She is perhaps one of the most badass characters in the Marvel Universe, a human with no superhuman capabilities but having reached the pinnacle of human abilities. Even without technology or otherworldly powers backing her, she stands tall alongside the Avengers and helps them with capabilities paralleling theirs. The only other human who comes close is Clint Barton (Hawkeye).
Born in Stalingrad and orphaned, Natasha Romanoff was recruited by the KGB at a young age and trained to be a lethal assassin in the Red Room Academy. Here she was trained in skills and knowledge required to be a master spy and under their strict regime and environment she never failed in a single test. Soon she rose to be a star pupil and became a renowned assassin. Her excellent marksmanship and other skills earned her the title of Black Widow.
She worked as a KGB spy for years and was an antagonist in the beginning. Her expertise as a spy made her a target of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury sent Clint Barton to eliminate her, but after Hawkeye personally witnessed her skills, he decided to ask S.H.I.E.L.D. to recruit her. Hence this led to Black Widow defecting from Russia and joining S.H.I.E.L.D.
Black Widow’s fighting style is very versatile as she was trained in multiple martial arts and other combat styles ranging from kung-fu to wrestling. Alongside these technical skills she uses gymnastics and acrobatics to accomplish her missions. She has a good command of many weapons and is seen using guns and batons frequently. She can even get a good hold on weapons she has never used such as the Chitauri Staff. She has mastery of many languages such as Russian, Latin, Italian French, etc. On the other hand, she has a vast knowledge of human anatomy which she uses to her advantage while attacking her enemies. Her versatility, intelligence and adaptability makes her a formidable enemy and a precious ally.
Life As A S.H.I.E.L.D Agent
Romanoff began her life as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and soon started assisting the Avengers in their missions. In the movies, she first appeared as Natalie Rushman in front of Tony Stark, as a spy to infiltrate Stark Industries. Since then, she has appeared in every mission assigned to the Avengers. Soon she became an integral part of it and has since played key roles in taking down many of the antagonists. Some notable moments are her encounter with the Chitauri Army, her fight with the Winter Soldier, helping in taking down Ivan Vanko, Ultron and Thanos. She is also perhaps the only one who could control an angry Hulk.
Considering that she was trained to be a master spy, it’s hard to ascertain Natasha’s personality. She knows the art of duping people by altering her persona according to the situation. Still, she is a devoted agent and performs her missions with utmost professionalism and perfection. With the Avengers she does show her true nature slowly as she opens up with them. She seems especially close to Steve Rogers and Barton, frequently using her sarcastic humour around them.
After the Snap that wiped off half the population on Earth, the Avengers started to look for the Infinity Stones in alternative pasts. In this pursuit, Hawkeye and Black Widow were sent to bring in the Soul Stone. On arriving on Vormir to collect the Soul Stone, they came to know that one would have to sacrifice the one they love to obtain the stone. This started a contemplation between Romanoff and Barton, each of whom wanted to sacrifice themselves to protect the other. In the end, Romanoff sacrificed herself in order to save Hawkeye. This brought an end to her story.
Even though throughout the years she has been a supporting character, she has been a very popular and indispensable part of the Avengers. Her presence throughout the franchise has warranted the need for a movie solely on her. Finally, it seems to have culminated into reality.
With her death wrapping up the chapter of the Avengers, the movie seems to take a look into her past. The trailers have revealed the antagonist to be someone who controls the Red Room, the academy where she was trained. It seems her spy work before joining the Avengers had gained her some formidable enemies, and her adversary could be one of them. They also show another female assassin working with her, who could be her sister or have a sisterly relation with her through the academy. Overall it feels like this movie is going to be a deeper look into her origins and her finally facing her past. Hopefully this film will give this underrated but extraordinary character the fitting attention she deserves.
Written by Anushka Bhattacharyya for MTTN
Edited by Avaneesh M for MTTN
Featured artwork by Adil Khan for MTTN