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MASSIVE spoilers ahead for Avengers: Endgame. If you haven't seen it, look away!
It's been over a week since Avengers: Endgame arrived in theaters, and the public is still recovering from the massively ambitious blockbuster. Despite the dizzying amount of characters that popped up to move the story forward, Endgame was really about the survivors of Thanos' snap-- especially the original Avengers lineup.
Chief among these characters is Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, who has been with the shared universe since back in Iron Man 2. Natasha Romanoff went through a massive arc during her tenure in the MCU, and Endgame was no exception. Because after holding together the survivors in the wake of the snap, she ultimately sacrifices herself in exchange for the Soul Stone during the time heist.
This is a decision that has rocked the fandom, and there are some critics who aren't a fan of how Widow went out. Now The Russo Brothers have opened up about the death scene, with Joe Russo saying:
The theme of the movie is, can you change your destiny, and what does it cost to do it? And are you willing to pay that cost?It’s a resounding yes from the Avengers. In [Infinity War] they said, ‘We don’t trade lives,’ and there was a desire to protect. And in this movie, there’s now a desire to sacrifice in order to accomplish the goal.
You've got to admire how methodically The Russo Brothers have thought out their pair of Avengers movies. Since they were filmed essentially at the same time, their connective tissue is strong. So thinking back on Infinity War may help the fandom come to terms with Natasha's sacrifice.
During Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos' collection of the stones seemingly could have been prevented fairly easily. Vision was willing to sacrifice himself to destroy the Mind Stone, but the Avengers refused to let their comrade go without a fight. Shuri wasn't able to finish her work before being attacked, and it seems Vision was always destined to perish.
In contrast, the surviving Avengers were willing to lay down their lived in Endgame. The team's name never felt more appropriate, as they were truly Avenging the fallen... whatever it takes. And that includes Hawkeye's entire family.
Natasha and Clint's relationship was consistent throughout the Avengers franchise, and was able to really take the spotlight when the two Avengers traveled to Vormir for the Soul Stone. She ended up sacrificing herself in hopes that they'd reverse the snap, reuniting Hawkeye with his wife and children. During his conversation with EW, Joe Russo went on to say:
We open the movie on [Hawkeye’s] family. She reminds him of it in the scene. They both may have the mission in that moment where, ‘I’m not going to let you kill yourself,’ but Hawkeye has mixed agendas there, which I feel takes the edge off his focus in a way that she doesn’t.
In many ways, Black Widow has been the soul of The Avengers. Aside from Clint, she's got strong personal connections with Captain America, Iron Man, and Bruce Banner. And following the snap and Thanos' death at the hands of Thor, she took lead and kept in communication with their allies around the world. So the Soul Stone was a fitting means to an end, even if it was hard for moviegoers to watch.
Given how dense Avengers: Endgame is, plenty of fans will flock to theaters to see the movie more than once. Perhaps Black Widow's fate will seem different the second time around, especially now that The Russo Brothers are able to finally speak about Endgame's contents. We should expect plenty more discussions in the future, as the co-directors believe that spoilers can be let out of the bag after the movie's second weekend in theaters.
Avengers: Endgame is in theaters now, complete with Black Widow's somewhat controversial death. Be sure to check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.