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Natasha and the concept of Super Heroes

I was wondering if you could help me out. See my friend was watching Avengers for the first time today and we got to this exchange: Her: “I dont like the red haired woman.” Me: “What’s wrong with Natasha?” Her: “she doesnt fit, they needed a chick with boobs in lycra thats the only reason she is there.” Can you PLEASE explain why Natasha is there, because I linked her to your post “Why Natasha Matters” AND SHE STILL DOESN’T GET IT. She thinks that she doesn’t belong because she’s not a superhero 

 And 

 Anonymous asked you:

Okay now we’re debating Natasha’s place in the Avengers because and I quote, “It is a superhero squad” and Natasha is not a superhero. I have no problem with Natasha not being a superhero because she isn’t. She’s a spy, trained from the age of two, by a soviet spy and the Winter Soldier. What I do have a problem with is the fact that since The Avengers is a “superhero squad”, sh has no place, since she has no superpowers and is a superspy instead.

 Hmmmm.

I get the feeling, anon, that neither you nor your friend are comic book readers, just consumers of the movies.  Which is fine!  In many ways, it is good, you get to skip the bloated backstories and confusing rewrites.  In other ways, I believe you’re trying to critique a genre you do not understand, or understand in a minimalistic way.  Please forgive me for saying that, I hope I don’t come off as rude, because that’s not what I intend.

So that being said, I think your question is in two parts: One, what makes a super hero a super hero?  Two, what is Natasha’s place in the Avengers, and does she ‘deserve’ her slot on the team?

Well, let’s get started, shall we?

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Filed under meta wow I babble a lot I have feels I should shut up now

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Head Canon: The Avengers and Movie Night

darkmagyk asked you: Do you think the Avengers have watched The Princess Bride together?

Thursday night is Movie Night in the Toasterverse.  The Princess Bride was the first “movie night,” though it was nothing nearly so official then.  Of course, if you have a group of lonely, isolated, socially maladjusted people living together, and they need to find a way to connect without, you know, TALKING ABOUT FEELINGS, then movies are good.  Movies are a shared cultural experience.  Good movies forge a connection with their audience, a bond of something not quite real, but certainly there.  Great movies give people an excuse to FEEL, to feel in a way that is both safe and validating.

Everybody can cry at the movies.

But Thursday is Movie Night (yes, the caps are important, this is an IMPORTANT THING) in the Avengers Tower, and it’s all Bruce’s fault.

Bruce, who had wandered, lost and alone and directionless, to the far corners of the world.  Bruce, who had isolated himself, who had taken care for years to make no connections, to interact with people as little as possible, to stay separate, apart.

He did it out of necessity, and he hated it.  There are no words for how much Bruce Banner hated being alone, hated avoiding eye contact and touch and conversation.  He did it because it was safest, both for himself, and everyone around him.  He was a threat, he was a danger, he was a monster.

Mostly, he was alone.

But no matter how far he got from home, one thing remained the same, one thing that he noticed and loved and clung to.  The movies created a shared space.  They created a bond.  They created conversation and light and life and he could sit on the edge of a crowd, or even at a distance, and hear other people.  People laughing and crying and yelling, people wrapped up in the experience.

Some times, people, people who didn’t know him, who would never know him, would turn to him and smile, or laugh, their eyes alive and happy and all but yelling out, “do you see this?  Isn’t this amazing?” and Bruce could smile back and feel, just for a second, that he was a part of the human race again.

There are movies everywhere.  The smallest village in the furtherest backwater will still drag out an old movie projector and a sheet on hot summer nights and project old black and white films, musicals and action serials and cartoons, for running, laughing children and adults grateful for a chance to sit and be social.

Bruce caught every one of Steve’s films on a long stay in Bolivia, where the children would perch in trees and the adults would spread blankets on the ground below them, plucking their sleeping offspring from the branches like over ripe fruit when it was time to go home.

And Bruce would linger until the last person was gone before he went back to his empty rented room.

There were battered old tvs and video cassettes in the ‘common room’ of the boarding house in Mexico.  An open air theater  with no walls and a battered tin roof in Columbia.  A drive-in with unpatched holes in the fence in Texas, where he would buy the biggest popcorn and soda they had and the old lady who owned the place would politely ignore his lack of a car.  The ancient one-screen that played the newest Hollywood blockbuster all week, but on Tuesday nights would show a classic in Nova Scotia.  Bollywood films played in a loop with action films and and churned out kung-fu fighters from Hong Kong played all over Asia.

Movies were his last, waning connection to humanity.

It was by chance that Bruce was wandering the silent hallways of the tower on a Thursday night, something like fear or agitation chewing on his brain.  He hadn’t been still, in one place, in a place so exposed, so crowded, so intensely OCCUPIED in so long, he had to fight the urge to run.  All the time.

He still had a packed bag tucked away, because he wanted to assume that he’d be human when he fled.  He prayed for that, with language of hope and praise almost forgotten.

But he was alone, and his skin was crawling, his fingers worrying the edge of his sleeves, over and over and over as he walked, up and down, pacing out the length of hallways, avoiding looking at the windows, avoiding the sight of the dark city so far below him.

He ended up in the rec room, because it was warm, and comfortable, and the tv gave him an excuse to linger.  It was Jarvis who suggested a film, because Jarvis had watched Bruce’s movements, watched his mannerisms and tics and facial expressions, and recognized enough of Tony in him to know that he needed distraction.  

Bruce chose the Princess Bride, because, well, it’s the Princess Bride.  The dual story of true love and heroism and friendship played out against one of family and concern and comfort was one that he liked.  He didn’t think about it.

And at “As you wish,” the first one, he heard steps in the hall and Tony all but flung himself around the corner.

"Holy FUCK," he yelled, making Bruce jump.  "Are you watching the Princess Bride?"

"Uh, yes?" Bruce managed, trying to keep his heartbeat under control.

"Excellent."  Tony vaulted over the back of the couch, bouncing into place next to Bruce.  He waved a hand.  "Jarvis, tell everyone we’re watching a movie.  Assemble and fuck.  Do this thing."

"You don’t have to-" Bruce managed.

"It’s the Princess Bride, fuck yes we do, bet Steve hasn’t seen this, SHEILD showed him nothing but war flicks and what the hell were they thinking, guy’s had enough of that nonsense, do you mind if we go back to the beginning?  Cool, that’d be awesome.  Anyway, yeah, Clint-"

"Is this the Princess Bride?" Clint said from the doorway.  "Fuck.  Yes."

Natasha, right behind him, swore in Russian.  ”He will now quote this movie for days.  You have unleashed something you are not equipped to handle.”

"Could be worse, could be Monty Python," Coulson said.  He had folders tucked under his arm.

"What’s Monty Python?" Steve said.  He was in workout clothes, with Thor in matching SHIELD sweats at his side.  

"We’ll watch that next," Tony said.  "Sit, you’re making me tired just watching you."

"What’s it about?" 

"Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…" Clint quoted, sprawling out on a couch, his head in Natasha’s lap.  

"Ah, an epic story of warriors!" Thor said, taking a seat on the beanbag chair, because he loved that thing.

"Sounds good," Steve added, and looked around.  "Uh, can we have popcorn?" he asked, and he was blushing a little.  Bruce met his eyes and realized that yeah, Steve might just want to see this as much as him.

"Damn, yes.  Okay, pause this thing, let’s get provisions, hey, Jarvis?  Order us a popcorn machine for in here, so we can have the real stuff next time, okay?" And Tony sounded manic, but in the best possible way, like he was happy, like he wanted the company, like popcorn and a twenty-five year old movie was the best idea he’d heard in a long time.

And maybe it was, because by the end of the night, Thor was asleep, still hugging the popcorn bowl to his chest, and Natasha was draped over Clint’s back as he slept on his stomach, snoring just a little, his cheek on Coulson’s thigh.  Coulson was slumped over, his arm thrown across the back of the couch, papers tossed across the table in front of them.

Tony was curled against Steve, the line of his spine tucked against Steve’s side, his head on Steve’s shoulder.  Steve’s cheek was resting on his hair.   Tony’s legs had somehow ended up tangled with Bruce’s, his bare foot warm against the back of Bruce’s ankle.

He was the last one still awake, and that was fine, that was fine, because Clint snored, just a little and Steve’s breathing was slow and steady and loud and he could feel the heat of Tony’s skin against his.

And there was a particularly sad scene playing, so he had an excuse to cry.

Filed under head canon bruce movie night I have feels