Let's talk about that shitty Black Widow controversy!
I once said you could cut Avengers down and call it “Black Widow & the Wise-Cracking Dudes with Stupid Clothes.” I maintain that is true. Black Widow could have easily been the main character of that movie. That's the highest praise I can give that film or her.
There's no way to talk about how Avengers: Age of Ultron handled her character that is at once polite and accurate. I don't know if Joss Whedon was trying to piss off people who liked her character or if someone hit him in the head with a brick and the resulting concussion did...this.
Let's start with the good stuff. When she refuses to try and lift Mjolnir, it's a boss-ass move. It clearly shows she has nothing to prove. She has the supreme confidence afforded by knowing herself and her place in the universe.
When she makes a move on Banner, that's good stuff. Don't get me wrong, I'm tired of the incredibly hot woman making a move on the unassuming nerd bullshit storyline--
The most egregious example that springs to mind.
--because it's wish-fulfillment nerd bullshit that deserves a whole blog of its own, granted. But it's undeniable they have an emotional history. Every other member of The Avengers has a relationship.
Yes, asexual and aromatic characters have a right to be represented, but my point is that they aren't foisting a relationship on Black Widow because she's a female; they're forcing it on her because of a giant heteronormativity hammer and a the need for a plot involving her and Banner that can advance independently of the plot and explain Banner's absence at the end.
They're both emotionally closed-off. Neither one of them is getting a standalone movie any time soon. It's a relationship that works. Here are a few things that shouldn't happen to a global super-spy after she expresses her romantic interest in someone:
1. They do that thing where they fall together and he lands in her boobs.
2. She's captured by the villain and he has to rescue her.
3. He carries her in his arms when she's not even hurt.
4. They do that thing that anime does where they fall on each other and he lands on her breasts.
5. Black Widow says she's a monster because she can't have kids.
6. The thing where Banner and Romanoff and tits because clumsy.
7. Basically, those last two, repeated forever because what the fuck.
The “monster” bit retroactively takes her calm, confident refusal of the hammer and turns into an almost despair-laden resignation that she's not good enough. And that is bullshit.