Thor: Ragnarok: Why Natasha and Bruce shouldn’t be together


Natasha Romanoff made a cameo appearance in Thor: Ragnarok, only to push her relationship with Bruce Banner yet again. It still needs work.

Warning: Major spoilers for Thor: Ragnarok below. Read at your own risk.

So Natasha Romanoff made a cameo appearance in Thor: Ragnarok. I should’ve been happy to see her. Instead, I was irritated.

Though her appearance in Thor: Ragnarok was brief, Natasha appearing at all is actually pivotal to Bruce Banner’s “three-film arc,” which is why I’m upset.

While attempting to escape Sakaar, Thor spots the S.H.I.E.L.D. quinjet that the Hulk piloted off-world in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but it has since been deactivated. Upon boarding the quinjet, a video message from Natasha (the same video message we saw in Avengers: Age of Ultron) begins to play.

At no time during his stay on Sakaar did the Hulk ever transform back into Bruce — upon seeing Natasha, the Hulk transforms back to Bruce for the first time in two years. Then, he proceeds to ask how she’s doing.

I thought they were done with this nonsense. Oh, how I wish they were.

I really don’t get it. Why pair them together at all? I just never understood why Marvel Studios felt the need to go there. I found myself rolling my eyes at every scene Natasha shared with Bruce, in addition to my “ews” and “ughs” of disgust. Not only did Age of Ultron put her in a romance that was neither hinted at or developed, but they made her into a damsel in distress. Obviously, she’s not a damsel, and she shouldn’t be downgraded to such.

What makes matters worse is their Avengers teammates actually shoved their relationship down everyone’s throats, as if groundwork was already laid for the unlikely couple. Steve Rogers tells Bruce, “[Natasha’s] not the most open person in the world, but with [him], she seems very relaxed.” Additionally, Steve implies that his chemistry with Natasha in Captain America: The Winter Soldier was fake, whereas, with Bruce, her flirting was real.

Really? What was in that Asgardian drink?

Though nothing explicit happens between Natasha and Steve in The Winter Soldier, there was definitely groundwork for a potential romance between them — groundwork that was laid for them in The Avengers and was carried on all the way to Captain America: Civil War. That’s four films (not just scenes) worth of relationship development. And to top the cake, Natasha and Steve were canon on Earth-555326. (They even had a son together, James.)

But if you can’t get on board with Natasha and Steve romantically, then maybe you can agree that Clint Barton’s even a better choice than Bruce.

The relationship between Natasha and Clint intrigued me from the start. Aside from being canon in the comic books, look at The Avengers film: there were several signs indicating that they were already head over heels for each other, and that they were very likely hurtling toward resolving their delicious tension in a future film. Also, in The Winter Soldier, Natasha is wearing an arrow necklace, in honor of Clint.

But no, they gave Clint a wife — who wasn’t Natasha — instead.

I probably would be okay with Natasha and Bruce, if the groundwork had been covered in earlier films. They may be the superhero version of Beauty and the Beast, but that doesn’t make them epic. (I am in no way jabbing at Beauty and the Beast, by the way. I love Beauty and the Beast.) Their relationship needs to feel earned, and even up until now, it’s nowhere close. With Steve and with Clint, they were already there, so why not go there?

And why make Natasha the reason for the Hulk to want to transform back into Bruce? It’s belittling him; it’s insulting to one of the most iconic characters ever created.

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Besides, Bruce already had a love interest: Betty Ross. Weren’t they still together at the close of The Incredible Hulk? At least, with Betty, Bruce was Bruce. (And with Steve and Clint, Natasha was Natasha — you get my drift.)

Anyone want to bring Betty back? (Looking at you, Russo brothers.)