vejigante asked: If they did do a Black Widow solo movie, how would you like them to go about doing the film? And who do you think they should pick as the antagonist?
First, I wouldn’t do a straight adaptation of any particular arc. I’d mix up a bunch of them and add some flourishes specific to the MCU, to ground out the shared universe.
Moviegoers want, and expect, origin stories, but I think it would be a mistake to start there. Part of Natasha’s appeal is in her mystery— so you can’t give away all her secrets straight off.
So, we open with the movie SHIELD setup, Fury and the hellicarrier and supporting figures as necessary. Clint, Coulson, Maria Hill, some combination of these, and there’s the typical banter there about “heh heh those superpower types don’t know how to stick to business.” That’s what Natasha got called in for, business, and Fury has a mission for her, tracking down some shadowy uberterrorist in some distant corner of the globe. That’s why they got Natasha for this, Fury will explained, because they can’t just hit this guy with a thunder hammer. They have to know who’s supplying him, who gave him the the training, what his motives are— and it has to be done quietly.
Cue up a James Bond style action movie plot with lots of twists and explosions and gadgets, the kind of spy-fi thriller you’d expect from the MCU aesthetic. Natasha has to get close to this mysterious bad guy and she has to use all her mettle and training to do it.
But interspersed with all this, we see flashbacks to her past. She was raised by an old soldier named Ivan, a man with ambiguous ties to ambiguous spy agencies. They catch up with him, eventually, the work always does, but Natasha will do anything to save Ivan, and so she does. That’s how she winds up in the Red Room. But she still isn’t sure she’s done the right thing… and that’s when she meets Alexi.
He was a hero pilot, once, but now he’s caught up in the same secret programs. They fall in love, get married in secret, and talk about running away. But something holds them back— Alexi says they’ll be traitors. They’ll get killed. And then Alexi does get killed, and all Natasha has left is her job.
The flashbacks are shot with a brutal sentimentality. The young woman we see there should seem initially at odds with the secret agent going about her business with cunning efficiency. But you know how the story goes. The bad guy is Alexi, or him and their old employers. They faked his death, to ensure his loyalty. And hers. But that didn’t work, did it?
Natasha explains, through flashback and through just explaining, that yes, for a time Alexi’s death made her blindly loyal. She threw herself into her missions because it distracted her from the grief. But eventually, she came to realize that the grief was more worthwhile than the missions, that what she had with Alexi, that chance of compassion, was worth risking her life for. So she defected to SHIELD, so she could be the kind of person who saved people, not the kind of person that hunted them down. And we understand that Natasha alone was strong enough to make the choice that she couldn’t, with Alexi.
Final fight scene, Natasha defeats bad guys, Alexi dies again, either by Natasha’s hand, or his own. It’s a bittersweet conclusion, and when Fury checks in, to see how the mission went, Natasha tells him that she knows he knew it was Alexi all along. She knows he sent her into this to test her instincts and her loyalty. Mission accomplished, she tells him. And she says, “I did this to save the world. Because it was the right thing to do. But I’m not yours.”
Something like that, anyway!! Mostly I’d just want something that built out of her own mythos, something that played into her melancholy, and the tensions between compassion, duty, and control, without devolving into full-on child soldier cliché. And no Winter Soldier, or at least, not very much— I’d want a Black Widow movie to focus on Black Widow, not building up a Captain America sequel. I’m fine with them introducing that at a later date, I guess, but not as part of Natasha’s origin, you know?