Even since before the trailer for [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) dropped we knew that we were gonna see the two of the heavyweight Avengers going head to head on the big screen: place your bets folks, it's Captain America vs Iron Man and someone's gonna get rekt.
But it's not just a boys club, because nobody puts Scarlett Johansson in the corner; Black Widow is still here and she's not going away. Deal with it.
Though we didn't see a huge amount of her in the trailer it doesn't mean she's not important. Ever since the Russos confirmed that Civil War will act as a follow up not to [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035) but to 2014's The Winter Soldier we suspected that Natasha Romanoff would play a pretty big part in Civil War, and we weren't wrong.
Natasha Is Tony Stark?
Let me clarify: in the comic book iteration of Civil War Tony Stark / Iron Man is forced to turn against Steve Rogers / Captain America when their ideologies clash. Driven by guilt over the Stamford Incident - which resulted in the deaths of many civilians including children - Stark is driven to support the Superhero Registration Act as a way of attempting to make amends.
Steve Rogers, on the other hand, choses to oppose the Act out of a belief that super-powered beings should not be used to fulfil governmental purposes. That power can be abused, he explains when confronted by Maria Hill:
"Don't play politics with me, Hill. Super heroes need to stay above that stuff or Washington starts telling us who the super-villains are."
When Tony and Steve go head to head in the comics they aren't doing it because they hate each other; that's why it's so affecting. They're more than teammates, they're friends, they have a bond forged in battle and blood and their ideologies test that, pushing it to the breaking point.
But, we don't really have that same friendship established between Iron Man and Cap in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There's no real substance to back this up in the MCU, no fault of the universe's framework itself but of the nature of the form; nearly 80 years work of comic book history vs 17 years of cinematic adaptation - it's just not comparable in terms of size and scope.
So adaptations have to be made, and who is better suited to take the "friend turned enemy" role of Tony Stark in relation to Captain America than Black Widow herself?
Widow's Gonna Getcha
[Captain America: The Winter Soldier](tag:254973) in many ways was as much about the development of Steve and Natasha's relationship as it was about the Winter Soldier himself.
They're both somewhat unwitting pawns in the schemes of larger governments, something which Steve teaches Natasha to question over the course of the film. Together they take down the Hydra agents within S.H.I.E.L.D., collapsing the system to cleanse it of corruption (sounds pretty rebellious to me).
Co-director Joe Russo has confirmed that the relationship between the two will be tested, as they now find themselves on opposite sides of the schism, sides that Natasha will try to bring together:
"We thought it would be interesting to take that relationship [between Steve and Natasha] that was so strong in Winter Soldier, and test it. She sees that they have made mistakes, very public mistakes and she’s trying to convince Steve that it might not be as black and white as he sees it and maybe they have some culpability, and maybe they have to accept that culpability, and then find a way to work within the system so that the Avengers aren’t disbanded."
So Widow is kicking about almost as much as Tony Stark in the Civil War trailer, and like Tony does in the comic books she pleads with Steve to reconsider his course of action. Because they're friends and all. Best buds. Pals.
"I know how much Bucky means to you... Stay out of this one, please. You'll only make this worse."
More Character Development
Putting Natasha in the spotlight doesn't just make sense from a narrative point of view either, it's a great answer to the cries of many a Marvel fan hoping to see more Black Widow.
The Black Widow inclusion debate has been raging for years now, as the most prolific female Avenger is still relegated to the background and shoehorned into being a love interest and excluded from merchandising.
Marvel stars from Mark Ruffalo to Clark Gregg have spoken out about the need for more representation for Natasha, and from the sounds of it that's what we're gonna see in Civil War.
Anthony Russo: "It’s a great position to put Natasha in in this movie. In a way, her head is with Tony’s side of things, but her heart is with Cap in a lot of ways. It’s a really awesome spot for her as a character in the film."