Black Widow’s Death- OG Avengers: The 5 Stages of Grief
Avengers: Endgame was not the greatest action movie, and yet it went on to be the biggest movie of all time. Why was that? Because Avengers: Endgame was a film that was emotionally satisfying. People left the theatres happy and satisfied with the story, and the ending. With its major deaths, we felt sad. But despite that sadness, those deaths felt natural, very fitting with the story, and most importantly, they were handled extremely well. Black Widow’s death was the first to happen, and it came as a big surprise considering Black Widow was seemingly going to start her solo film franchise after Endgame.
But as we just mentioned, the death felt natural &, it was very crucial for the story. Nat’s story came to a sorrowful, yet beautiful ending. We didn’t get to see a big funeral after Nat’s death, and it has been explained many times as to why exactly we didn’t get one. But, what we did get was a brief moment to mourn while the 5 OG Avengers also grieved as soon as they found out. This scene of Clint, Steve, Banner, Thor & Tony was constructed beautifully. It had heart, it had emotion, and it had a sense of motivation. But did you notice how all 5 of those expressed the theme of grief? The reflected the 5 stages of grief up to a certain expectation. Erik Voss from New Rockstars brought this analysis forward in his Infinity Saga Rewatch of Avengers: Endgame. Here’s how the 5 stages of grief were seen among the 5 of the 6 original Avengers:
Stage 1 – Denial
Among everyone, Thor was in complete denial of the fact that Natasha was truly gone. He said to Tony, “What? You’re acting like she’s dead. Why are we acting like she’s dead? We have the stones, right? As long as we have the stones Cap, we can bring her back. Isn’t that right? So, stop this sh*t. We’re the Avengers, get it together!” Then even when Clint said that it can’t be undone, Thor again said, “I’m sorry, no offence, but you’re a very earthly being, okay, and we’re talking about space magic. It can seem very difficult…” It took some convincing from Clint, to make Thor understand that what had happened was beyond magic.
Stage 2 – Anger
We’ve known Hulk to be the angry one among the furious five. He wasn’t angry throughout the film since Banner had taken over after figuring out a way for him & Hulk to co-exist. But, all that anger, all that rage did come up once again right after he found that he had lost the love of his life, his friend, Natasha. We saw him throwing a bench a few 100 meters away in Anger.
Stage 3 – Bargaining
Clint was the one bargaining for Nat’s life as he was trying to explain the reality to Thor. He said, “It was supposed to be me. Sacrificed her life for that goddamned stone, she put her life on it.” Clint & Nat fought over who was going to die back at Vormir. Nat saved him at the very last moment and made the jump. Clint was bargaining for his life to be taken in exchange of hers even when he was back at the Avengers HQ.
Stage 4 – Depression
Steve was in a state of remorse. He was feeling guilty and he probably was the saddest of all. Clint and Natasha were close, but ever since The Winter Soldier, Steve & Natasha had built a bond of trust. For him, Natasha was as great a friend as Bucky or Sam. So, he was in a depression upon losing his friend.
Stage 5 – Acceptance
Tony was the closest to acceptance as the scene actually started off with him asking whether Nat had a family. He asked that because with Natasha’s death, he saw his worst fear coming true, i.e. leaving his own family alone with his death. After him, we saw Banner & Steve also come to accept that their friend was truly gone.
This scene was truly beautiful. These little moments are why we loved Avengers: Endgame so much.