One of the most anticipated movies of MCU Phase 4, Black Widow, is round the corner. But as we patiently unfold Natasha’s adventurous and mysterious navigation through her early life, some things need to be addressed. Specifically speaking, in the span of 22 movies, 61.5 hours particularly, Black Widow has undergone a layer of evolution that was the need of the hour. For starters, pivoting from hypersexualized character portrayal of Romanoff in Iron Man saga to action-packed protagonist in BW.
Evidently, this is something that not only ticked the audience, if at all it did but Scarlet Johansson too. The actor has got candid with media on several occasions to express her disappointment about the same.
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Over the fence shots
If we journey back to some of the shots in the wholesome saga of Marvel, there were a lot of skirmishes that could have been omitted without compromising the storyline. To name a few,
In Iron Man, Tony quickly develops an attraction towards Natasha owing to her titular looks during a boxing ring scene. Both the characters flirt explicitly throughout the movie. And then the business tycoon (Tony Stark) referring Romanoff mentions to Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) “I want one”.
In an interview with Collider, when asked about the sexualization of superheroes and its counter effect on Black Widow, Johansson says,
“You look back at Iron Man 2 and while it was really fun and had a lot of great moments in it, the character is so sexualized, you know? Really talked about like she’s a piece of something, like a possession or a thing or whatever, like a piece of a**, really.”
In another scene of Avengers: Age of Ultron, during the initial combat scene between Ultron and Avengers, Dr. Banner buries his face in Natasha’s chest. The story then spun a potential love story between them, only later to get axed brutally.
Time and again, such unnecessary scenes have made it into the final cut of the movie only to strengthen the argument. Scarlet has a bold yet dissimilar opinion about such scenes as well. She shares with BBC,
“Yeah, and at one point calls her a piece of meat, and maybe at that time that actually felt like a compliment. You know what I mean?”
The Scarlet Johansson’s better future
However, as the MCU proceeds with other projects, she feels there has been a massive favorable shift in this absurd portrayal of the character. Scarlett, 35-year-old and mother to one, now views things differently. She has realized her self-worth and seen all this as an evolution. Scarlet talks about it.
“Now people, young girls, are getting a much more positive message, but it’s been incredible to be a part of that shift and be able to come out the other side and be a part of that old story, but also progress,”
Undoubtedly, all of this makes valid noise. Mostly, the female actors’ sexualization happens to gather huge viewership for the films. However, in this path of making a movie commercially successful, women’s empowerment and sensibility are put at stake. But as things cool off, probably in coming decades, just as MCU, hopefully, we will see many more production houses correcting these awful mistakes.