I’m genuinely confused by a lot of the online reaction to Natasha Romanov in this film. I loved her performance; I felt she exuded nothing but strength. Some armchair critics have decided, however, that the character was “fridged,” and that her death was ultimately meaningless.
First off, the concept of “fridging” a woman in comic book properties refers back to the death of Alexandra Dewitt, an early girlfriend of fourth human Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner. The 90s were a weird time in comics, and in this instance they saw a weird, body-suited, genital-less government villain called Major Force wanting to get back at Kyle Rayner by going to Rayner’s apartment and killing Alexandra Dewitt and stuffing her body into his refrigerator. You following so far? Good, because this story was bizarre. Basically, when the term is used now, people want to say a female character has been murdered just to motivate male characters. I really do not see Black Widow’s noble sacrifice in this light.
In Avengers: Endgame, we are shown that Natasha has effectively become leader of the Avengers (whatever form existed at that point) during the period after the Snap, and unused or unfilmed threads also refer to her personally caring for vast numbers of children orphaned by the Snap. She is kind, she is thoughtful as she pushes her uneaten sandwich to Steve Rogers when he comes to visit, and she continues to do her best to keep what’s left of the world safe. This is how I’ve always seen her, and her positive, heroic traits are only enhanced as the film goes on.
Natasha’s sacrifice for the soul stone came down to a 50/50 chance between her and Hawkeye. They were each other’s best friend and closest family left in the world, and either one dying for the other would be a suitable loss to acquire the stone. Additionally, either one of them would also be giving up a chance at seeing the rest of their families return. I feel that Natasha being the one to make the final plunge adds even more strength and respectability to her character. I just can’t see any negatives. Her sacrifice secured ultimate victory.
Either way, in the comics there is an entire universe inside the soul stone. I like to think that Natasha and Gamora both are somehow in that world, and that it endures even with the stone destroyed, if that one truly can be. Black Widow has a solo movie coming up soon, and that will likely either play into this idea, or be an origin movie that finally explains all those Budapest references.
What do you think? Let me know! I’m always eager to converse on these topics.