Black Widow : Lying Liar Who Lies

Black Widow is, in her own words, a liar, and a manipulator. The kind of person who will be whatever you want her to be. She said as much in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But before we get into that, lets talk about her first experience with Bruce Banner and The Hulk, in the first Avengers film.

When we first meet Natasha she is tied to a chair and snarking off to some Russian gangsters. She appears helpless, yet fearless and  in control, despite her circumstances. And yes, she is totally in control of that situation and, of the several people present, is the only person to walk out of it. The next time we see her she’s trying to procure Bruce Banner for Fury’s Avengers Initiative.

I’m going to make a number of assertions about events that happened offscreen, but when you consider Natasha’s occupation and her employer, I think we can agree my guesses are, at least, educated. Her orders are to persuade Bruce to join the Initiative. To do that, she would have read informational and psychological briefs about him, just as she did when she was sent  to determine Tony Stark’s membership to the Initiative. She most certainly, at some point, would have seen footage of The Hulk in action, (most probably footage from when he broke Harlem),which accounts for her initial reluctance to meet with Bruce, an opinion she expresses to Coulson. This also explains her lack of attitude, when talking with Bruce.

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During her  scene with Bruce, her body language and speech are carefully crafted to appear as non-threatening as possible. She doesn’t want to provoke him. And when he tests her resolve, by pretending to get angry, she is very obviously rattled. You can see the fear in her eyes. She’s off her game. She has no idea how to handle him. She’s read about him, but doesn’t know what to say to him, if she makes him angry. Her first impulse, to pull her gun on him, is absolutely wrong, as he informs her. She  knows its the wrong move but its all she’s got. This is a situation she doesn’t know how to control.

Natasha has been trained to believe  that if she doesn’t control the situation, she won’t survive it.

At the midpoint of the film, her worst nightmare comes to pass. Bruce is changing into the Hulk right in front of her. She has to try to stop it, derail it…something. She’s got nothing. She knows if he becomes the Hulk he’ll kill anyone in his orbit.

He’ll kill her.

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When he becomes the Hulk, she is so completely, thoroughly helpless.  She can’t reason with him. She can’t talk him down. She can’t tell the Hulk what he wants to hear. When he comes after her all she can do is run in terror, and the only thing that saves her, is Thor’s intervention.

This, from the woman who is used to being in situations, where the only person who can save her, is herself. This, from the woman who played The Trickster God, so masterfully, that she had him eating out of the palm of her hand.

This woman is a trained and professional liar. She said as much to Steve in Captain America The Winter Soldier. She told him that lying was a good way not to die and then offered to be whatever he wanted her to be. After all, that’s the purpose for which she was created.

Black Widow believes in maximizing her survivability.

All she had in her arsenal against The Hulk was running and even that was not enough to save her. You could see it in her face. She would’ve died if it hadn’t been for Thor.

I think she made a vow to never let that  situation happen again. I think you know where I’m going, with this line of reasoning.

A lot of words have been written about her role in the second Avengers movie and how the things she said were offensive to her, to women without children, women with children, whoever. How she is out of character and that its a degradation of her character to be angsty about mommy-hood. There were people who didn’t buy her relationship with Bruce because it came out of nowhere, they had bad chemistry, she betrayed him when she pushed him into being The Hulk later in the movie.

I disagree. I think her relationship with Bruce and the Hulk is entirely consistent with the character that’s been painted of her through every film she’s appeared in.

Natasha is a lying, manipulative liar. Its the first thing we know about her in Iron Man and it  is not a facet of her character that changes throughout  the subsequent films. The truest thing she ever uttered in any of the MU films is her conversation with Steve, in Captain America.

She needed to find a way to control the Hulk. She needed to never be in that situation of helplessness against that creature again. She figured out that Bruce and the Hulk are the same. They share the same emotions. If she can get Banner to love her, if she can get the Hulk to trust her, she need never be that powerless again. She can be whoever Bruce wants her to be. She can tell Banner whatever he wants to hear. I think she gambled that if she can control Banner she can control the Hulk. and she did. After she got Banner in her palm, she created her  Lullaby to control  the Hulk.

She played Banner almost as well as she played Loki.

Concerned about having kids. So am I. Concerned about being a monster. Well, what a coincidence. So am I. Think you’re not sexually desirable. I’d love to have sex with you!

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She didn’t betray him, any more than she already was, when she kicked him down that hole. She was already betraying him, in every conversation she ever had with him, with every soft glance, smile, and offer of sex, she was getting what she wanted.

I was one of the few people that didn’t get worked up too much about that conversation. Especially after everyone kept mentioning how this personal history lesson and concern with family seemed to come from no and where, because I know Natasha is not a reliable narrator. For all we know, she was never sterilized. We only have her say so that it was forcibly done. Why is everyone so quick to believe Natasha’s version of events, when we’ve seen Natasha apply her skills of lying and deception in every film sh’es been in.

Did she love Bruce? I don’t know but in her conversation with Loki, she states that “love is for children”. According to Natasha she was never a child. Was she lying when she said that?

Natasha is a professional liar.

That’s just a good way not to die.

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One thought on “Black Widow : Lying Liar Who Lies

  1. Tony

    I haven’t seen the movie yet (I’m currently broker than broke), but I’ve heard people complain about Natasha’s portrayal in it. I really like how you’ve addressed those complaints and I think you’re on to something about her being an unreliable narrator.

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