Avengers-Natasha

And in case you thought I was done talking about Age of Ultron ...

NOPE!

Actually, I mostly wanted to link to this piece of meta by [personal profile] such_heights that I stumbled across earlier today, presenting (I think) an excellent defense of Natasha/Bruce as a pairing in the movie, and what it means for Natasha specifically.

Of course I just spent oodles of time yesterday typing up everything I dislike about it, and I stand by that. But I also feel that, well first of all, [personal profile] such_heights has some really excellent character meta about Natasha in those scenes (and makes a point I hadn't considered, which is that at least some of what I saw as wtf random character changes between the movies can be considered a result of what she went through in Cap2, and her subsequent desire to reinvent herself).

... I mean, we are all willing to cut huge amounts of slack for - to pick an example - Steve's extremely different personality in Avengers compared to his much more relaxed and playful persona in his own movies; we invent detailed explanations involving depression and grief, and while I think the fanwanky explanations totally work, I doubt if the writers actually put that much thought into it. And even though I STILL hate the infertility/kids discussion in AoU, and the way infertility is prioritized in the Red Room flashbacks, I also think it's worth kind of stopping for a minute to think about how the fandom overall is dealing with that, compared to, say, fandom's ongoing willingness to handwave away three movies' worth of Tony clearly and explicitly putting Pepper at the center of his universe in order to remove her as a romantic rival and put him together with Steve.

We tend to be harder, generally, on female characters, and cut them less slack, and sideline them in fanfic on the slimmest of pretexts. General prevailing sentiment in fandom is to blame it on fannish sexism, and while I think that's GOT to be part of it (I've caught myself doing it too, reacting more negatively to the same behavior from female characters that I'd tolerate in a male character), I don't actually think it's all of it -- because female characters are disproportionately likely to be victims of sloppy writing and a lack of what I guess I'd call narrative empathy in canon: we get the guys' POV, but we don't get the female characters' POV as often, even when they're onscreen as much. And I think we're (mostly on a subconscious level) reacting to that, also.

(I REALLY need to type up this thing that's been circulating around the back of my brain ever since I watched Agent Carter and Engrenages, because both of those shows invite us into the female characters' POV in a way that shows almost never do -- it's sort of like, I don't notice the exclusion of women's POVs in TV and movies as a general rule, but I tend to notice the opposite; it's so ubiquitous that this sidelining of female viewpoints, the way the narration tends to be very subtly slanted towards the male characters in a way I'm pretty sure the writers don't even know they're doing, is something I only notice when a show happens not to do that.)

Anyway, as much as I wasn't happy with Natasha's storyline in AoU, I really think it's sad that the only thing fandom seems to be talking about post-movie regarding Natasha is how she was badly written or she was a damsel in distress or she was reduced to nothing but a "girlfriend" in the movie, because -- where have we all seen this before? OH RIGHT, EVERYWHERE, FOR EVERY FEMALE CHARACTER EVER, INCLUDING NATASHA IN THE FIRST AVENGERS MOVIE! And even though I do think a lot of her storyline was badly written and the characterization was all over the map, I'm glad to have stumbled across some meta that focuses on the stuff she did that was cool, and fun, and good for her as a character. And I hope there will be more of it!

...

On a side note, now that the movie has had time to settle in my brain somewhat, I am amazed that the character relationship I came out with the most ~feelings~ about is, apparently, Clint's with the Maximoff twins. I DIDN'T EVEN LIKE HAWKEYE! (I didn't hate him, but I didn't really have feelings about him as a character one way or another.) And now I really love the snarky little bastard and have massive amounts of feelings about those final scenes with Clint and Wanda, and Clint and Pietro, in particular. (The scene where he lays down beside Pietro's body ... I WILL NEVER STOP HAVING FEELINGS ABOUT THAT.)

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I've been generally ignoring the AoU commentary/controversy (partly because I've got another fandom anyway, partly because right now I'm much more in the mood for squee-that-overlooks-flaws-in-canon, rather than anti-squee dwelling on them...which the other fandom is providing, mostly because it's old enough to have settled) but just the bit I've been seeing definitely does have its biases. I've seen a few people complaining that all the characterization Natasha got in the movie was romantic, and while her storyline and char arc was the romance, there were other elements as well, especially her relationship with Clint and his family - it was background but definitely present (and I really liked it, that Natasha not only knew about Clint's family but was close to them. I've semi-shipped Clint/Natasha since Avengers but it was the type of ship that I'm fine with them being BFFs. Or hey, OT3 is always an option!)

And I was assuming that some of the apparent change of Natasha's personality was due to reaction to the events of Avengers and CATWS. Though - and it's funny because I was just talking about this with Gnine an hour or two ago - it does suffer from as you say, the lack of a female POV. Some of the problems could've been mitigated with just one conversation between Natasha and somebody other than Bruce - discussing her feelings (for Bruce, for her life in general) with Clint, or Clint's wife, or Steve. But we don't get into her head that way; we see her nightmare, but how she reacts to it is only presented in the context of her relationship with Bruce, rather than her as an individual.

...Putting that aside, as someone who's not in the Captain America side of the fandom, I found this: we are all willing to cut huge amounts of slack for - to pick an example - Steve's extremely different personality in Avengers compared to his much more relaxed and playful persona in his own movie a fascinating look at fannish philosophies. To me, Steve's personality seems consistent across both his movies and the Avengers movies - he's a boyscout from Brooklyn, he's as true-blue a hero as they come but that doesn't stop him from snarking back to everyone (I gotta admit, he's becoming one of my favorite Avengers for it!) But I don't pay the same attention to Steve's character, so I'm less likely to notice discrepancies there.
Yeah, I think there's only one thing in the movie, really, that I got fixated on in an anti-squee kind of way, but now that I've had a day or so to process, I kinda just want to wallow in the happyfeels now. (I still can't believe I have all these feelings about Clint now! I DIDN'T EVEN LIKE CLINT!) And yeah, I love that Nat was in on the secret of his family all along, and his kids know and love her. eeeee! :)

(Also mad love for all the domesticity at the farm, and everyone hanging out together, and NICK FURY HELPING MAKE DINNER, omg.)


To me, Steve's personality seems consistent across both his movies and the Avengers movies - he's a boyscout from Brooklyn, he's as true-blue a hero as they come but that doesn't stop him from snarking back to everyone (I gotta admit, he's becoming one of my favorite Avengers for it!) But I don't pay the same attention to Steve's character, so I'm less likely to notice discrepancies there.

*nods* Yeah, it's not something I even really noticed until watching both Captain American movies basically on repeat, and then going back to Avengers, and honestly I think it's the sort of thing that's a hardcore fan kind of complaint. XD Like, you have to obsess on the character for it to be a thing.
[To me, Steve's personality seems consistent across both his movies and the Avengers movies - he's a boyscout from Brooklyn, he's as true-blue a hero as they come but that doesn't stop him from snarking back to everyone (I gotta admit, he's becoming one of my favorite Avengers for it!) But I don't pay the same attention to Steve's character, so I'm less likely to notice discrepancies there.]

Same, that line left me puzzled because I thought Steve seemed consistent. Obviously he's a lot more draaa~ma when saving Bucky is involved then he is when a regular fight comes around, but other than that it seemed like he's the same guy.
(The scene where he lays down beside Pietro's body ... I WILL NEVER STOP HAVING FEELINGS ABOUT THAT.)

I KNOW, RIGHT.

...now I really want fic where, like, Hawkeye's family adopts Wanda and brings her out to the country to rest and recuperate and feed her up...
SO MANY FEELINGS.

And yeah, Hawkeye's family adopting Wanda would be the BEST. Maybe I need to write something along those lines. :D (Do you remember if his kids' names, other than the youngest, were ever given in the movie?)
You totally should. XD And... hmm. There was that scene where he introduces his family to everyone, but I can't remember if he specifically names the kids or not, sorry.
I don't think I have a problem with Natasha's characterization so much as...it's just such a typical thing to give the girl the romance storyline. I mean, maybe if there were 8 women and 1 man, and one of them was Natasha involved in a romance I wouldn't care as much. But we have one girl as a hero of the story (Wanda being kind of villainous for most of the movie) and she's the one who is a /has a romantic interest? Just annoying! (Also she and Banner had zero chemistry...so it was a total *nope* for me from an "I would like to watch these two make out" point of view *g* )
I don't even object in theory to Natasha having a romance in this movie; I just feel like the way they did it brought out the worst aspects of the "lone girl in a group of guys" dynamic. (At the very least, EVERYONE should have learned the vital calming-Hulk skills; it shouldn't be just Natasha's job! And I could even see that job being given to Natasha if they'd all tried it and she's the one least likely to get her head bashed in, but as presented in the movie, the implication is that she needs to calm him after every fight because of her ~calming womanly wiles~. And that bothers me.)
Natasha is how she was badly written or she was a damsel in distress or she was reduced to nothing but a "girlfriend" in the movie, because -- where have we all seen this before? OH RIGHT, EVERYWHERE, FOR EVERY FEMALE CHARACTER EVER, INCLUDING NATASHA IN THE FIRST AVENGERS MOVIE!
I know that I have a selective memory, but here's what I remember best of Natasha from the first movie:
* She is introduced to us in a scene where she appears to have been captured and is about to be tortured, but she's actually extracting information from the people who think they're holding her. When her phone rings, she answers it, declares, "I'm in the middle of an interrogation!", and then breaks out to do the mission she's been given. I think it is the most memorable introduction for any of the Avengers!
* She works with Selvig to stop the wormhole machine; she's absolutely crucial to the plot.

I don't remember her being a girlfriend or being a damsel in distress. What have I forgotten?
No, that's what I mean! This is all true and I agree, but I remember a lot of complaining when the first movie came out that she's over-sexualized, that she gets put in a damsel-in-distress role in the movie, that she doesn't do anything useful, etc. Which is just ridiculous and says a lot more about the lens that people are viewing her through, than it does about the character itself. And even though I do have some objections to her storyline this time around, I kinda wonder if there isn't more of the same thing going on here, at least to some extent.
Oh, I see! I missed those complaints entirely because I was not into the fandom at all at the time.

I am mostly missing complaints this time around by being only into a small corner of the fandom.

I still love Natasha and want a Black Widow movie.
This really was Clint's movie, wasn't it? I'm so glad they spent so much time fleshing out his character.
Finally saw the move. Took me long enough ;)

Not being a fan of romance in general I was neither here nor there about the whole Natasha/Bruce thing. My take on it was that it was less about the romance and more about two people who felt they could never live normal lives. I felt that Bruce bringing up the whole having kids things was (as someone else... somewhere pointed out) because they were at a place where their were kids, so Bruce used having kids as one example as to why they could never live a particular lifestyle should they ever want that lifestyle. He wasn't assuming Natasha wanted kids, it was more a what-if. If Natasha wanted kids, that wasn't possible. And Natasha's response was her way of saying hey, it's okay, I'm in the same boat.

And, to me, that was their story arc for the movie in a nutshell - Not romance, but two people who's lives are rather screwy, with one person unable to look beyond that screwiness and the other person saying screw the screwiness let's just do what makes us happy, which I did find to be rather intriguing.

Again, this was my personal take on it.