We Need to Talk About Black Widow

Warning! There will be spoilers ahead.

With more female superheroes finally coming to the MCU and the success of Captain Marvel, it was infuriating to see how Endgame reverted to old habits while screaming that they were feminist with a three-second, all-female heroes group shot at the end. But that was not all of their female heroes - they were missing their most important female hero, the one that started it all: Black Widow.

Photo Credit to CBR

Black Widow was the MCU’s first female superhero, holding her own in the boys club for years. The second of the six original Avengers introduced, Natasha Romanoff, played by Scarlet Johansson, has been a grounding influence on the MCU since Iron Man 2.  With Captain America and Iron Man leaving, and Black Widow finally getting her stand-alone movie next year, it would make sense for them to pass the baton to Nat, making her the new leader of the Avengers.

At the beginning of Endgame, it looked like maybe that was the direction the film was going to go. After the five-year skip, we see Nat at the Avengers compound, holding a conference with the heroes who are scattered across earth and space. Though she is broken from loss, she is holding it together to do her job and keep people safe.

All of that hope is lost when the movie does the unthinkable: they kill off Nat to give the remaining Avengers more motivation to finish the fight. She sacrifices herself for Clint, aka Hawkeye, so that he can return to his family after five years of being a lethal killer. Makes sense.

Saving Clint and sacrificing herself for the Soul Stone and the only real family she has ever known, the Avengers, is very on-brand for Nat. Her death is not the worst part of her treatment in this movie - it is the lack of respect for her death that is infuriating. She is forgotten, a blip in the war to stop Thanos. She deserves more respect than that.

Not only does Nat not get a funeral, unless you count the small scene in which the rest of the original six cry for her to gain motivation to keep fighting. Black Widow is not mentioned for the rest of the movie after that, except for two one liners from Clint and Bruce Banner at the end of the film. Natasha Romanoff deserved more than that. The women and girls watching the movie deserved more than that too.

Seeing the rest of the original six alone on that pier was a big reminder of how far Marvel has come. Without Nat, it is just five white guys crying on a dock.

Photo Credit: Karen Gillan's Instagram and Reddit

She deserved a funeral so people could know her sacrifice and show respect. Nat was the first female superhero - the one that laid down all of the groundwork for more women to come. Without her, there wouldn’t be an all-female heroes group shot. There would be no Captain Marvel, Gamora, Okoye, Shuri, Scarlet Witch, Valkyrie, Nebula, the Ancient One, Mantis, Wasp or Rescue. Nat is the one that started it all. She deserved to be there. Having an all-female hero shot did not distract us from the killing of Black Widow. It only amplified the fact that she was not there. The leader of the pack, the one that started it all, was missing from the group shot that she was responsible for helping to build.

Photo from Twitter

The MCU has taken Black Widow for granted, time and time again. I thought we were finally past the terrible storylines she used to get like in "Avengers: Age of Ultron" in which she is a “monster” because she cannot have kids. Unfortunately, we haven’t come as far as I thought. Killing Nat off without the proper goodbye and trying to pretend the movie is still feminist with an all-female group shot, excluding the woman that started it all, is unforgivable.