Natalia Alianovna Romanoff, Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow is a fictional character based on Marvel Comics. This character is portrayed by Scarlett Johansson In the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film franchise. She was introduced in movie Iron Man 2 (2010) & now after almost a decade she finally got her solo movie Black Widow (2021).
Natasha Romanoff is a Russian Spy, trained martial artist, expert in hand-to-hand combatant, sniper, and outfitted with an arsenal of high-tech weaponry, including a pair of wrist-mounted energy weapons dubbed her “Widow’s Bite”.
Natasha spent her childhood in getting trained in the Red Room. After graduating from Red Room as Black Widow, she started working as an operative for the KGB & was targeted by S.H.I.E.L.D. But later she destroys the Red Room along with Clint Barton (played by Jeremy Renner) & eventually joins the counter-terrorism agency S.H.I.E.L.D. Further she becomes prominent member of the Avengers.
Black Widow’s(Natasha Romanoff) Character Arc
This arc tries to explain the evolution of Natasha Romanoff through out the MCU. Her persona, attitude and relationship are deeply explored further.
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow was introduced into MCU through Iron Man 2, though as the title goes the movie was more about Iron Man (played by Robert Downey Jr) rather than Black Widow. But still they somehow introduced her character. She went undercover for S.H.I.E.L.D., under the name Natalie Rushman to Tony’s house as a notary public within legal department of Stark Industries for some documents related work, but she was sent undercover to watch Tony Stark due to the fear that he was dying, as commanded by Nick Fury.
She first encountered with Tony Stark when He & Happy Hogan were in boxing ring. There she demonstrates her combat skills by defeating Happy Hogan in boxing ring within seconds. Later Tony appoints her as his Personal Assistant as replacement of his previous assistant Pepper Potts (as she is now appointed as CEO of Stark Industries).
Later Natasha along with Fury confronts about her real identity as Agent Natasha Romanoff to Tony.
By the end of the movie, we could finally see her in action, when she alone defeats Hammer’s security guards with ease that were coming her way, Romanoff plays important role in defeating Hammer’s security forces, & she also uses her hacking skills to return control of the Rhodes’ armor, allowing Stark and Rhodes to defeat Vanko and the drones.
In short, this movie introduced her as one of most efficient Agent & just gave a glimpse of her combat skills & her smartness when she hacked Hammer’s security forces.
The Avengers (2012)
It was about all the Six Avengers coming together in order to fight against Loki & his Chitauri army (an alien race led by thanos) in New York City who tried to invade Earth. Natasha was one of the Six Avengers, she also assisted Nick Fury in recruiting Bruce Banner (The Hulk) & Tony Stark (Iron Man) into the Avengers Initiative. She made Loki reveal his plans with her smooth interrogative skills. She also saved Clint Barton (Hawkeye) from Loki’s mind control.
Romanoff joined the Avengers team during the Battle of New York and played an important role in destroying the portal over the city that was created by the Tesseract, this resulted in end of the entire invasion by Loki & he was defeated and captured.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
After defeating Loki all the Avengers went back to their daily life. Natasha too continued her work in S.H.I.E.L.D., but this time along with Steve Rogers / Captain America (played by Chris Evans). While working together, following an assassination on Nick Fury, they discovered about SHIELD being infiltrated by HYDRA.
Natasha helped in exposing Alexander Pierce’s evil plan to the world, which eventually revealed her history also, so as a result she had to again go undercover & start rebuilding her cover.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
In this movie all the Avengers Assemble once again to stop the villainous Ultron from enacting his terrible plans of wiping out humans. So, we can’t really expect much for Natasha’s character, still maybe just a bit but this movie introduced Natasha’s dark past & gave a glimpse of Red Room through flashbacks, Red Room- a place where Romanoff (and many other young girls) was both trained as an assassin and forcibly sterilized.
Her Dark Past led her to believe that she is a monster. This movie also gave her relation with Bruce Banner aka The Hulk (played by Mark Ruffalo) a romantic angle. Although initially it was all sudden but still their interactions were heartwarming. They both had a unique connection. This movie started but it also soon ended their love story (as we can Hulk (Bruce) heads into the space & lost his connection with everyone)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
As a result of the recent battles of Avengers, a lot of governments of the World wanted Avengers to sign the Sokovia Accords.
When it came to signing the Sokovia Accords – a document that would allow a UN panel to oversee the actions of the Avengers team, Tony & Steve both had different opinions regarding it, Tony even Natasha was ready to sign it whereas Steve wasn’t. It’s fascinating that her friendship with Rogers is tested but she also sees the need for some kind of oversight to prevent innocent people from getting hurt.
Despite of all the disagreements, when Steve was in grief due to death of Peggy Carter, she went to him & was with him there as a friend, she didn’t want him to feel left alone. Later Fight arose between Tony & Steve due to their difference of opinion with the Accords. Initially Natasha was in Tony’s team, but by the end we can see her picking her friend Steve’s side by helping him & Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) to runaway. This led to violation of the Sokovia Accords, as a result she had to escape from government.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Post Black Widow Events she soon joined Steve Rogers & Wilson to free the imprisoned Avengers. As Avengers team was disbanded the three were on the run from government & were working alone in Syria to stop terrorist cells, but when Thanos approached earth in the form of threat Natasha, Steve & Wilson protected Vision from Thanos, as he was after the mind stone that was fitted in Vision’s forehead. They all together went to Wakanda to remove stone from Vision’s head but soon Thanos & his army attacked Wakanda to obtain the mind stone.
Natasha along with other Avengers tried to protect the mind stone & Wakanda from Thanos, but they couldn’t stop him from collecting the mind stone & from doing the snap. Soon half of the human life got turned into dust. Only a few survived the snap, Natasha was one of the survivors.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
This movie kind of justified with Natasha’s character. We could see more of her role until first half of the movie.
When half of the world got dusted by Thanos’ snap she felt really guilty that she along with other avengers couldn’t stop Thanos & protect the world. She now started looking after the population that is left behind after the snap, she took updates from the remaining avengers (Okoye, Rocket Raccoon, Nebula, War Machine & Captain Marvel) about what’s going on in the world & made sure that there isn’t any other threat around the world.
In an emotional conversation with Steve, she reveals that she was a different person before joined S.H.I.E.L.D. & the Avengers team, she considered them as their family, now that a few of them weren’t there she felt miserable. Soon when she got to know about time travel / quantum realm from Scott Lang (Ant Man) she along with rest of the Avengers saw a ray of hope to bring back the ones who got dusted due to Thanos Snap, she was also able to convince Hawkeye about their time travel plan (as he was going wrong way out of grief of losing his family in the snap).
She along with other Avengers was determined to travel back in time to collect Infinity Stones & bring back the dusted ones. While doing so Natasha & Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) went to Vormir to collect Soul Stone that can only be acquired with an act of sacrifice. A soul is needed to be sacrificed in order to acquire the Soul Stone, so they both were ready to sacrifice but eventually Natasha sacrificed her life willing to save her friends & universe, she jumped off the Vormir mountains & sacrificed her life (this scene was really heart wrenching). So, Hawkeye returned with Soul Stone but without Natasha.
Black Widow (2021)
This movie is set between Captain America: Civil War & Avengers: Infinity War.
She was on the run from government for helping Steve Rogers & violating Sokovia Accords, she was being chased by Secretary of State Thadeus Ross (played by William Hurt), then her sister Yelena Belova not biological though (played by Florence Pugh) sent her messages & tells her about the existence of Red Room & a lot of young women still go through intense training in order to turn them into Black Widow (even if it’s against their will).
Natasha thought she destroyed Red Room along with Dreykov (played by Ray Winstone) with the help of Clint Barton before joining S.H.I.E.L.D., although while doing so she also took his daughter’s Antonia Dreykov’s life as collateral damage this made her feel guilty & haunted her for the rest of her life. Now that she discovered about resurgence of Red Room, she decided to destroy it completely, also free all the widows.
But this time she doesn’t know the exact location of Red Room, so for this she reunites with Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour) & Melina Vostokoff (played by Rachel Weisz) as they worked closely with Dreykov previously, who were also her parents though not biological. They all (Yelena, Alexei & Melina) reunite & work together to bring down Red Room.
The Movie Culture Synopsis
Even though black widow played an important role while forming the Avengers team & she was also one of the original Six Avengers, still MCU wasn’t really able to show her story more as compared to the other Avengers. Even Scarlett Johansson herself said initially her character just felt like an Eye Candy.
Only Avengers movie could change this perspective (specially Endgame). She didn’t had any supernatural powers, suit or anything like that still she always tried to save the world. Her efforts to save the world, especially her sacrifice in Endgame proved why she was part of Avengers Team.
She finally got her solo movie after almost a decade but only after her tragic death or we can say sacrifice to save the universe in Endgame. Natasha is dead (as shown in Endgame) so her stand alone movie will be a prequel that is set after Captain America: Civil War & before the events of Avengers: Infinity War.
We will finally get to know her side of story, how she got turned into a black widow, her dark past which she was running away until now & maybe even what exactly happened in Budapest. Check our Character Sketch on Maleficent.