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Although 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron easily broke $1 billion at the global box office, it's generally regarded by fans as one of the weaker movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One of the most heavily criticized aspects of the film is the portrayal of Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, who became something of a 'damsel in distress' — and seemed on the verge of a romantic relationship with Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner. This was a somewhat left-field development, both to fans of the movies and to traditional comic book readers.
Age of Ultron came to a close with the Hulk heading off in a Quinjet, clearly feeling betrayed by Black Widow's actions. Next year's Avengers: Infinity War will see the characters reunite, but how will it go? Will Marvel choose to ignore this unpopular plot element, or will they actually address this strange character arc?
Scarlett Johansson reveals that the relationship will be addressed.
In an interview with Bravo TV, Johansson reflected on how emotional some of the filming had been:
"I just finished Avengers: Infinity War. The first one. My character has this ongoing relationship with Mark Ruffalo's character. I had such devastation that day. I don't know why. I was so devastated.
It was something about this character that Mark plays, and this is something that should feel so solid and suddenly doesn't or there's... And it reminded me of so much of the things going on in my own life at the time…"
A lot has changed for both characters over the last few years. Black Widow has seen her world turned upside-down after the Avengers split and Bruce Banner wound up on the planet Sakaar, becoming a gladiator in the Grandmaster's Arena during the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok.
For Black Widow, hopes that the reunion will provide her with some semblance of stability in a world of chaos may not turn out as well as she hoped. Instead, it seems as though the relationship just doesn't work, leading Black Widow to realize that things have changed. As Johansson puts it: "Something that should feel so solid... suddenly doesn't."
Putting This In Context
We're expecting Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner to play a major role in Infinity War. As he explained:
"We’ve worked a really interesting arc into Thor 3, Avengers 3 and 4 for Banner that I think will – when it’s all added up – will feel like a Hulk movie, a standalone movie."
It's worth noting that the film has changed a lot since that early statement, but Ruffalo's important role in Thor: Ragnarok suggests this "interesting arc" is still on track. If that's the case, then the relationship between Bruce Banner and Black Widow may well become an important part of this. What's more, there are rumors that Liv Tyler's Betty Ross — Banner's classic love-interest from the comics — is set to appear in Infinity War, which may impact this arc further.
It's refreshing to see that however unpopular the relationship in Age of Ultron may have been, Marvel isn't just going to abandon that storyline entirely. The studio is actually showing a commitment to continuing the overarching character arcs, albeit adjusting them to fit fan reactions. It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out!
(Source: Bravo TV)