Now that many of us have recovered from the many emotional wallops that came with watching Avengers: Endgame, let’s discuss one particular scene that’s been drawing a bit of controversy. We’re talking, of course, about a decision that Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow made near the end of the second act.
If you’ve seen it, you know what we’re talking about. If you haven’t, then what are you doing here? Seriously, go on, get! We’re about to spoil a major plot point here.
** WARNING: There are spoilers for Avengers: Endgame below. **
So, in Endgame, Black Widow (Natasha) and Hawkeye (Clint) partner together to go to the planet Vormir to find the Soul Stone, and for those who remember the events of Avengers: Infinity War, the only way to obtain this particular stone is to sacrifice what you love the most. When faced with this challenge, Thanos sacrificed his daughter Gamora for the prize.
This means that Black Widow and Hawkeye fight to the death, but in reverse, to see who gets to sacrifice themselves first and spare the other. It’s a close match, but ultimately, Black Widow “wins” by falling (jumping?) off the cliff that they’re fighting over, allowing Hawkeye to go back home with the stone and (if everything goes to plan) reunite with his family who was snapped out of existence by Thanos.
So, yeah. Black Widow dies. And not surprisingly, this scene is generating some controversy.
Several fans and critics argue that this scene suggests the film finds Clint’s life more valuable than Natasha’s because he has a family and she doesn’t. SYFY WIRE’s own Preeti Chhibber argued that killing Black Widow “halfway into the movie felt like another misuse of a character who was just coming into their own as a leader,” adding that Natasha's death “was the only piece of the movie that truly didn’t feel earned.”
However, Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo told Entertainment Weekly they intended Black Widow sacrificing herself to be one final act by a hero willing to sacrifice everything, not just to save the world but to also save a friend.
“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?” said Joe Russo.
“We open the movie on [Hawkeye’s] family,” Anthony Russo said. “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.”
“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?” added Joe. “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.”
But of course, those worried this will be the last we’ll see of Black Widow, fear not. Remember, we’re still getting that origin story film.
Anyway, what do you all think? A brave final act of sacrifice from a true hero? Or the unceremonious excising of a character that still had so much more to offer? Let us know in the comments below. Don’t pretend like you don’t have an opinion on the matter.