Avengers: Endgame is upon us and we’re not quite sure we’re prepared for what it has in store. We’ve spent more than 10 years with our favorite Avengers, enough time that they’ve started to feel like family. It’s inevitable that Endgame will force us to say goodbye to some of those long-standing characters, and will usher in a brand new era, with new heroes to meet and come to love.
But that doesn’t mean it will be easy for us to move on. And so, to keep things from feeling like a true goodbye, we’re looking back on the previous films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and highlighting some of our favorite character moments. Here, we’re counting down the five best Black Widow, a.k.a. Natasha Romanoff, moments in the MCU.
The Russian spy turned Avenger warrior, Black Widow has been an integral part of the movie franchise since her first appearance in Iron Man 2. Though she doesn’t have superpowers like many of her comrades, she’s a human weapon in her own right, equipped with years of training that have turned her into a complicated but insanely well-equipped fighter. Natasha is powerful, but she’s also vulnerable, kind, and whip-smart. Here are the key MCU moments that show why she’s one of the most important members of the Avengers.
5. Hallway fight – Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2 is one of the lesser MCU movies, but that doesn’t take away from this iconic moment. Natasha spends most of the movie undercover as Natalie Rushman, Tony Stark’s personal assistant. But then Nick Fury reveals her true identity, and we get our first delicious taste of Black Widow’s capabilities when she infiltrates Hammer Industries. She swiftly takes down a hallway of male security officers, while Jon Favreau’s Happy Hogan struggles to stay afoot one room over. The juxtaposition of her prowess vs. Happy’s ineptitude proved – for the first but certainly not last time – that Natasha Romanoff was a different kind of superhero.
4. Auntie Nat – Avengers: Age of Ultron
This is such a small moment that it might not even register for some fans, but it’s monumental in what it says about Natasha’s character. In Ultron, we learn that Clint Barton, a.k.a. Hawkeye, has a secret family who live on a farm in the middle of nowhere. While this information is previously unknown to most of his fellow Avengers, we see that Natasha has a close personal relationship with Clint’s family, and that his kids even call her Aunt Nat. The moment when we see her affectionately interact with Clint’s children does a lot to show what Natasha has lost, including her ability to have children. Though it’s shown much better here than it’s relayed in clunky dialogue later on.
3. Chair fight – The Avengers
Another iconic fight moment. Who could forget Natasha’s first scene with Bruce Banner in The Avengers, when she wrestles down a team of baddies in Calcutta in an effort to recruit the scientist to the Avengers? Not only is it a unique fight scene that perfectly utilizes its chair prop, but it’s also a showcase of Black Widow’s many talents: her smarts, her sensuality, her humor, and her proficiency. And she does it all barefoot.
2. “Who do you want me to be?” – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
This is another small moment, but it’s one of the best scenes in the entire MCU. Character development isn’t always a priority in these action-packed comic book films, and it doesn’t need to be. But when the creators do take a moment to flesh out these people, it’s amazing what they can do. This quiet scene between Steve and Natasha gets at the humanity beneath their heroic exteriors. She jokes about his bad kissing skills, and he prods at the shell of protective identity she’s created for herself. Their friendship is one of the most important in the MCU, and scenes like this prove why.
1. Tricking Loki – The Avengers
Natasha may be the most powerful non-superhuman in the Avengers, but she’s also highly intelligent and adaptable. This moment in The Avengers is the perfectly display of her strengths. When she pretends to be vulnerable about Loki’s hold on her dear friend, Clint, the trickster can’t resist and drops a clue about his “monster.” Natasha, ever insightful, turns around and shows face: she was tricking the ultimate trickster, and has obtained vital information that can help her side win. We love Natasha in any iteration, but subverting gender expectations and weaponizing those expectations is what makes her an all-timer.
We can’t wait to see what new entries we can add to the list when Avengers: Endgame opens April 26.