Now that Black Widow has become Marvel’s latest hit, it’s time to compare it with the other female-centered movie, Captain Marvel. If there is one thing in common is that they both feature women who have had to escape the limits imposed by others. Natasha Romanoff has done it already, and tries to free others. As for Carol Danvers, she’s trying to free herself from aliens who use her as a weapon thanks to an unexpected accident. Once she is free, though, her true power emerges.
SPOILERS FOR BOTH MOVIES
The situations that Natasha and Carol face are similar in some respects, although Natasha’s is much more darker. Let’s start with that.
Natasha was taken by her birth family and put in the Red Room to be an assassin, a weapon with legs. Nothing else. Her childhood included harsh training and even a fake life in America. Her life in Ohio seemed like being in an actual family, but they weren’t related. Her six year old “sister” was a potential Black Widow, “Dad” was the Commie version of Captain America and “Mom” was a scientist who hoped to make better girl assassins. It still seemed like being in a typical American family before they were forced to leave
While Natasha was able to break away years later, her fellow BW Yelena Belova was left behind. She was trained through science and chemistry as well as training. She became a mindless assassin with no free will. The others can be killed at any time. Thanks to a vial that is suddenly broken, Yelena realizes what she’s done, and starts to question her true self. This leads to the rest of the movie where they try to close the Red Room for good.
Is it fair to say what happened to Carol Danvers in Captain Marvel is about the same? It is, if we look at how the Kree decided to kidnap her and make sure she never knows her true self. This happened, though, because of an opportunity.
Back in 1989, Carol was in the Air Force, flying a mission with Dr. Wendy Lawson. They get attacked by Kree soldiers because Lawson is one of them, and she wants to stop their war against the Skrulls with a new engine. Carol breaks it so the Kree can’t use it, but also releases Tesseract energy that she absorbs. The Kree take her and help her heal, but make sure she doesn’t know her real name. It worked for six years until she gets kidnapped by Skrulls, and escapes to Earth. That’s where she slowly gets her memory back, and learns how the Kree restrained her. Again, an unexpected event changes everything.
Of course, what the Red Room did to Natasha and Yelena was much worse than what the Kree did to Carol, but both are cases of powerful forces taking control of women because of a cause. They were also seen as weapons more than women. The Red Room says it needed to defend against the West, evolving later to basically controlling the world. The Kree says they’re defending themselves against the monstrous Skrull…until it’s revealed the Kree are the real monsters by keeping the Skrulls from having their own home.
While she was with the Kree, it claimed that it is the reason behind her powers, and that she could lose them at any time. Truth is, her powers were from the Tesseract, and that the Kree kept her at 50 percent power. Once she was at full power, it realized it was in big trouble.
Captain Marvel was a movie where a woman discovered her true power came from within, not from others. She also used that to help the Skrulls and threaten the Kree if they got really out of hand.
Black Widow was not quite an origin history, but a review of one woman’s search for her real power. It showed how Natasha was trained to be a Black Widow, but how it was also slavery. Yelena was more of a slave because her free will was taken away until a twist of fate returned it to her. In their case, their true power was used to free others.
The ironic part is after all that, Yelena is not free. She still works for someone, namely a Countess who thinks she can kill off good guys whenever she wants. She also thinks without her, Yelena Belova is nothing but a killer, not even a woman.
Well, the Countess will learn, just like the Kree and the Red Room.