Natasha Romanoff’s (Scarlett Johansson) first appearance came twenty-one years ago. It was during Iron Man 2 (Jon Favreau, 2010). Black Widow was part of SHIELD and took it upon herself to keep an eye on Tony Stark. From that initial role, his character grew to become key within the narrative of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, her story was a puzzle of which some piece was offered through other stories, instead of having her own as at the time happened with Wonder Woman (Patty Jenkins, 2017).
Black Widow (Cate Shortland, 2021) premiered this July 9 in theaters and through the Disney Plus Premier Access for the audience to take all the necessary pieces and close the game. The detail is not only positive but it is also necessary after the events of Avengers: Endgame (Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, 2019). At this point, Marvel has found itself at another crossroads, one that could be understood as a narrative error: Black Widow seems to be very late in the global story of the producer.
The film describes what happened to Natasha Romanoff after the events of Captain America: Civil War (Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, 2016), although at times it could also be located after Avengers: Age of Ultron (Josh Whedon, 2015), or during a or another movie. If Black Widow had appeared during those years, late 2016 or 2017, that feeling that accompanies the story would not be present.
On the contrary, as it was released, the story would have been a natural transition towards Avengers: Infinity War (Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, 2019), and not as suggested in the post-credits scene towards the next Marvel and Disney Plus series. , Hawk Eye. Why didn’t it happen?
‘Black Widow’ and its narrative delay: when DC overtook Marvel
Until the premiere of Wonder Woman, the film industry did not have within the superhero narrative a feminine story of its own. Nor had he measured how much they could influence the box office. Wonder Woman, by raising more than 800 million dollars, broke the paradigm established until that moment: the stories of superheroines also attract attention.
At that time, DC did something Marvel didn’t: dedicated a movie to tell the story of a woman. By then, when Wonder Woman debuted, the #MeToo had yet to originate. This movement emerged during October 2017, with reports of abuse made by dozens of women within the film industry. The focus of the complaints was Harvey Weinstein, who had already been denounced in 2015, without revealing the accusation.
Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow battles a dangerous conspiracy as she faces her worst battle yet: the past she left behind
See Black Widow on Disney Plus
During that year, in 2015, in the south of America the Ni Una menos movement took place. It was in Argentina where violence against women began to be openly denounced. Although all these processes have antecedents, specific contexts and deeper explanations, these dates serve to understand something: the world was beginning to change in relation to machismo. The cinema, like all entertainment and culture industries, also had to do it.
What did Marvel do?
He responded, two years after Wonder Woman, with Captain Marvel (Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, 2019). It was a new story, while the Black Widow continued to occupy a secondary role. Black Widow’s constant references to Natasha Romanoff’s poses and her role within the Avengers seem to want to counter the previous oversight, as a tribute to her importance and significance beyond the elite group of superheroes.
Although all those winks work, perhaps they would not have been necessary if the narrative and temporal reading had been more successful. Marvel took time to assess the courage and symbolism of the character, broken by various abuse and mistreatment since childhood and, even so, rebuilt. Isn’t that the story of so many other women? In hindsight, it didn’t seem like a very complex task. Suffice it to remember that, during the most important initial meeting of superheroes, when The Avengers (2012) came together to face Loki, Black Widow was the only woman present.