IRON MAN 2: Victoria Alonso Explains Why Tony Stark's "I Want One" Line About Black Widow Still Bothers Her

IRON MAN 2: Victoria Alonso Explains Why Tony Stark's "I Want One" Line About Black Widow Still Bothers Her

Marvel Studios Executive Vice President of Production Victoria Alonso has reflected on one of Iron Man 2's controversial moments, explaining why a sexist comment made about Black Widow is so problematic.

By JoshWilding - Jul 03, 2021 02:07 AM EST
Filed Under: Iron Man 2
Source: Time

Hollywood has changed a lot since the early 2010s, particularly when it comes to the depiction of female characters in superhero movies. No longer relegated to thankless love interest roles or sexualised in an over the top way, we're now getting movies like Captain Marvel and Black Widow on a regular basis.

When Iron Man 2 introduced Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff, there's no denying that it was in a somewhat tasteless manner. The character was portrayed in a stereotypically "sexy" way, with Tony Stark looking at a photoshoot of his new employee and stating bluntly, "I want one."

During a recent interview with Time, Marvel Studios Executive Vice President of Production Victoria Alonso explained why that scene bothered her at the time and still does to this very day. 

"It bothered me then and it bothers me now," Alonso explained. "I remember thinking, ‘She’s not a thing.’ But how apropos: the world sees a sexy woman and thinks that because she is beautiful, that’s all she has to give."

Since then, Black Widow has proven herself one of Marvel Studios' most badass superheroes, though Joss Whedon's depiction of the character in his Avengers movies was also criticised by many. Now, though, the character will get to take centre stage in a movie of her own when it's released next week.

 "There was always a myth that women’s stories don’t sell," the Marvel Studios executive added. "That super-heroes can’t be women. We had to demystify a bunch of these myths that were very much a part of what Hollywood was all about."

In our review, we concluded by saying, "Black Widow is Bourne meets Bond meets Terminator...with two outstanding, badass female leads. Action-packed, funny, and at times surprisingly gut-wrenching, Cate Shortland's vision for the MCU is bold, empowering, and utterly unmissable."

In the movie, Scarlett Johansson reprises her role as Natasha/Black Widow, Florence Pugh stars as Yelena, David Harbour portrays Alexei/The Red Guardian, and Rachel Weisz is Melina. Black Widow is directed by Cate Shortland and produced by Kevin Feige; Black Widow - the first big screen story in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe - arrives on July 9th both in theaters and on Disney+. 

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bkmeijer2 - 7/3/2021, 2:31 AM
Wasn't the whole point that Tony Stark was like that though around that time?

But yeah, I can see why it bothers her. Weren't many female-lead big action movies (Resident Evil and Underworpd are the few I can think of)
Spock0Clock - 7/3/2021, 2:59 AM
@bkmeijer - Tony may have been intended to be sexist, but he was also the protagonist of a power fantasy that the (mostly male) audience is intended to identify with. What's problematic isn't that it happened, but that the movie basically excuses Tony's behavior as part of his charm.

On the whole, it's not a huge deal. Widow is treated a lot more respectfully by Cap when they team up, so it does cast scenes like this as more of a Tony problem (and honestly more of a Favreau and Whedon problem).

Watching Loki's credits, I was struck by just how many women are involved in Marvel's behind the scenes now, and while that isn't a silver bullet, it does suggest there's less of a boy's club now on the production side. There can still be sexist characters (and even heroes), but if they're framed through the eyes of women as often as they are men, then that will go a long way.
DaHyro - 7/3/2021, 3:07 AM
@bkmeijer - Not entirely. His personality was completely changed after his kidnapping in the first movie. He goes back to some of his old ways because he’s dying in 2, but his personality kind of regresses for him to do act as arrogantly as he does
bkmeijer2 - 7/3/2021, 3:41 AM
@Spock0Clock @DaHydro - yeah his behavior is was mostly used an excuse for it, but I don't mind they moved him away from that as soon as in The Avengers (which is still my favorite Tony Stark, on par with Iron Man 3)
dracula - 7/3/2021, 2:35 AM
Well yeah its a part of Tony Stark's character flaws, that he grows out of over the course of the infinity saga.

Seriously where are these myths that women stories don't sell?
Buff The Vampire Slayer
Wonder Woman
Kill Bill
Alien 1,2,3,4
Terminator 1 and 2
most slasher flicks
many others

Im sure Black Widow will be good, a lot netter than Captain marvel thats for sure
Urubrodi - 7/3/2021, 2:40 AM
@dracula - I do think it will be really good, but Captain Marvel shouldn't be too hard to beat.
OmegaBlack13 - 7/3/2021, 2:43 AM
@dracula - Perlmutter thought that women action figures wouldn’t sell
Spock0Clock - 7/3/2021, 3:05 AM
@OmegaBlack13 - Perlmutter can eat a mountain of dicks, but I'm pretty sure he didn't come up with this idea just because he's a sexist asshat. There is probably data that he's basing that on.

(Of course, it can be a lot more complicated than just "women figures don't sell" if toy lines tend to be based on properties with few compelling female characters, there may well be a chicken and egg thing happening. And even if it's true that 10 year old boys don't want action figures of girls and girls don't want action figures at all, it's probably shortsighted when there's so many other ways to make money in this context.)
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