Avengers: Endgame marks the end of an era. Heroes that we have fallen in love with and have grown invested in are moving to new horizons. Some have died, some have survived, some have evolved into greater versions of themselves, but every character has found a certain conclusion in this Infinity Saga finale. That leads me to Black Widow.
Since the beginning, Black Widow has been an important character. She has had her various moments to shine and through the films, we’ve got to learn more and more about her backstory.
We learned that she grew up in the Red Room to be trained as an assassin. We learned, in The Avengers, that she had a debt to her good friend Hawkeye for saving her life. We also discovered as she talked to Loki, that she wanted to right the wrongs of her past.
We got to see her shed some of her facades in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and give us a deeper look into her character.
We watched her find romance with fellow Avenger, Bruce Banner in Avengers: Age of Ultron. It was during this romantic section of her life that we learned she was forcibly sterilized as a last initiation into becoming an assassin for the KGB. Unfortunately, her relationship with Bruce was cut short as he disappeared for years and she went on, living her life without the love that she had hoped for with Banner.
In Captain America: Civil War her moral compass was pushed to the test as she had to decide where her allegiances lied, with Tony Stark and the governments of the world or Captain America as a fugitive and a secret Avenger. She eventually chose to side with Steve Rogers, for she felt it was more important to help people freely than be used as a pawn for the Accords in the same way that she was used by the KGB.
When she returned in Infinity War she was a hardened warrior who had spent the last couple of years as a fugitive of the world. Her hair was dyed blond and she picked up a few new weapons along the way. Despite the obvious fact that she could be arrested for entering the fray she, along with her fellow fugitives, decided to join the fight and help protect Earth from Thanos’s grand army.
She, like everyone else, failed to stop Thanos. And that leads to Endgame which is where her story comes to an abrupt conclusion.
Since the first teaser for Endgame, I have been so excited to see Black Widow and her involvement in this story. In an interview last year, both Chris Evans and Scarlet Johannsson highlighted that their characters were at their most hardened in this film. I was excited.
Black Widow was definitely portrayed at her lowest point in Endgame.
At one point, after having a meeting with General Okoye, Captain Marvel, and if I remember correctly, War Machine, about the state of the galaxy, she breaks down crying. It’s the first time we ever see Natasha cry in the MCU, showing that she is at her most fragile state emotionally than we’ve ever seen her. She tries to put on a brave face for Steve Rogers as he comes to talk to her but they both know they’re beaten down psychologically and sometimes that means they’re prone to release a few tears every now and then.
Later in the film, she learns that her best friend, Clint Barton, has become a dark vigilante and is on a killing spree throughout the world. She goes to recruit him, telling him the plan that gives them a chance of bringing those who died back from the dead. That leads me to the main focal point of this post.
The two spies, when tasked with their mission, are thrust back in time to retrieve the Soul Stone. They, however, do not know the gut-wrenching choice that must be made to retrieve the stone but they must find out the hard way.
On Vormir they learn that a soul is the only thing that can be traded for the Soul Stone. Who is going to sacrifice themselves for the greater good? Black Widow or Hawkeye. It ultimately ends up being Black Widow who takes her life, which is a stunning twist considering that she didn’t get to play as large a role as I might’ve expected.
There were many peeved responses to the decision made to kill Black Widow off in such a shocking way but I think it is, actually, the perfect conclusion to her story. I mean, think about it. She didn’t really have anybody to love like the other Avengers if the plan did indeed work.
Tony Stark, after the five years since The Snap, had gotten married to Pepper and had a baby girl, which meant that he had something to live and to die for. Black Widow could never have children, making marriage for Natasha an unlikely route in her life.
Steve Rogers would go on to live the rest of his days with Peggy when the plan was finished. Ms. Romanoff didn’t have a Peggy. Yes, she loved Bruce, but they had reduced their relationship to friend status a long time ago, meaning that she would still lead a lonely life after the plan had finished, for better or worse.
Hawkeye had a family that he could look forward to seeing again if the plan worked so she DEFINITELY couldn’t let him sacrifice himself.
Thor has grown used to living a life without loved ones to provide him any sort of emotional support but he did have a future with the Guardians of the Galaxy, meaning at least he would have good friends to hang out with if they succeeded.
And Bruce, well, Bruce can occupy himself with science and being able to live as both The Hulk and Bruce Banner.
That leads me back to Black Widow. She didn’t have any of these things to look forward to. If she survived her story would’ve gone on as before. There would’ve been no evolution to her character and that’s boring from a writing standpoint. Her sacrifice was clearly the only way her character could leave a massive impact on the MCU moving forward.
And, it harks back to that idea that she wanted to right the wrongs of her past, for her sacrifice would ultimately save trillions of lives, and that she would finally settle the debt she owed to Hawkeye. So no, it may not have been the conclusion that we may have wanted, but it was the right end to her story for all of the above reasons.
How did you feel about Black Widow’s story in Avengers: Endgame? I’d love to hear thoughts in the comments below.
I thank you for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day.