing on a big screen this year (counting Ant-Man later), she wouldn’t rank very high in terms of comic book world importance. Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Cap, Hawkeye, Ant-Man, Scarlet Witch, and Vision are all ahead of her historically. So she’s ninth at best and if her profile hadn’t been raised by previous MCU appearances she’d be behind War Machine and Falcon. The idea that the character has somehow been shortchanged it pretty ridiculous.
And now on to the other elephant in the room, the Twitter stupidity that has brewed since people went to see Age of Ultron. (SPOILER ALERT – do not read further if you haven’t seen it yet!) It seems that some people have a problem with Widow being romantically involved with Bruce Banner in the movie, and are saying that it is a sexist trope and somehow diminishes the character. An example of some of the dumb commentary I saw today is the only major female character in the movie is defined by a romantic relationship. Umm……..ok. First of all, every other member of the team has a relationship as a key character development point. Pepper Potts keeps Tony Stark from getting lost in his self destructive tendencies. Cap’s lost opportunity at love with Peggy Carter is a key element of his story. Jane Foster is the only reason outside fighting bad guys that Thor ever comes back to Earth. And this time around we got major character development for Hawkeye….by revealing his wife and kids. No check that, we got the ONLY character development for Hawkeye by revealing his wife and kids. We still don’t have any insight into his history, which we have gotten with Widow and even the newcomers Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. So just stop it already.
This is a product of the hot take era, where people can turn their predetermined perceptions and narratives into 140 character broadsides on Twitter or 1000 word thinkpieces, or just troll for clicks using factually dubious stream of consciousness diatribes to get a half baked point across. These are the people who bash Marvel studios and comic book movies in general for diversity issues and completely miss that comic book movies have been way more diverse than the rest of Hollywood, and when called on it tell you that we shouldn’t be setting the bar that low. Just stop it already. You either have no idea what you’re talking about or you’re just trolling. Either way you need to just stop. Delete your account and go watch some TV or something.
Look here folks, Black Widow is one of the best female characters in comic book movie history. She could easily be played like a Bond girl or one of Charlie’s Angels, but that’s not the case. And while she does have a sexy costume she’s not doing a bad Catwoman impersonation out there like they could have her doing. She’s not mesmerizing bad guys with feminine wiles to distract them so Thor or Hulk can crush them while they aren’t paying attention. And when she did fall for someone it wasn’t some cliched kind of thing where the hero saved her life and she just couldnt’ help herself from being smitten by the heroics. It was pretty much like real people do – you meet somebody, something draws you to them, and what happens happens. To take what we’ve seen as paint her as some victim of sexist Hollywood tropes is flat out dumb, So just stop it already because there are some real targets worthy of your ire. Stop overthinking and get back to enjoying the movies for crying out loud.