Infinity War: Captain America and Black Widow Graphics: Tapasri Saha
Shawarma time is over — the war is here. And Jon Snow could have been talking about this war, for all we know. Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)'s most awaited venture, the 19th film in the MCU — Avengers: Infinity War — comes out this April. It has everything, from purple alien overlords to talking tree creatures.
Reports are already out that suggest MCU may part ways with some of its Avengers in Infinity War, courtesy Thanos, aka Baba Sehgal on steroids. While Captain America (Chris Evans) has declared retirement post Avengers 4, Iron Man (Robert Downey Junior) looks seriously hurt and injured in the trailer, and we're worried okay?
It might be hard to process, but you might be seeing some of the Avengers for the last time in Infinity War. We don't know who they are, but Vision looks hella beat, and they straight up let Captain America deal with Thanos alone — which is so unfair.
It's important that you know all key players before the war begins. Here's a very handy Avenger primer for you. Chapter 1 was about the two Sherlocks aka Iron Man and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Chapter 2 is about bearded Cap aka Captain America (Chris Evans) and our favourite Russian super spy Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and you thought it was Putin.
Name: Steve Rogers
Pre-Avenger occupation: Soldier, Nazi fighter, Mr 'I just might be interested in Black Widow,' best beard game.
The First Avenger — no, really he started it all when he was rejected to fight in World War II in 1940s, but is recuited by Strategic Scientific Reserve as a part of their super sketchy super-spy programme. Interestingly, the character was originally created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby as their response to the war, and is one of the first superheroes to have a political stance. MCU's Cap Am is a relevant take on Kirby and Simon's 'Super American' label, especially considering how much he has evolved.
During the experiement, Rogers is injected with the super serum and gets dosed with vita rays. He also goes through extensive physical and tactical training programme and military strategy, so he is literally a super soldier. He was also asleep for 70 years and was then defrosted and is now seriously old... but that's another story.
Capt America is also pretty much the moral compass of the Avengers — almost every Avenger has had their 'What would Cap Am do?' moment, and by now he is almost like a symbol. He has also gone through a terrific transformation from surviving the most tumultuous time in history, to adjusting to the 70-year time leap to growing the most fantastic beard ever, but Steve Rogers's benevolence is still his superpower.
"Everything special about you came out of a bottle," Tony Stark tells Captain America in Avengers, which is a subtle throwback to the Avengers' motto, "If you're nothing without your suit, then you are nothing." But Captain America is the most significant metaphor for the Avengers, because for all his super human abilities, the one thing that he didn't get 'injected with', is his compassion and his ability to pick his battles.
You probably need to catch up on his MCU history to understand why he looks so worried in Infinity War — Thanos, it's mainly because of Thanos. But from Civil War to Winter Soldier, Captain America has had the most remarkable stint, because he is the only superhero who can justify saying, "I cannot represent the American government; the President does that. I must represent the American people."
Interestingly, when the Avengers had their first face off against Thanos in the 1970s comics, Cap Am tells the alien overlord, "As long as one man stands against you, you'll never be able to claim victory." In Infinity War, too, Cap Am is the one fighting in the frontlines. Also he has a Wakandian shield made of vibranium, which should help, but that moment in the trailer still has us worried, okay?
Name: Natalia Alianovna Romanova, also known as Natasha Romanoff
Pre-Avenger occupation: Super spy, super assassin, needs literally no weapon to kick alien ass, has no effs to give you, should have got her own film like yesterday
Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) stands as an extended metaphor for her disgruntled audiences who have cried out for a movie about a relevant female superhero, failed by a broken system. The orphan, trained as a Soviet Spy, who finds her way back to serving a greater cause is the most fascinating premise for any superhero ever. MCU's decision to only give Black Widow her solo movie, eight years after her introduction, is the kind of injustice Black Widow has been battling her whole life, TBH.
Black Widow was first introduced in Iron Man 2 in 2010, as an undercover spy for S.H.I.E.L.D, posing as Tony Stark's assistant. Over the years, Johansson's Black Widow has carved out an irreplaceable zone for herself. But the fact that she has reached the penultimate war without having her story told is a disappointment.
"Regimes fall every day. I tend not to weep over that," is something very few superhumans in the MCU can say without choking. The fact that Black Widow has known human suffering so intensively, qualifies her to be the Avenger main woman — which she is, because she was the only woman until Scarlet Witch and the Dora Milaje arrived.
But as unexplored as Black Widow's politcal agendas are, she has stood the test of time and relevance in spite of being a sub-plot for most of MCU history, and only having one-liners as her weapon ("Hey fellas, anyone know where the Smithsonian is? I'm on my way to pick up a fossil" — she means Cap Am, obviously. Cuz, he's 95).
She was last seen in Captain America: Civil War, where she was seen having a proper dilemma, and yet did not have her side fully explained. Something tells us, if Black Widow was a male superhero, she would have got a better close at the end of the movie.
In Infinity War, she finds a place in the frontlines, because she kicks the most ass, and is also one of the most bankable Avengers there is. She is a steady threat to Thanos, more so because she probably can't be killed off as her solo movie is (finally) in the offing.