After [Captain America: The Winter Soldier](tag:254973) saw Black Widow and Captain America team up in an unlikely friendship, fans were surprised when it was announced that Natasha would be siding with Iron Man in the inevitable schism of [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409). Aside from her friendship with Steve, many fans criticised the Russo brothers' decision to have Natasha advocate government control of the Avengers. But as Scarlett Johansson, and the Russo brothers, reveal, Black Widow's role in Civil War makes total sense for her character...
Despite the trailer playing down Black Widow's importance she does make an impact: in the midst of all the fighting and raised emotions in the Civil War trailer, Natasha Romanoff stands out as being... pretty calm, actually.
As the Avengers come to blows over the issue of accountability, Natasha seems to be trying to keep the peace.
“I know how much Bucky means to you… Stay out of this one. Please. You’ll only make things worse.”
During the Marvel movies we've watched Natasha go from a ruthless assassin to questioning the morality of her actions, and Civil War gives her the chance to take a stand for what she believes in. And as Scarlett Johansson revealed to Entertainment Weekly, it's Natasha choice that is crucial for her role in Civil War.
"She’s finally capable of making a choice for herself. Which is kind of a milestone in someone’s life when they’ve not really participated in the decisions that were made for them. She’s finally at a place where she’s going, 'Okay, I actually kind of know what I want. And I think I kind of deserve it'."
Natasha's choice is to fight for her ideals of transparency and accountability, but unfortunately there's a lot more to this conflict than intellectual convictions...
Seeing Both Sides
Stepping away from the conflict seems to be the key: the Russos previously explained that the crux of the issue in Civil War is each character's personal relationships.
At the end of the day, the story is about how far people will go to protect their friends. Tony and Steve both have intense personal stakes in the issue. On the other hand, for once in her life Natasha finds herself in a position of objectivity, and she uses that to try and reason with the other heroes.
"Natasha’s a very strategic thinker and that’s her strongpoint. Her superpowers, if you want to call them that, are her experience, her ability to make usually the right decision in a quick moment. And she’s not personally invested. I mean, that’s what she tells herself anyway. And so that keeps her head kind of level and clear."
Of course, with such a tense issue, there's no doubt that Natasha will end up getting involved emotionally. The Russos commented to Empire that while Natasha rationally supports Tony, "her heart is with Cap in a lot of ways."
This makes Black Widow able to understand both points of view and crucially, will lead her to try and unite the heroes again.
"You know, I think she understands where everyone is coming from. And none of it really matters to her, you know? There’s a bigger problem at hand and she’s, I think, strangely, kind of the mediator."
Of course, whether Black Widow will be successful in her attempts at mediation remain to be seen, but it's clear that her friendship with Steve will be strained at the very least by her actions in Civil War.
Taking A Stand
So why is it so important to Natasha that she support transparency? It actually makes a lot of sense, especially considering her journey in The Winter Soldier. After Black Widow revealed her darkest secrets to the world it's understandable that she would want to distance herself from the idea of vigilantism and violence without consequences.
In the final scenes of the film, Natasha is seen in court, defending Captain America's decision to take down SHIELD. Siding with Steve in Civil War would probably undo all she tried to accomplish, as she would only tarnish her reputation further. After all the morally dubious deeds she's committed, Natasha is still trying to wipe the red from her ledger.
"She has this kind of greater calling and this huge pull towards doing what’s right for the greater good. And she chooses that, and it’s a really heroic thing that she does, I think. "
Will Black Widow be successful? It all remains to be seen, but if Scarlett Johansson's comments prove nothing else, it's that she and the Russos have thought long and hard about everyone's motivations in this film. Which will only make it all the more awesome!
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