I remember the first Marvel movie I had ever watched. A classic move by twelve-year-old me: hopping on the mainstream superhero bandwagon to watch "The Avengers" before having seen any other Marvel film. Watching "The Avengers" was life changing for me—I finally understood all the obsession surrounding the franchise, and I was hooked from the moment the musical theme started playing. I remember seeing all of these people with special powers and skills—and all of them treating each other as equals. I was able to keep up with the plot despite having no backstory (a tribute to Joss Whedon's spectacular directing), and I immediately resolved to spend time watching as many of the stand-alone films as I was able to get my hands on.
Unfortunately, I haven't managed to watch all of them yet (I need to step up my game, I know). Over the years, I've watched every "Avengers" movie, two of the "Captain America" movies, the "Thor" movies, "Spiderman: Homecoming", the "Ant Man" movies, and (my personal favorite) "Black Panther". Despite loving all of these movies (almost more than life itself… I swear I'm not obsessed with the Marvel franchise), I spent years after the first "Avengers" movie wondering why I could never find a stand-alone film of Black Widow, the primary female protagonist seen in many Marvel movies.
In every Marvel movie, I saw her as a strong, independent, well-written female character. She has an excruciatingly intriguing backstory, which the movies only occasionally hint at, but they seem to have avoided giving her the proper attention she deserves. I don't know how many hours I've spent trying to piece together her backstory (given the fact that I have not read the comics and that I do not know how much spotlight she is given when she appears as a recurring character throughout the "Avengers" comics).
Recently, I heard rumors that a "Black Widow" standalone film is in the making. I wasn't sure whether those were exactly that, rumors, but it would seem that Scarlett Johansson, as Natasha Romanoff, is finally going to star in her own movie, drawing all the attention to this brilliant female character and the conflicts she has overcome, moving from the KGB and the USSR to S.H.I.E.L.D. and the United States.
Just think about the role she plays in every "Avengers" movie: she's in charge of her own unit of combat, and she plays an integral part in the planning of attacks and defense. Her dialogue is all well-written, provides proof of thought, and shows off her individual, unique sense of humor. A "Black Widow" film would depict the story of how a young girl changed into this amazing, intelligent, bad-ass woman who terrifies anyone she faces—I can't think of a better story or a better role model to have prevalent in mainstream media.
Black Widow has proven to me that women can fight and be integral to success in the media without having to deal with being sexualized through wardrobe choices and combative roles. She serves as a reminder and an example to all the young, impressionable girls out there who want to fight or be superheroes or warriors. Natasha Romanoff is a testament to independent women, women who take charge of their own lives, missions, and destinies, and women who don't need anyone telling them what to do in order to succeed. Marvel has done a fantastic job of introducing strong female characters, sorry, warriors, into the franchise, but still. I, for one, can't wait for this story to be aired and for this feminist icon to receive the big screen time she deserves.