SPOILERS are ahead for Black Widow, which is now playing in theaters and streaming on Disney+ Premier Access.
With the long-awaited release of Black Widow, I’ve been excited to see Scarlett Johansson finally take on a leading role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She most certainly does this, but since I left the theater, I can’t stop thinking about Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova. (Sorry, ScarJo!) Natasha’s little sis absolutely stole the show with her introduction as her fellow trained assassin, and that’s all proven through her delivering the best lines in the movie.
Since we’re already quoting her anyway, let’s talk about Yelena’s most memorable zingers throughout the record-breaking summer blockbuster. All of which were, of course, delivered in her glorious Russian accent.
“You’re Going To Give Me Some Big Hero Speech, I Can Feel It.”
The gift and curse of having a sister is often how much they’ll poke fun at you and call you out on things you may or may not have asked to be called out on. It’s really fun to see Scarlett Johansson’s Nat interact with Yelena because she’s even more snarky then we’ve come to know that she is in the MCU over the years. During their beer break before fetching Alexei, this quote really embodies how authentic of a sister dynamic they have.
“This Would Be A Cool Way To Die.”
Although Yelena has clearly lived a tragic life full of subjugation and loneliness, she offsets it with her own brand of comedy. A couple times, when the character is in some dire situations, she stops and thinks about whether it’d be a “cool” enough way to die. She says the line in the helicopter/prison escape and then mirrors it by saying that being operated on in the Red Room would not in fact be a cool way to die. When she almost sacrifices herself for Nat at the end of the movie, she exclaims “this is fun” too.
"You Can Put So Much Stuff In There, They Wouldn’t Even Know."
Of all things, I never would have expected to be laughing out loud at a pocket rant during Black Widow, but here we are! During a scene where Natasha and Yelena are in a car together, Yelena talks about her vest with pockets and how proud she is about it being the first thing she bought for herself. At first, Natasha doesn’t think much of her purchase, but as the conversation goes on, she comes around to the fashion statement and Yelena is super excited about it.
“Great Plan, I Love The Part Where I Almost Bled To Death.”
After the huge car chase sequence that includes being pursued by Taskmaster, Widow and Yelena hide in an air vent. Before getting to a safe place, the sisters have a funny back and forth about how they are going to get away, and Yelena definitely does not approve of Widow’s tactics. What’s interesting about a moment like this is how capable Yelena is alongside Natasha despite not being an Avenger.
“The Best Part Of My Life Was Fake And None Of You Told Me.”
On a more serious note, Florence Pugh also crushed the more dramatic scenes of Black Widow too, proving Yelena is a lot more dynamic than a few clever lines. During the sequence where the sisters reunite with their “parents,” Yelena bares her soul about feeling like her childhood was real despite the circumstances. The moment is a gut punch that really makes us feel for the fake family and buy into their history.
“Coming Here Makes You Look Desperate… I Want A Raise.”
If you look closely at Black Widow, there are a number of cool mirrored moments between Natasha and Yelena. One of them comes in the end credit scene when Yelena is visited by Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Valentina Allegra de Fontaine at Black Widow’s grave. She says the above line, which is a callback to something Nat says at the beginning of the movie while speaking to William Hurt’s Thaddeus Ross. This could be a nod to the possibility that Ross and Allegra are working together on building a new Avengers team.
“I Was About To Talk About Fallopian Tubes, But Okay.”
One of the most memorable lines in Black Widow, which leads to an honestly surprising conversation to take place in a Marvel movie, is the above quote. It happens in the scene where Yelena and Nat reunite with Alexei with some sourness. David Harbour’s character asks if Yelena is on her period, and she responds sharply by saying she doesn’t get it because of the program he placed them into. She gets a bit graphic about the sisters losing their reproductive organs. It’s delivered with some expert humor and gives us insight into the woes of the Red Room.
“I Doubt The God From Space Has To Take An Ibuprofen After A Fight.”
It was a blast to hear little nods and jokes about the unseen Avengers throughout Black Widow, and Florence Pugh’s assassin character might have the best one. While her and Nat are talking about the superhero team, she takes a stab at her sister not being one of the “big” ones on the team. She proves her point by talking about how Chris Hemsworth’s Thor is probably A-OK after a fight without some over-the-counter meds and well… touché.
“It’s A Fighting Pose. You’re A Total Poser.”
A particularly hilarious moment in Black Widow comes when Yelena gets on the ground and makes fun of Black Widow’s signature fighting pose in front of her. She awkwardly gets down on the ground and whips her hair as she demonstrates and effectively makes fun of the character’s most defining characteristics. The movie’s cast gave a seriously awesome answer to CinemaBlend as to why they decided to include the sequence, and apparently Pugh herself inspired the moment when she herself was trying to determine Yelena’s pose on the set of the film.
"I’m Not The Killer That Little Girls Call Their Hero."
This is seriously an impressive round of lines for one character, and there’s undoubtedly more than this as we continue to watch the MCU movie. But perhaps one of the most defining quotes is when she differentiates herself from her big sister by saying that she’s been the one in the shadows who had the same upbringing as her, but hasn’t had the same glamour that comes with being an Avenger. For much of Black Widow, Yelena feels pushed aside and forgotten by Natasha, and this is a great line to call the character out. Thankfully, the movie spends a lot of time seeing the sisters making up and saving the Red Room together.
We haven’t seen the last of Yelena Belova considering the end credits teased her coming return in the Hawkeye series. Until then, go get yourself a pocket vest and sass your siblings in true Yelena form.
YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.
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