- Benvolio: In love?
- Romeo: Out.
- Benvolio: Of love?
- Romeo: Out of her favor where I am in love.
- Benvolio: *looks into the camera like he's on The Office*
If you feel like playing film critic misogyny bingo when America’s first round of Winter Soldier reviews are published this week, I recommend looking out for the phrases “leather-clad” and “ass-kicker.” These are an easy way to weed out any reviewers who weren’t paying attention to the movie, because neither phrase describes Black Widow’s actual role.
For one thing, Black Widow is not “leather-clad.” Not unless you’re talking about the casual leather jacket she wears in a handful of scenes, anyway. Her official uniform is no tighter than Captain America’s was in The Avengers, and is similar to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s artificial fabric jumpsuits. By comparison, the Winter Soldier’s signature look involves leather body armor, ’90s grunge hair, smudged eyeliner, and a black rubber mask.
Spider-Man’s spandex costume is probably more salacious, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t wind up being described as an homme fatale by anyone with a Pulitzer.
Honestly, this kind of catsuit-focused review says more about the reviewer than the film itself. Apparently the mere concept of Scarlett Johansson in a tight outfit is so dazzlingly erotic that it bypasses some male reviewers’ conscious minds and causes them to ignore everything she says and does for the rest of the movie. The result is a series of reviews from highly respected film critics who, given the opportunity to describe each Avenger in a single sentence, replace Black Widow’s summary with the announcement, “I AM A HETEROSEXUAL MAN AND SCARLETT JOHANSSON’S BOOBS ARE AWESOME.”
This unrelenting focus on Scarlett Johansson’s appearance, coupled with the assumption that her only non-decorative role is that of an “ass-kicker,” indicates a fundamental inability to see Black Widow as the well-rounded character she actually is."
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, “Every review of Black Widow in ‘Captain America’ is wrong”