black widow avengers age ultron

Am I A Sexist Asshole if I Want BLACK WIDOW In a Smaller Role in AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON?


I DON’T LIKE BLACK WIDOW.

Sorry. I just don’t like her that much. And she shouldn’t have a big role in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

I especially don’t enjoy Joss Whedon’s self aggrandizing “we need a strong female character!” rhetoric that he used to inflate Widow’s role in the first Avengers. Listen, I agree, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes looks a bit too much like Earth’s Whitest/Angloest/Malest Sausage Party, but that’s part of its architecture. The original Avengers were, if nothing else, fantasy fare for adolescent American boys. Boys who lived in the 1960’s, no less. Hell, the very Jewish McJewerson creators of these heroes couldn’t even allow the characters to reflect their own semitic culture, and thus created an entire landscape of vanilla vigilantes. Those generic roots are very much central to the characters and their identities. And its that context, and those origins, which Marvel Studios have adapted for the big screen. If Marvel cast Captain America as a lady soldier, Hulk as an Afro-Cuban scientist, Iron Man as a… well, you get the idea… I would’ve had no problem with it. This would’ve been the canon of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it would’ve solved their diversity problem.

female avengers diverse

But they didn’t do that.

They created Marvel Phase 1 with 4 big male vanilla heroes in mind: Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and Hulk. Each of those Big 4 received their own film, all in preparation for The Avengers. The entire spectacle of that team-up flick was based in the unprecedented crossover of 4 massive franchises. Not since the Universal Monsters years had a studio intertwined massive characters in a single cinematic narrative, and even then, no one’s ever achieved anything as cohesive as Marvel’s. So EXCUSE ME for wanting to focus on the interaction between those marquis characters, and not a supporting one like Scarlet Johansson’s Black Widow.

Thor. Hulk. Captain America. Iron Man. I ran to the theatres to watch The Avengers opening day because of those four characters. And I felt absolutely slighted that Black Widow received more screentime than Hulk and Thor. Hell, for a second tier character, she received nearly 3 times as much screen time as her male compliment Hawkeye.

Joss Whedon basically said “Too many penises! There are far too many penises in this flick! Since I’m so hip, and a feminist, I’m going to elevate Black Widow’s importance. Yeah! That’ll do it.”

Which I completely understand. There ARE too many lead penises in the Avengers. But that’s the way Marvel designed their universe. My complaints aren’t based in “Female character bad. Male character cool”. If Allison Brie was cast as Captain America (and she actually would’ve created a badass Captain America, as the picture above suggests) then she absolutely should’ve received the most screentime. And if Chris Evans was cast as Black Widow (he would’ve made a HORRIBLE Widow) he should’ve received the least screentime. Again, the cool part about The Avengers is watching these standalone heroes from their own successful films team-up in one massive blockbuster.

If Joss Whedon wants more lead female characters in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, then he should petition Marvel Studios to create a Captain Marvel movie, Spider Woman movie, or a Rescue flick (Pepper Potts in the Iron Man armor). Hell, Black Widow looks to get a fair shake in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where she plays the female lead. A very organic decision, as well, since Chris Evan’s Captain America works so closely with SHIELD during that phase of his career, and Widow is his natural foil.

I get Whedon’s point. I really do. But by artificially increasing Black Widow’s importance in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, he’s just diluting the strength of the movie, not improving the narrative. Especially since Black Widow’s meant to represent all women as one superhero. It’s ambitious, faulty, and it drags down the spectacle.

avengers age of ultron suit

S#!T Talking Central

  • TheGoddamnBader

    But she received more screen time in The Avengers because everyone else had a solo movie with hours of screen time.

    Black Widow, alongside Coulson are the SHIELD agents who bring The Avengers together and so they act as the link between all the heroes.

    • Unleash The Fanboy

      See, that doesn’t make sense to me. Coulson and Fury should have had bigger roles with that in mind. Hawkeye should have had a bigger role than Widow, by that sense, too. He was on the actual Avengers roster but didn’t have the benefit of having a fleshed out role like Widow had in Iron Man 2.

      Again, I watch the Avengers for the Big 4, not to give a supporting character extra screen time because they didn’t have their own flick.

      • TheGoddamnBader

        But Black Widow’s role as an espionage SHIELD agent was clearly being set up from her first appearance in Iron Man 2.
        She was tasked with gathering intel on Tony Stark. Alongside Coulson, they were the ones on the ground talking to each member of the future team of Avengers. Nick Fury assigned them both because they’re specialists in that regard.

        Hawkeye… can shoot arrows, but other than that, he hasn’t really been shown to be adept at what Coulson and Black Widow do.

        Supporting characters like Coulson and Black Widow are the ones who enable viewers to connect to the world, they help set it up so that we can see a world in which The Avengers can exist. Less screen time isn’t a criteria for being a supporting character.

        • Unleash The Fanboy

          I disagree. Leads generally have more screentime than supporting characters.

          As well, Coulson had the same role as Black Widow in the first Thor movie, but he didn’t receive nearly as much spotlight in The Avengers. I much prefer the size of his role to Black Widow’s. Joss Whedon himself stated that he increased Widow’s role to provide more ‘female’ in the dude fest, and I think it was a vanity move

          • TheGoddamnBader

            The reason Coulson didnt receive MORE spotlight in the Avengers is because they had other plans for him.
            1) They wanted to use him as a plot device to “motivate” The Avengers.
            2) They wanted to give him a starring role on Agents of SHIELD.

            The thing about adding diversity and representation in media is that the way to make it work is by making the character fully developed and independent – Black Widow fulfills that criteria.

            Lead roles generally have more screen time, but supporting characters can have just as much screen time as a main character, sometimes. Having less screen time isn’t what makes a supporting character a supporting character.

          • Unleash The Fanboy

            You’re right, but having more screentime than a lead character because of a lack of female characters is the reason why Black Widow was featured more prominently. Again, I agree, The Avengers lacked good female characters, but expanding Black Widow’s role past Thor and Hulk’s was not the way to fix that problem.

          • TheGoddamnBader

            Neither is introducing a brand new character that won’t be anywhere NEAR as developed as Black Widow was. When Black Widow showed up in The Avengers, everyone knew who she was already.

          • Nathan Clark

            and she is boring, I’m sorry to say that a year late.

  • Henry Winkler

    maybe you’re just gay

    • Michael Moore

      Edit: crap, my phone replied to this comment by an accident

      I agree, and not because I’m a woman-hating, oppressive male, but because she’s a pretty crappy adaptation of the character. Russian spy my ass. I hope more and more women get introduced to the marvel cinematic universe because black widow really isn’t doing it for me.

      • TheGoddamnBader

        Why is she a crappy adaptation of the character? I’m not familiar with Black Widow’s comic book stuff.

        • Michael Moore

          And that’s why you don’t see why

          • TheGoddamnBader

            I was kind of hoping you’d explain it to me…

          • Michael Moore

            Well does Scarlett Johansson look like a Russian spy? Nope.

          • TheGoddamnBader

            What does a Russian spy look like?

  • Robert Speers

    I tried to see your point. I really did. But I kinda want to just vomit all over this post.

  • http://montypla.tumblr.com/ MontyPla

    Yes, yes you are a sexist asshole. Congrats.

  • Watts

    The part I’m having trouble with is this: Making Captain America female is no big deal, but making the Black Widow a more significant character is? I personally love the character, despite it being quite a departure from the comics. That having been said… Isn’t making her a slightly different and more significant character just the way she is in the Marvel Movie Universe? Doesn’t your argument for making the Hulk a woman apply here too?

    At the end of the day… I think your real issue is that you don’t like the character, and it has nothing to do with gender issues at all. In which case, hey – you’re entitled to your opinion, but I think she’s great.

    • Unleash The Fanboy

      I don’t have too big of a problem with film makers loosely adapting the source material. Sometimes it’s awful (see Elektra) but most times it’s great (Blade, X-Men, Iron Man, etc). So if Marvel Studios changed the gender of one of it’s lead 4, I would’ve asked ‘why?”, but it wouldn’t have bothered me too much. But I really just want to see the big guys play in The Avengers movies, and I don’t care too much for the supporting cast. Especially when Whedon plainly stated that he inflated Widow’s role because of a lack of female characters in the Avengers script. Sure, I agree there was a a lack of females, but I don’t agree with his solution.

  • BlackWidowFan

    this post is complete horse shit scalett johansson is amazing as black widow and was amazing in iron man 2 avengers and captain america winter soldier all those movies wouldnt have been the same without her i think she is a vital character because superhero movies these days are all filled with guys and no important female heros but now black widows changed that now shes getting her own movie so shove your post up your sexist ass !!!!

  • swanpride

    Eh…I rather see a female character come into her own instead of making a female knock-off of a male Superhero. Also, the Avengers always had male AND female members, so having one female member is actually not enough, and if they had bothered to give her a movie beforehand, they wouldn’t have needed to establish her during the Avengers…not that I think that she got so much more screen time in the end. The movie somehow managed to have all character having an encounter with Loki, and most of them holding a meaningful conversation with each other.
    And how can you judge how “inflated” her importance is in the next Avenger movie until you have actually seen it? What are you complaining about? That she is supposed to get an actual story-line, just like everyone else?

  • Zefram Mann

    Randomly happened upon this article and sincerely wish I hadn’t. You sir are a disgrace of a human being.

  • Nathan Clark

    very good points. and yes, they will call you a misogynist for this. Women are too weak anyway to take truth. they have to be handled the same way your criticism of the movie need to be handled…..give them time they don’t deserve lol. clearly they don’t. seriously though, no joke.