Avengers: Endgame Directors Defend Controversial Black Widow Scene

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Warning: Contains Spoilers

Black Widow EndgameMarvel Studios

Right, here’s your one minute warning about how this article is full of spoilers for Avengers: Endgame and you should turn away now if you haven’t seen it.

Okay, now we’re safe I’ll start off by saying: How epic was that entire three hours?! There genuinely wasn’t even a second I wasn’t completely enthralled in the storyline – that’s how good it was.

I clearly wasn’t the only one either, as the film smashed box office records right, left, and centre, making more than $1 billion in just five days. Which, y’know, is some going.

Some people, however, were left disappointed with one particular scene in which Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff), played by Scarlett Johansson, had to make a crucial decision.

In the film, Black Widow is paired with Hawkeye (Clint Barton) as they travel back in time to seek the Soul Stone on planet Vormir, where Red Skull stands as a guardian. The guardian will only release the stone as part of an irreversible trade.

The trade is that one of them must lose what they love; having been through everything they have together, there’s no doubt that Natasha and Clint do indeed love each each other. But the question is, who’s going to make the ultimate sacrifice?

scarlett johansson black widow marvel mcuWalt Disney Motion Pictures

With both Black Widow and Hawkeye arguing they should be the one to die, it’s an impossible situation the characters find themselves in as they fight to kill themselves – not each other.

Eventually, Natasha wins the fight and lets go, leaving Clint free to claim the Soul Stone. But the scene was a controversial one, with critics saying Natasha’s claim that Clint needs to live to bring back his family places his life above hers.

Fans of the franchise have complained that Black Widow deserved better than the ending she ultimately met, although the film’s directors have defended the scene – saying she is making a choice to place Hawkeye and the universe above herself.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Anthony Russo said:

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.

Joe added:

To me it’s one of the sadder scenes in the movie because it’s really putting two people in a Sophie’s choice, putting two people in the position where, do you let your friend die or do you die?

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.

I think that that’s a natural progression, right? ‘Well, the first thing we’re going to do is try to protect everybody.’ And then when you realize it can’t work that way, then true heroes step up and are willing to sacrifice for the greater good.

Personally, I’m inclined to agree with the Russo Brothers. First off, they’re Marvel experts and we should trust everything they say.

And secondly, Black Widow is an absolute badass and definitely made the decision on her terms.

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Lucy Connolly

Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).