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New Escapist Column! On Black Widow’s Death Sequence in “Avengers: Endgame”…

I published a new In the Frame piece at Escapist Magazine this evening. Given that Avengers: Endgame is one year old and that Black Widow was supposed to open today, it seemed appropriate to discuss Black Widow’s death sequence from Endgame.

It has become a cliché in recent years to talk about “subverting expectations”, a term normally employed by fans frustrated with the direction of franchises like Game of Thrones or Star Wars. In short hand, it seems to imply a bad twist, one that undermines the franchise. However, films like Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi and shows like Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who employ subversion for very particular purposes, to catch the audience off-guard and to ask interesting questions about the stories that are being told.

In contrast, the death of Black Widow is the worst sort of subversion or twist. It is a cheap “gotcha!”, designed to catch the audience off-guard by taking a sharp swerve away from the story that has been set up and offering a development simply because it’s unexpected and because surprise has inherent value. The result is something very shallow and superficial, a decision that sacrifices an admittedly predictable and cliché story for something that isn’t even a story at all.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

One Response

  1. I love experiencing the unexpected as long as it serves the plot and is done in taste. Last Jedi had some fantastic ideas that just didn’t follow through in a storytelling perspective. However, there’s always been something that bugged me about Black Widow’s death and i’ve never been able to place it! It feels contrived and out of the blue, rushed to squeeze it into a huge runtime! It’s a shame, as Infinity War/Endgame was the first time I actually felt a connection to the character! I’m not looking forward to the BW solo movie, as it feels 10 years too late!

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