Having made her debut as Black Widow over a decade ago in 2010’s Iron Man 2 — the third entry in the then-burgeoning Marvel Cinematic Universe — Scarlett Johansson is *finally* getting her own solo movie in the MCU despite the fact that the character is currently dead in the franchise’s current timeline following the events of Avengers: Endgame.
Given that Black Widow, which will hit theaters and Disney+ Premier Access on July 9, feels like the final destination for Johansson’s decade-long journey as Black Widow, the film obviously has a retrospective tone to it as the now-36-year-old actress looks back on her time portraying the iconic Marvel here.
In a recent interview with Collider, for example, Johansson discussed how she felt the character was “hyper-sexualized” in the early years of the MCU and stated that the character was treated like a “piece of ass”, even noting a particular line from Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark that highlights that notion:
“Obviously, 10 years have passed and things have happened and I have a much different, more evolved understanding of myself. As a woman, I’m in a different place in my life, you know?” Johansson said.
“And I felt more forgiving of myself, as a woman, and not — sometimes probably not enough. I’m more accepting of myself, I think. All of that is related to that move away from the kind of hyper-sexualization of this character and, I mean, you look back at Iron Man 2 and while it was really fun and had a lot of great moments in it, the character is so sexualized, you know? Really talked about like she’s a piece of something, like a possession or a thing or whatever — like a piece of ass, really. And Tony even refers to her as something like that at one point. What does he say? ‘I want some.'” [via Collider]
While Johansson is certainly right — go compare how the character is portrayed in Iron Man 2 and The Avengers to how she was portrayed in Infinity War and Endgame, it’s night and day — arguably the primary reason that Natasha Romanoff was so sexualized was that *she* was playing her.
Scarlett Johansson has long been considered one of the most beautiful women in the world — she was literally named Esquire’s “Sexiest Woman Alive” in 2006 — of course comic book fans were going to remark on the character’s, and therefore her, attractiveness. Granted, Marvel Studios putting Romanoff in hyper-sexualized outfits/situations is another situation entirely, but the reception and conversation from fans should’ve been expected the second she accepted the role. You simply don’t look like Scarlet Johansson without being reminded that you look like Scarlet Johansson.