I’m a sucker for action movies, but, I have to admit the lack of good femme-heroes is annoying. It’s always some girl in a tight suit (or short skirt) acting like she’s a badass, all squinty eyed and sexy-faced. Like, REALLY– you just fought six guys and got the crap beat out of yourself and you’re not even out of breath?! Usually I feel like I’m watching an actress who really really wants to look good on camera.
Enter Scarlett Johansson as The Black Widow in The Avengers. Now, I thought she was good in Ironman 2, but this time I really got to see her in action and I was so impressed! Finally, an actress who made me believe that everything I was watching was real! My favorite action heroes are the ones who are ultimately human at their core– who are self-depricating, only about 85% confident in their own abilities and totally flawed. Give me a good actor, and I’ll buy into any world a director creates…
Here’s all the reasons why ScarJo pulled off the best version of any super (or non) heroine…
During a brief respite in the midst of being attacked and fighting for her life (and everyone else’s), what did The Black Widow do? Did she look around, satisfied, and pant with a slight smile on her face? No. Did she cock her gun and say some corny “I’m so awesome” line? No. She sank down in a corner and started shaking. It took everything in her to get back into the game when she was called upon. When she gets hit, she looks like it actually hurt – which, HELLO!? I don’t care how tough you are, if a 200lb dude hits you in the face, it’s gonna friggin’ hurt. Oh, and how about the look on her face when Banner gets a little ticked off in the beginning? Yeah, if a big green anger-monster was about to squish me, I’d make that face too… %10 tough, %90 terror.
Most super-heroines have snarky lines written for them, but they don’t seem to have to intelligence to carry them off. Johansson made me feel like Natasha Romanoff (aka The Black Widow) was terrifyingly smart. She didn’t have to rub it in everyone’s face, though… you just knew. She had a sensibility about her. She wasn’t trying – she just WAS. Then, she USES her vulnerability to get what she wants from her enemies. This definitely requires skill.
SHE’S NOT TRYING TO BE A GUY
The Black Widow may be competitive, but she’s not competing for “toughness”. Mama didn’t try to one-up the boys and isn’t trying to prove anything to anyone. She uses the fact that she’s a girl to her advantage.
SHE’S HOT BECAUSE SHE DOESNT CARE IF SHE’S HOT
I never felt for a second that ScarJo was concerned with her hair, her boobs or her bad-assy ness. She was totally unaware of herself and “in the moment” the whole time, which, of course, is hot.
Optimism requires hope… hope requires reasonable insecurity. Scarlett’s Natasha Romanoff didn’t walk around totally confident that she could win, she just HOPED that she could. Which is terribly endearing.
SHE’S STILL A LADY
Even when conning her enemy, after she gets what she wants, she genuinely thanks him for giving up his secret… which is so classy! The Black Widow is completely sincere and ladylike.
If you haven’t seen The Avengers, get on that.