Should 'Age of Ultron' Explore Her Backstory?

by Kadeen Griffiths

How many times have you re-watched the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer since it was leaked yesterday evening? The answer is not as much as I have. Every time I replay that two minute clip, I discover five thousand new things about it to obsess over. However, there's already a problem with the Age of Ultron trailer that I'm not sure is actually a problem. In many ways, it's a good thing. In many ways, it could be a small piece of what I want. However, in other ways, it's incredibly problematic. There might be some time devoted to exploring Black Widow's past in Avengers 2 and, if there is, then this will be the fourth time she's getting only part of someone else's movie and not one of her own.

Black Widow aka Nastaha Romanoff was first introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Iron Man 2 when she was hired by Pepper Potts to be Tony Stark's new personal assistant. While there was a degree of sexual interest on Tony's part, Natasha proved herself very capable of doing her job... and also spying on Iron Man for S.H.I.E.L.D. The next time we saw Black Widow was in The Avengers where she more than held her own against the five other men in the assembled group. We also saw a softer side of her in her friendship with Hawkeye and her quest to bring him home. Hawkeye spent most of the movie kidnapped and brainwashed by Loki and Black Widow spent most of the movie completing her mission while sparing her time tracking down Hawkeye like he owed her money.

Finally, we've seen Natasha take up a role as one of the co-leads in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The film gave roughly equal screen time to Captain America, the Winter Soldier, the Falcon, and Black Widow and the character development that the latter went through was truly beautiful. She and Captain America deepened their bond into genuine friendship, she revealed some real insecurities that she was forced to overcome, and she was a stronger person because of it. Now it's possible that we'll be seeing more into Natasha's backstory with Avengers: Age of Ultron and that's fantastic... but it's also really disappointing.

I know that we keep saying this, but Black Widow deserves to have her own film. In the Age of Ultron trailer, we were given a quick flashback to a room full of ballerinas that seem incredibly out of place unless they're allusion to Black Widow's history in the Marvel comics. In one of her character histories, Natasha was raised by the U.S.S.R.'s Black Widow Ops program and implanted with false memories to ensure her loyalty, including the memory of having once been a ballerina. In fact, the grace and flexibility she has from that false memory is incorporated into her fighting style. The line of ballerinas from the trailer could be an allusion to that, perhaps indicating that we're getting a flashback or vision of some kind.

My question then becomes why are we delving into Natasha's backstory in yet another movie that she's sharing with one or more other Avengers? Why does Natasha only deserve focus if we have lots of men who are headlining the film to focus on around her poignant history and development? With all that we know about Natasha so far from Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and now potentially Avengers: Age of Ultron, we have more than enough of a fan base and more than enough information to give her a movie of her own so we can explore any or all of these revelations in-depth.

I'm hoping, since DC announced an upcoming Wonder Woman movie, that Age of Ultron is the last time that Natasha will have to share the spotlight before Marvel announces that she's finally, finally, finally getting a movie of her own. She is the only Avenger besides Hawkeye to not have her own designated film in the MCU mythos that builds to the Avengers movies. And it's hard to complain that Hawkeye should also get his own film when he would just be the fifth male in the superhero gang to also get his own movie before the sole woman does. The fact that Marvel introduced an entirely new superhero group — the Guardians of the Galaxy — before the only female Avenger got her own movie is a constant source of disappointment regardless of how much I enjoyed that film.

I'm glad that we get to find out more about Black Widow in Age of Ultron. Really, I am. I hope that short clip really did indicate that we're diving further into her character. But I'm tired of watching her only get a small piece of a larger pie. Please let this be the last film she'll appear in before headlining a movie of her own, Marvel. DC is in the female superhero movie game. Why aren't you?

Check out the trailer below.

Image: YouTube