SPOILERS FOR BLACK WIDOW
Early on in Marvel’s Black Widow there is a scene where Yelena mocks Natasha for going into fighting poses and flipping her hair back mid-battle as though people are watching. It’s a very funny scene, and Florence Pugh enacts it wonderfully with the roasting only a little sister is capable of.
As I watched that scene I thought, hey stop doing my job Florence Pugh, I’m the one who mocks superheroes around here. So, not to be outdone by Florence Pugh, I sat down and watched every Black Widow scene in the MCU to see how often she actually poses, rank each one and see how they evolve. You might be surprised by how many times Black Widow actually does this pointless pose in the middle of fights, and possibly pleasantly surprised to learn exactly when she stops doing them in the MCU.
Let’s start our exploration of Black Widow’s poses in MCU chronological order starting with her first appearance.
Iron Man 2
This is probably Nat’s most famous pose and is the closest to Yelena’s description of what her sister does in fights, as she stops in the middle of the hallway battle at Hammer Tech to just kind of go into this pose for no particular reason. However, she doesn’t actually flip her hair in this moment, it just kind of sways as she finds her next target. She does flip those weirdly tight curls around several times in the fight, and they probably make a crunchy hair gel sound every time she does, but it’s never during a posing motion so the judges (me) will have to deduct some points for that.
Rating: 4 Stingers
I struggled with this entry because technically the first Avengers movie doesn’t have a single superhero pose from Natasha. Not one! She has plenty of fights, and a few errant hair flips, but she is always moving and fighting in a motivated manner that I wouldn’t consider to be a superhero pose worthy of mockery.
However, the trailer for Avengers has two posing culprits that do not appear in the final movie.
The most egregious is this one above where she is mid-battle with her eyes closed, looking at the ground while a bus explodes. It’s not a traditional superhero pose but it’s the absolute definition of posing as she is literally just standing there. They say cool guys don’t look at explosions, so I guess cool spies don’t even participate in battles.
The second instance is this shot from the trailer that looks like it either takes place when she is running from Hulk on the Helicarrier or fighting Hawkeye. Either way, it’s a classic pose, superhero landing hard on the knee, arm back, hair flip, it has it all.
For the final tally I’m going to give Avengers one pose. The shot in front of the bus feels like a still image that was never actually in the movie but the classic landing pose seems like it was just cut for time and was at some point an actual part of the film.
Rating: 4.5 Stingers
Captain America: Winter Soldier
This movie also only has one superhero landing pose, but it may be my favorite for several reasons. One, it is so far away you will blink and miss it if you’re not looking at the right part of the screen. Two, it is the first time we see Natasha falling from a height so this one is the first literal landing pose as Black Widow jumps to a lower deck of the ship. And three, she is completely alone and there is absolutely no reason to land this way.
Yelena mocks Nat for posing like this in fights because she thinks people are watching, but honestly it’s even funnier that she still does it when she’s by herself. You know what they say, Google Earth, always watching.
Rating: 4 Stingers But They’re Really Far Away
Avengers: Age of Ultron
This movie is slightly tricky again and I’m going to say for tally purposes it has zero poses. It has a few moments that come close to being a pose but after careful analysis I have deduced that none of those moments legally qualify as posing. Sorry, but that’s the law.
In the opening fight against the Hydra goons Black Widow rolls into a landing, stops and does a dramatic hair flip which absolutely gives posing vibes, but the camera cuts in too close to see whether she is truly posing or not. That’s the only evidence presented in the movie itself of potential posing, but much like Avengers 1, this film also has a pose in the trailer that does not appear in the final film, which is when she brandishes her batons in preparation to fight. This seems to be during a lull in the battle though and is only a half pose at best as she is standing straight up. There’s no leg out, no hair flip, so I’m not going to count it.
We know from interviews and a few behind the scenes images that Scarlett Johannson was pregnant while filming Age of Ultron, which might explain the lack of full body poses for Black Widow in this one. A superhero landing is already hard on the knees, it’s gotta be even worse when you’re carrying an extra human being inside you.
Rating: Not Legally Posing
Captain America: Civil War
The Russo Bros. are truly unique in their uses of Black Widow’s poses because much like in Winter Soldier there is only one in this movie and it happens very fast. This pose takes place during the Crossbones fight at the beginning of the movie and we see Nat jump on a truck, pose, shoot a guy and then just kind of wait for Rumlow to grab her. If she had fired and kept moving she probably would have not been thrown into a room with a grenade a moment later, which I would find preferable if it were me. I give this pose points for being the only time she jumps up onto something to pose, but deduct points due to a lack of clear hair flip despite her hair being fricking everywhere.
Rating: 3.5 Stingers (But They’re Up On A Ledge)
Since we are going chronologically our next movie is Black Widow which has the cleanest pose we’ve seen from Nat since Iron Man 2. In this absolute classic she jumps from her plane onto the catwalk landing knee first, arm pulled back, hair flipped, it’s got all the essentials to a fighting pose. It seems all those years of posing have paid off as this look is crisp enough for Yelena to (rightly) mock her again for posing in fights as it would absolutely make more sense in this moment for Natasha to get moving and start punching guys.
And since she is technically also a Black Widow I’m going to include Yelena’s pose from later in the movie. She may not enjoy doing it, but she’s got it down pat. Leg out, arm pulled back, it’s almost a carbon copy of Natasha’s first appearance and it’s a shame we likely won’t see one from her again as she declares it disgusting. But I respect Yelena’s moral stance on the matter.
Rating: 10 Stingers Out of Five (Double the Widows, Double The Fun, and Points)
So that brings us to …
Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame
You may notice a lack of photos in this section of the article, well, it’s not because I got lazy about screenshotting, no, this section is bare because believe it or not Black Widow doesn’t do a single fighting pose in Infinity War or Endgame. Not even in the trailers.
She has a bunch of fight scenes, taking on The Children of Thanos twice and then fighting Clint on Vormir, but she never drops down into a superhero pose to do any of it. But instead of feeling disappointed, this actually feels like character development when you consider the chronology.
Natasha spent years posing in almost every fight she was in, but then her little sister Yelena made fun of her posing and suddenly Natasha never posed again. Natasha also started wearing her hair pulled back in a braid for the first time in Endgame, much like Yelena does, which also eliminates all possibility for a hair flip.
Obviously, Natasha took more from her sister than just a vest, she took her criticism to heart and cut posing out of her repertoire of moves. It’s good to know that even in the Marvel universe little sisters are capable of weeding out your insecurities and cutting you to the core.
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