The massively anticipated upcoming [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) will see the Marvel Avengers team dealing with the fallout from The Avengers: Age of Ultron and a further international incident caused by the Avengers fighting in Nigera. A governing body is introduced to keep tabs on members of the team and Steve Rodgers (Captain America) isn't too happy about this. The team splits down the middle, with Tony Stark (Iron Man) in support of the governance whilst Cap is against it.
We recently got the first promo shots of our teams, which look to be as follows:
Team Captain America: Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Agent Carter, Falcon & The Winter Soldier.
Team Iron Man: War Machine, Black Widow, Black Panther & The Vision.
(No sign of Scarlet Witch as of yet, but if I had to hazard a guess I'd think she'd join Cap.)
As an ex-Soviet spy and ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. operative Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) is no stranger to pledging total loyalty to a system, which is why it may not seem immediately strange for her to be teaming up with Tony Stark on the side of the government. However I was actually a little surprised to see Black Widow standing on Iron Man's side largely due to the events of [Captain America: The Winter Soldier](tag:254973), in which she featured heavily.
Civil War In The Comics
During the Marvel Civil War Romanoff does join up with Stark as a supporter of the Superhuman Registration Act, and becomes a member of the task-force to hunt the unregistered heroes.
But there's a lot of reasons that we can't rely too heavily on the comic book version for this particular adaptation, mainly because the original Civil War is set in a far more expanded universe than the Marvel Cinematic Universe, involves a larger assembly of characters and is based upon years of building tension between numerous superhero/super-mutant groups and the general public. This is where the template for Captain America: Civil War comes from but the MCU character history is different, particularly in relation to...
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
"I think that the Widow's past will always haunt her. She's trying to move forward, she's trying to pick up the pieces of her life. I think we'll see parts of that in [Civil War] when we find her. And certainly she has a greater purpose, and I think that greater purpose is charged by this need to escape her past. So, it's always kind of right there, kind of looming over her shoulders."
Black Widow features heavily during The Winter Soldier, which if you remember, dealt primarily with the downfall of S.H.I.E.L.D. When Steve and Natasha find the preserved consciousness of supervillain Arnim Zola he reveals that Hydra agents had been infiltrating and operating within the ranks of S.H.I.E.L.D. ever since it was founded. Their aim was to stir global chaos to try and make the world surrender its freedom in exchange for security, cumulating in Project Insight: three heavily armed, satellite-linked Helicarriers designed to proactively strike out against potential threats before they even occured.
The central piece of The Winter Soldier is about the fallibility of institutions, namely those who are installed to contain and control the public, recalling attitudes around the Cold War paranoia - 'we must strike before we are struck'. Captain America refuses to support the act because he still believes in personal freedom, the same reason he opposed Project Insight in The Winter Soldier.
But he didn't go through it alone - Black Widow was right there with him the whole time, even when he was branded a fugitive. Whilst it makes perfect sense for Steve to oppose the governing body it does seem a little odd that Natasha would turn around and support them now, especially when it turns her against Steve whom we've seen her build a close relationship with during their time at S.H.I.E.L.D.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
When you take the events of [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035) into consideration - where Natasha and Bruce Banner make plans to run away together - it seems like an even stranger choice. Here she goes from ready to give it all up and drop off the grid in the last film to supporting an act that would make it impossible for her to do so.
Anyway, I have to assume her reasoning will be explained during the course of the film. Or perhaps - plot twist! - it will turn out that she is actually on Cap's side and just joined Stark to spy on the opposition. There would be a precedent for this, as both Tigra and Hulking infiltrated the other side as spies in the comics. If someone's gonna do it, it's probably gonna be Black Widow.