Tag Archives: Black Widow

The Women of ‘Captain America: Civil War’

(Spoilers, but I’m kind of assuming that you’ve seen Civil War by now.)

All of three of the female leads in Captain America: Civil War are amazing.  The following thoughts are not comprehensive character analyses but what I liked best about each. The pivotal roles that each play demonstrates how highly Steve Rogers values the women in his life.

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Team Lineups for ‘Captain America: Civil War’

This is Part 1 of the three-part Road to Civil War series. 


I would have been perfectly happy if Marvel hadn’t announced anything and we had no idea who was on who’s side until next May.  But now that we have the names, it’s only fair to speculate.  I don’t know much about the comics so this is entirely based on the movies, the discussions of other online fans, and what we know so far. 

Team Iron Man

War Machine

Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes is Tony Stark’s best friend and sidekick.  I did ask a fan website what else would motivate him to take Tony’s side in this controversy.  The response was that Rhodey works for the U.S. government, so he will support whatever the government decides.  This didn’t make sense to me, but then I remembered the scene in Iron Man 2 where Rhodey took the stolen armor to the Air Force Base.  If that doesn’t speak volumes about Rhodey’s priorities, little else will.

Marvel via Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki

Marvel via Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki


I have never liked Spider-Man, but when they announced that Marvel had bought the rights from Sony to include him in Civil War and reboot him within the existing universe, I decided to deal with it.  In the comics,  Spider-Man plays an important part in the Civil War story.  The film version, however, will differ since we are seeing Peter Parker at the outset of his career.  Tom Holland was cast as the teenage webslinger based on how he performed with Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans, so Parker’s relationship with the heads of these two factions, specifically with Iron Man, might be crucial.  There was also a mock news interview with Scott Lang released as a promo for Ant-Man, and someone on Tumblr mentioned that in the crawl on the bottom of the screen said Tony Stark had established a scholarship for inner-city students.  Peter Parker probably looks to Stark as a patron. Given Tony’s relationship with Harley in Iron Man 3, Tony Stark looking for a protege makes sense.

Via haxword.com

Via haxword.com


Vision used to be JARVIS, but I have to scratch my head because Age of Ultron did little to establish how much of JARVIS is left inside of the android.  As Vision, however, he might have good personal reasons for siding with Iron Man.   Vision states in Age of Ultron, “I am on the side of life.”  Perhaps Captain America is doing something he finds morally reprehensible.  

In the comics, Vision is in a relationship with the Scarlet Witch, but since they are on different sides I wonder if that relationship is ever going to occur, if it hasn’t already.

Via picnations.com

Via picnations.com

Black Widow

Natasha Romanoff making Team Iron Man was certainly a shock. The fandom is disappointed because after everything that she and Steve went through together in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, they seemed to have earned their mutual trust.  I for one would have expected her to at least fight on the same team as Hawkeye.  We may have to wait and see what Natasha’s motivations are more than for the other characters.

Marvel via slashfilm.com

Marvel via slashfilm.com

Team Captain America

Scarlet Witch

Scarlet Witch was not involved in Civil War in the comics, and her presence alone indicates that the film is going to be very different, Wanda Maximoff was my new favorite character in Age of Ultron, so I am really happy that she is on Steve’s side.  It’s not surprising, though, because if you remember in Age of Ultron she and Pietro volunteered for Hydra’s experiments in the first place because of their grudge against Tony Stark.  A part of me says that Wanda hasn’t gotten over that.  And the twins, if you remember, were close to Clint Barton, it’s no surprise that Wanda is sticking with him.

Marvel via thewrap.com

Marvel via thewrap.com


Sam Wilson, of course, is extremely loyal to Steve Rogers.  Considering his role in Ant-Man, Sam will be the one recruiting Scott Lang and he may be the one pulling other people to Cap’s side. He might even be considered a co-leader of the team.  I am interested to see how he will interact with Hawkeye/Clint Barton.  They both have superhero names based on birds of prey and so naturally the fandom thinks they belong together.  In-between all of the other shenanigans there is a chance we might get to see the “bird bros” bonding onscreen.

Marvel via sciencefiction.com

Marvel via sciencefiction.com


If you haven’t seen Ant-Man yet, go see it!  Those of you who have, you know he’ll be called in to do Steve the ultimate favor.  Scott Lang is a huge Avengers fan to start with.  But what’s interesting is that in Ant-Man, Hank Pym mentioned to Scott that he could never trust Howard Stark with his technology and he doesn’t want Tony anywhere near it either.  That impression probably stuck with Scott.  I think Scott Lang will be Steve’s new go-to man for equipment, since he is burning bridges with Tony, and heaven knows Steve and his teammates are going to need some tech to compete with Stark.

Marvel via moviepilot.com

Marvel via moviepilot.com



This was the surprise for Cap’s team.  I mean, he is a really loyal friend to Natasha so I am surprised and disappointed they weren’t on the same side, but that’s what’s going to raise the stakes, right?  At the end of Age of Ultron, Clint went back to his family at least for a little while, so I wonder what might get him to go back into the field.  The registration act from the comics storyline is not going to work out, but in Age of Ultron the other Avengers except Natasha did not know about his family, so he still had at least some degree of privacy.  Something may be threatening his family and he is siding with Steve in order to protect them.

Marvel via screenrant.com

Marvel via screenrant.com

The Winter Soldier

All signs indicate that Bucky will be getting at least some of his memory and personality back, but his external circumstances will remain less than ideal.  Other people aren’t going to care that he’s no longer Hydra’s brainwashed assassin, and in fact if you saw the Ant-Man post-credit scene you KNOW that he’s vulnerable for it.  The more I hear, the more I think that the resolution of the Winter Soldier’s storyline will be the pin on which everyone hinges.  Steve might take his stance based on how people respond to Bucky, and Steve may or may not trust certain people based on who agrees with him.

Marvel via stitchkingdom.com

Marvel via stitchkingdom.com

The Double Agent

When the team lineups were announced, it was also rumored that one of the superheroes was going to be a double agent.  Everyone thinks (and wants) it to be Natasha, but I think we need to give the other character a look.  To be brutally honest, Bucky fighting at Steve’s side is almost too good to be true.  Spider Man is a new character and his motivations are unknown, but if he’s a young teenager who looks up to Tony Stark I doubt he would do anything that gutsy. Scott Lang/Ant-Man might become disillusioned with his superhero idols after watching them fight each other.  Maybe Tony does something that Vision disagrees with, but once Vision makes a decision I doubt he would go back on it: he is too much pure goodness. 

a safer world

Fan art by Lizy Cole

I would say that Team Iron Man has the advantage as far as technology, but for powers I think they might be even. As for the characters I like I think Captain America’s team took the vast majority of the cool people.  However, much remains to be seen about what the actual conflict is and what will really motivate these characters we know and love to take sides.

Read More:

The Casting of Tom Holland as Spider-Man

Sebastian Stan on the Ant-Man post-credit scene

Scott Lang Interviewed by WHIH


Strong Female Heroines and Why They’re Awesome

I’m the new blogger for the Geeky Mormon.  My name is Elizabeth but you may call me Lizy. I will answer to Liz.  Some people are picky about being classified as either a geek or a nerd, but I will answer to either.

Female characters, especially strong ones, are definitely a reason that I enjoy sci-fi and fantasy.  I don’t mind identifying myself with the girl who needs to get rescued, but I have always been interested in heroines who take care of themselves, fight their own battles alongside the boys, and sometimes even get to do a bit of the rescuing.  The heroines who really catch my attention are a little of both. Below are just some of my observations and thoughts on what makes a strong female heroine, based on about a year’s worth of writing, research, and observation.

The point of fantasy is that you can identify with the character in some way and because of that experience what the character is going through.The first Marvel movie I ever saw and enjoyed was Captain America: The First Avenger.  While I primarily liked the film because I could relate to the underdog Steve Rogers, I was in awe of Agent Peggy Carter.  She was smart, beautiful and absolutely fearless. She took absolutely no nonsense from any of the other guys, but she not only liked Steve but she believed in him.  (As a side note, I have not been able to watch the Agent Carter TV show yet but I want to very badly). That is the kind of person I felt like I could emulate.

Is it too much to say that I think Agent Carter is the reason I'm a Marvel fan?  Via boingboing.net

Is it too much to say that I think Agent Carter is the reason I’m a Marvel fan?
Via boingboing.net

Sometimes I am less interested in the female leads and more in the fantasy elements or the story.  But that being said I am still excited for Captain Marvel, because we will get all of that and a female lead too.

One of the first Star Wars characters I loved was Queen Amidala.  As a little girl I loved her wardrobe in The Phantom Menace and I spent many happy hours pouring over the pictures of her dresses in the visual dictionary.  And in addition to that, she fought for the freedom of her people. When I got older, I discovered the original trilogy.  I liked Princess Leia a lot, and I still like her a lot.  She didn’t have the visual glitter of the Queen, but she spoke her mind and carried a blaster. I wanted to be tough like that when I was a kid.  It was when I was older that I came to appreciate her tender side as well.

This is one of my first real heroines Via digitalspy.co.uk

This is one of my first real heroines
Via digitalspy.co.uk

Years later, I found out that a lot of people didn’t like Padme Amidala because it was clearly a bad idea for her to pursue a relationship with Anakin Skywalker, and then it didn’t make sense for her to die in Revenge of the Sith. I liked Padme too much as a character to let these things get in the way of liking her.  But I have thought about these issues a lot.  People don’t like having to identify with female characters who make decisions differently from the way they would, especially when it comes to love.  But Padme’s failure, to me, makes her all the more human and relatable.  As far as Anakin is concerned, she had a fatal blind spot, but his decisions were not her fault.  And when a heroine fails, sometimes something good comes out of it.  Usually this means she is able to get up again and confront the problem, but in Padme’s case it meant that her love for Anakin lived on through Luke.

And then there are the people who think falling in love is absolutely demeaning for a female character to experience.  I could not disagree with this more. If the love story is relevant to the plot and it strengthens both characters, then it can be a good thing. It is natural and human to fall in love. In all honesty, I was not thrilled that Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow tried to pursue a romance with Bruce Banner/the Hulk in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. But the online backlash against the love plot was ridiculous. I do not think that having Natasha fall in love was completely demeaning. I make missteps in my love life too sometimes. And it made sense in context of the larger theme that Joss Whedon was trying to get across.

The fact that Natasha was sterilized in the Red Room is a symptom of her much bigger problem: she was created to be an assassin in both mind and body, to the exclusion of all else. She has her worst fears, and she has a dark side I can scarcely begin to imagine. What makes her more interesting is the way she copes with her darkness, by being the auntie to Clint Barton’s kids, by being compassionate to people in need, by protecting those who are weaker than herself, and by relying on her quiet, inner strength.  I like Natasha a lot more now than I did three years ago. And while I’m upset about her pursuing Bruce I can at least forgive her for that.  What matters is that he is a well-rounded character.

Via theworkprint.com

I like Natasha because she has a very human side. Via theworkprint.com

The matter of the strong female heroine is only an issue of gender to a point: it is about the development of character and how that influences how gender is represented.  This is important because the media has a huge influence on individuals as well as cultures.  But all heroines are not alike and should not be expected to conform to some invisible standard. We can allow our heroines to be human just as much as the men.  Isn’t that what makes these stories great, by seeing the characters we sympathize with have human experiences?

Read More:

A Fandom of Her Own: Women of Today’s Sci-fi/Fantasy Franchises (Capstone paper)

Women of Science Fiction and Fantasy : Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 Panel

The Strong Feminism behind Black Widow, and why the critiques don’t stand up by Alyssa Rosenburg for the Washington Post


Supergirl: A Brand New Hope?

There is a problem in the world of geek, and it’s not a small one. No, it’s a large problem, and one that doesn’t seem to be going away, even in the forward thinking, super tolerant society that we have become. It’s one that has been around forever, but I really started noticing it on a personal level about six years ago. It’s basically this: Go down the superhero aisle of any toy store and you will find a lot of different characters. You will find Superman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Captain America, Spider-Man, Thor, Iron Man, Wolverine, etc. You won’t find any Black Widow, or Batgirl, or Wonder Woman. In fact you’d be lucky to find any action figure type toys that represent any strong female protagonist. Yes, you might find some purple and pink Superman logo or Batman logo merchandise in the girls’ section, but that’s probably it. I am also not talking about the collectible figures that cost $25 that are targeted to the collector and not the kids. Why can’t you find any of these female characters in the superhero aisle? Simply put, boys don’t want to play with girl figures. This is what the marketing people believe and what the toy manufacturers believe. This was highlighted recently when a toy was released, based on a scene from The Age of Ultron movie, in which Black Widow is launched from a Quinjet on a motorcycle to help Cap out. Problem is, in the toy version, it is Cap on the motorcycle instead of Black Widow.

Here’s the thing, marketing people and toy manufacturers are probably right. Most boys don’t want to buy the girl figures. I have two boys who would probably agree with that. But you know what? I have three girls who would probably love to play with a motorcycle toy that featured a girl instead of Captain America. And there is the real issue. There is a growing number of young, geeky girls today. Geeky dads and geeky moms don’t see gender when raising the next generation of geeks. In their minds it is just as necessary for their girls to grow up as geeks as it is for their boys. My girls love the superhero movies just as much as my boys do. I would buy them just as much superhero merchandise if there was any of it made for girls. It’s all targeted at the boys.

It extends beyond the toys as well. In the next 5 years, there will be a billion superhero movies made, and two of them will have a woman as the main antagonist, we assume. One will be Wonder Woman, scheduled for the summer of 2017, and Captain Marvel, scheduled for the end of 2018. Black Widow has been deemed a side character and will not be receiving her own film. Which is good, because she is not an interesting character at all (I know sarcasm does not come through in type, so let me just tell you that last sentence was oozing with it). We have heard that Captain Marvel will be the Carol Danvers version of the character, but who knows? Maybe they will instead use the original version of the character, who was a male. In any case, it is easy to see that women as the main protagonist are hard to come by, and that is frustrating as a dad.

Being able to share my geekiness with my kids is pretty awesome. I love it when they get excited about the stuff I am excited about. I love when my boys run around pretending to be their favorite heroes, and it makes me sad that the girls don’t because they don’t want to pretend to be boys. My oldest will usually pretend to be Wonder Woman, the one female character everyone seems to know. My other girls pretend to be Batman or Thor (imagine their excitement in finding out that there is now a female Thor). Unlike my boys, though, they don’t get to see women being heroes like the men on the big screen, or even the little screen, and that’s hard as a dad. Don’t get me wrong, I don;t consider myself to be super feminist or anything, and I am trying to not make this a political discussion. All I am saying is that I want my girls to see heroes on the screen who are like them, and are just as awesome as their male counterparts, instead of always playing a supporting role. I don’t view my marriage that way. My wife Dani both have the leading role, and we are equal partners. I just want my girls to have an opportunity to see some of that too. And, I want to buy them cool toys like I buy the boys.



So what does this have to do with Supergirl? Well, DC finally has a shot to beat Marvel and be ahead of the curve. With their upcoming CBS series, Supergirl, they have an opportunity to be the first of the two companies to have a show centered on a strong female lead. They don’t come much stronger than Supergirl. The preview for the show looks promising, and I hope it is a smash hit and really popular. Movie makers and show runners have it in their heads that girl superheroes don’t sell. I think that was probably true 20 years ago, or 30 years ago, but I am hoping it has changed. I am hoping that this series will be the one to break the mold, and show Hollywood that there is an audience for this.

If Supergirl is successful, it will open the doors for future series and movies. It could open the door for more girl targeted merchandise in the stores for both companies. It could be a real beginning. In a lot of ways, it would be kind of cool. Superman was the first successful superhero, and because of him we have all the different superheroes today. If he had not been successful, who knows where the comics industry would be. Now, maybe his female cousin can do the same for the super heroine. Maybe her success can lead to many more successful superpower females on the big and little screens and on merchandising shelves.

I know that Marvel seems to be ahead of the curve on a lot of things related to superhero stuff, but this seems to be one where they are holding themselves back. I should say, it’s Disney, not Marvel, that’s holding them back. Marvel has a stable of strong female characters, but none of them seem to show up on screen or on toy shelves. Disney has always had the strict boy/girl lines. They have their characters for girls (usually princess something) and now with Star Wars and Marvel, their characters for boys. It is going to take a lot for them to break this mold, and let’s be honest, they have had years and years of success in their marketing format.

DC and Warner Bros. are not hindered by that. They can finally beat Marvel at being the pioneers in something superhero related. I’m not saying it will be enough to put them on top at the box office, but it might start them on the path to discovery. There may be geeky parents who are drawn to DC simply because they show the same respect for their female children that they do for their male children. I am hoping it will be enough to at least keep DC in the game. I am still holding out hope that somehow DC will end up on top. In any case, I will be lining up to watch Supergirl this fall on CBS.