Marvel-lous Ladies: Natasha Romanoff

That’s right folks. The queen is in the house.

Can I take a moment to gush? I’m going to take a moment to gush. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier,Natasha was so sweet and sexy and funny and endearing and everything precious in this world. Okay, okay, I’ll try to be more coherent.

Natasha’s character has come the farthest, I think, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When we first meet her in Iron Man 2–as the Black Widow and not Natalie Rushman—we get the impression that she is dangerous, cunning, and very, very good at her job. To say that we know who Natasha is by the end of the movie would be doing a disservice to her character. She is more than a fighting machine sent from SHIELD to get Tony’s act together. However, like a how a handful of Steve’s lines from The Avengers secured his fate in fandom and fanfiction as a do-gooder, blushing, boy scout, virgin, Natasha’s frankly amazing and terrifying presence in Iron Man 2 doomed her character to a woman who “never smiled, only quirked the tiniest edge of her mouth when vaguely amused” and “could kill someone with a paperclip”. While the latter is probably true, the former is an exaggeration that really went too far.

Iron Man 2

We see a lot of her character in The Avengers. The snark and heart and wit come out full force and Natasha really holds her own in a sea of big, male personalities. It’s no question that she played a critical role in the plot of the movie, but, what’s equally important to acknowledge is that in this movie, Natasha is a person. A real, flushed out person. She is in obvious distress about Clint’s brainwashing. She is terrified of the one of the only beings in the world she stands no chance against. She has the insight and skill to manipulate the God of Mischief. She cracks jokes and wields a mean eyebrow. Natasha is so far from the killing machine she’s been depicted as, it’s not even funny.

What I love about the Natasha we meet in The Avengers and get to know more in The Winter Soldier is that she is the “strong female character” I’ve been waiting for. Strong character in the sense that her presence is so realistic and representative of what I aspire to be as a woman: brave, scared, fun, smart, in over her head and yet sticks around when the road gets tough. In short, she’s a person, not a prop. And what a person she is.

Winter Soldier

In her own words, Natasha is (like the truth) a lot of things to a lot of people. Well, she certainly is a lot to me.