I am so attracted to the idea of a superhero who doesn’t have any ‘powers’ (and I mean that in the non-human sense, since I do think Black Widow, Iron Man and Hawkeye have powers. Maybe calling what they have as natural gifts is better?) Anyhoo, I love the fact that Black Widow’s main gift seems to be that naturally assumed by a man. She is violent. She kicks some serious butt. She uses her strength and strategic abilities to find an opponent’s weakness and then squashes them like a bug.
I think comics have a history of giving their female superheroes typically masculine strengths/gifts (even though there is a whole load of sexualisation going on at the same time) and this is what attracts me to those characters. I want to read about women who fight and bleed and do something. Jane (from Thor – she was originally a nurse), Jan (The Wasp), Bobbi (Mockingbird), Diana (Wonder Woman), Selina (Catwoman), Lady Sif (from Thor) and countless other women are risking their lives to do what they want to do AND what they believe is right (though there are obvious exceptions – when they are ‘evil’ etc, and even then I love them).
I am a big fan of Scarlett Johansson and was thrilled when she was cast as Black Widow in Iron Man 2 and that her character returning for The Avengers, Captain America 2 and that it will be returning for The Avengers 2. Even before The Avengers became the global phenomenon that it was and before I had seen the movie, I had high expectations of Joss Wheden’s handling of her character. He has a reputation of not turning female characters in to one-dimensional sex objects. And this was what happened in The Avengers. She was as much a character in the movie as everyone else was and that was lovely to watch. Also the fact that she didn’t die to fuel someone else’s revenge storyline was lovely.
I only wish that they would give her a film of her own. I don’t think that people won’t watch it because she is a woman. (Hear that film producers?! We feel the same way about Wonder Woman – give Gal Godot a contract for three solo movies). Black Widow has such a rich back story and I think the comic book source material will transfer well onto the big screen. I actually read an article somewhere that movie studios are wary of having female lead superhero movies because of what happened with Elektra. Excuse me? Daredevil was all kinds of shit but that never stopped studios making more male superhero movies. And what about The Hunger Games? Female leading those movies and the franchise seems to have magically done OK for itself.
Also everyone seems to forget that women go to the cinema more than men – we want to see more women in lead roles. Just imagine how perfect this story is: it’s raining and woman is on her knees cradling the head of her dead lover. As quickly as a pool of blood stains his white shirt, the rain washes it away. The ambulance isn’t going to get there is time and she knows she is alone. All she has is her desire to get revenge. She stands up and lets the man fall- there is nothing she can do for him now. What she needs is to take some MMA lessons. And lycra. Lots and lots of lycra.
There – I would watch that!
Image from here