Avengers: Endgame has become a global box office sensation and a critical darling, but one aspect that has caused some division is in regards to the only female founding member of the Avengers: Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson). Mid-way through the film as the Avengers travel through time via the Quantum Realm to obtain the Infinity Stones in an attempt to undo Thanos' evil actions at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, Black Widow and Ronin/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) are tasked with getting the Soul Stone from the planet of Vorimir.
Once there, the pair realise after conversing with the Red Skull that the Soul Stone can only be obtained through the sacrifice of a life - "a soul for a soul." Old friends Natasha and Clint then fight it out for who will sacrifice themselves, with Nat going over the side of the cliff and Clint tackling her and hanging over the side holding her. An at-peace Nat let go and fell to her death, allowing Clint to obtain the Soul Stone. Some fans questioned the choice to kill the only female founding Avenger in the MCU and also the logic that because Clint had a family and she didn't (it was previously revealed in Avengers: Age of Ultron that she was sterilised by the Red Room Academy) then he should be the one to survive.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, directors Anthony and Joe Russo discussed how unique the sequence was to make. "It’s a fight to see who’s going to kill themselves," Joe Russo said. "It’s a crazy concept for a scene. And as you’ve seen in The Avengers, she’s a better fighter than he is. So when it comes down to a fight between the two of them, she wins." The directors also discussed the tormented emotions at play in the scene for both characters. "We open the movie on [Hawkeye’s] family," Anthony Russo said. "She reminds him of it in the scene. They both may have the mission in that moment where, ‘I’m not going to let you kill yourself,’ but Hawkeye has mixed agendas there, which I feel takes the edge off his focus in a way that she doesn’t."
"To me it’s one of the sadder scenes in the movie because it’s really putting two people in a Sophie’s Choice, putting two people in the position where, do you let your friend die or do you die?" Joe added. The Russo brothers also made clear why this act of self-sacrifice was the right move for Nat's story arc. "The theme of the movie is, can you change your destiny, and what does it cost to do it? And are you willing to pay that cost?" Joe said. "It’s a resounding yes from the Avengers. In [Infinity War] they said, ‘We don’t trade lives,’ and there was a desire to protect. And in this movie, there’s now a desire to sacrifice in order to accomplish the goal.
"I think that that’s a natural progression, right? ‘Well, the first thing we’re going to do is try to protect everybody.’ And then when you realize it can’t work that way, then true heroes step up and are willing to sacrifice for the greater good." Finally, the pair revealed how they considered Avengers: Endgame to conclude an arc set up by Nat's role in their preceding film Captain America: The Winter Soldier. "Natasha is a character whose identity was as a villain, prior to becoming a hero," Joe Russo said. "In The Winter Soldier, that’s an issue for Cap, because she still dabbles in shades of grey, and he’s a black-and-white guy.
"If you go back and look at that film, there’s a scene between the two of them where she says, ‘I’m struggling with my identity, and I want people to trust me because I want to be part of a family,’ and he says ‘I trust you.’ They’re growing, she’s growing to become part of this unit, and I think that she’s learning the true value of community." That will explain why she struggled so hard to move on after the Decimation. At least we know the character will return in the prequel Black Widow solo movie - but will we ever see her in the present day timeline again?
Avengers: Endgame is in cinemas now.Read More