Superhero couples are a time honored tradition, and while these two have had a rocky opening to their (slightly odd) relationship, this article is here to put the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) on the right track to romantic bliss. She’s a former Russian spy, turned Black Ops secret agent, moonlighting for S.H.I.E.L.D. He’s a nuclear physicist who has a tendency of getting a little bit to into his work, and he has trouble managing his rage. Maybe these two are starcrossed, like Ruffalo suggests -- they could very well be perfect for each other.
Love conquers all within these paragraphs however, as we look to Marvel’s own Beauty and the Beast for a look at the MCU and all it has wrought around it. Any multi-billion dollar movie marquee that has time to spark a little bit of romance between two of its most damaged characters, is at least looking for an interesting direction going forward. Let the memes below tell the Marvel story through the lens of two of the Avengers that have found happiness in love while the rest of us have just been watching the movies finding happiness in super powers. Here are 15 Hulk and Black Widow memes.
15 HULK HATES THIS GAME
Ah, the joys of engaging in the spirit of competition with your significant other. In most other contests requiring physical prowess, the Hulk has Black Widow beat: Football, wrestling, even basketball. The classic hand-slap game is a great equalizer. Hulk tries to pull his hands away, but he’s just too slow. And it turns out, he flinches every time.
Every one of life’s little moments teaches us a lesson, however. Kudos to Hulk for playing a game he’s bad at. Sure, he’s a poor loser, everyone should probably have seen that coming, but he’s working on it. That’s what relationships are for. Still though, Natasha Romanova didn’t take handouts from anyone, she’s going to slap his hand every time. Her tough but deep love, paired with his strength and vulnerability; that’s what makes them a power(ed) couple.
14 THE DCEU
If there is a downside to the meteoric success of the MCU, it's how shoddy it makes the DCEU look. Equal fans of both publishing houses (they do exist) believe there is a middle, where both Warner Bros and Disney are putting out amazing, competitive superhero movies. But this is an age when the pendulum is swinging toward Marvel, making DC look hapless.
Last year, the DCEU came out in strong opposition to the Marvel style of franchise building. Respectfully, they argued against a network of movies so interconnected. There was a compelling case for this style of auteur-focused filmmaking, but after Zack Snyder’s departure from Justice League, a panic has visibly seized Warners. A decentralized universe wouldn’t crumble on the failure of one movie, as the DCEU clearly has.
13 INFINITY WAR HAS MOVED UP
Presale orders were always going to be huge for Avengers: Infinity War, they got a bump in the past few weeks when Marvel announced they were shortening the wait for the latest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by one week. The new release date is April 27, 2018, and while the rumors of conspiracy are flying, the most likely reasons point to a more evenly spaced box office calendar for Disney and a clamp down on spoilers.
All that really matters though is that a relaxing, romantic Marvel movie date is coming up for all of the couples out there. Grab your special someone, do your best Hulk and Black Widow cosplay/roleplay, and enjoy the evening, advocating that those two are the best Marvel superhero couple. Disclaimer: Do not, under any circumstances, use Disney movies for real-life relationship advice or guidance. Speaking from experience. Thank you.
12 THAT BLACK PANTHER MONEY
Black Panther has set the box office record for highest grossing movie in the month of February. As of this article’s writing, the movie has made $605 million domestically, and $1.19 billion internationally (per BoxOfficeMojo). This meme represents a piece of everyone who’s surprised about how strong Marvel movies are at this stage, and the expectations are still climbing.
Even the upcoming Infinity War won’t match the cultural impact of Black Panther however, and it’s not any kind of "millennial reaction", the revenue doesn’t support that anymore. That movie was able to capture a racially-charged moment in this country’s development and synthesize it into a comic book movie moment in a stunningly accurate reflection of art imitating life, and then it made a bunch of money from it. For troubled times, when it’s difficult to see or understand the American Dream, it seems like it lies in that direction.
11 RED SPARROW ENVY
Scarlett Johansson, Natasha Romanov and Black Widow, all have a right to be upset that this hasn’t happened yet. She paved the way for female superheroes on the silver screen all the way back in Iron Man 2, but the studio still hasn’t produced a movie with a female lead. Telling female driven stories is obviously an untested investment, and a hard thing for many movie studios to do, but one director’s obstacle is another’s opportunity, and there’s a great story in that character.
Captain Marvel does come out later this year, but even then really, there should already be another female driven movie in the works or on the books. It’s disappointing that a even a team film, hasn’t surfaced yet. It seems like we’ve almost gotten over the ‘salesman complaining that his customers aren’t buying the product’ phase and now we just need to get the movies.
10 PLAYLIST GUY
In the movies, fans got a depressingly dull take on Hulk and Widow’s courtship, but it might have gone something like the above meme if Banner took to wearing those headphones. By all appearances, from what fans have seen, it looks like Black Widow was the one pursuing the relationship, but it does raise the question: what kinds of pick-up lines do superheroes use?
It must be tough, even these days, when everyone knows there are so many different kinds of heroes, but that moment when the hero is trying to date the civilian, but they don’t know how to tell them they’re a costumed vigilante. It’s also kind of irresponsible and dangerous, definitely a first date level detail. Of course it’s awkward, but, at the risk of sounding like a traditionalist, it’s probably why superheroes should probably stick to dating within their ranks. Villains on a case-by-case basis.
9 THINGS TO SMASH
Relationships consist of give and take. Just as Widow has some issue to work out with Natasha, Bruce Banner will always have that side of him that’s got to be the Hulk. Unfortunately for these two, that push/pull won’t always be as easily, politely, or humorously communicated as this meme suggests. How does one live with themselves and with someone else at the same time? Who hasn’t felt themselves too hopeless and broken to be the suitable partner for another?
Give and take. Sometimes things need to be smashed, other times, nuclear physics equations have to be solved. A true partnership intertwines those two individuals’ efforts to make those compromises so they can support each other. These two are so ridiculous that if they can approximate any kind of romance, it gives hope to the rest of humankind.
8 HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
When you’re Marvel, you’re family. Especially these three, so it makes sense they would get together over the holidays. Sure it blurs the lines between work and friendship, but it makes going into battle all the more memorable. This particular Christmas, when the above card was made, was an interesting time. Tony had been living with Natasha and Bruce since August at that point, that was when Pepper had finally said she’d had enough -- the most recent time.
And Natasha and Bruce had the argument, back and forth, “he’s a billionaire, he can live anywhere” and “he’s a codependent addict with self-destructive tendencies”, and before they knew it, they realized they were already having a family squabble. Tony and Bruce have spent the early winter finalizing the refinements on their latest cold fusion gamma reactor, meanwhile, Natasha spent the fall learning three new coding languages.
7 OH YEAH
With Avengers: Infinity War debuting in almost month, the latest buzz has rumors of lots of Thor and Thanos, but little else is known about the events of the movie and how it will impact the rest of the MCU. Thankfully, Hulk and Widow are two of the characters who have stayed off the suspected death list, but already, the movie has teased some changes.
The Guardians of the Galaxy meeting the Avengers will hopefully tilt the film franchise in a more astronomical direction. But on the other hand, are they really going to go out there and drop Captain Marvel, the Microverse, and the Quantum Realm in this movie? That seems a little too ambitious. Then is Avengers 4, "Infinity War Part 2", or are they going somewhere else entirely? So many questions are being raised with the emergence of Phase 4, and the Hulk is excited about it.
6 AFRAID OF RATS
Even in the most open, communicative relationships, two people can learn new things about each other every day. Of course, the basics are covered on the first date. First you talk about each other’s backgrounds, and where you’re from, what you’re doing, where you’re going. But that still doesn’t really capture who a person is.
You really can think you know someone for years and years and they’ll still surprise you. Most of the time that’s an amazing thing. Relationships are composed of those surprises, that’s what makes the real thing more beautiful than the idealized, dream partnership. This meme simply presents another take on why these two are the best couple in the MCU. Hopefully we can all find someone we’d like to run away from rats with.
5 SO MUCH GOOD TV
This meme also speaks to the greater scope of television today, but as far as Marvel television goes, there’s a delightfully crushing amount of that as well. Netflix’s premiere shelf added Jessica Jones season two earlier this month, and it’s also planning on debuting Luke Cage season two on June 22, 2018. Cloak and Dagger, New Warriors and a Deadpool cartoon are probably all coming this year also.
The ways in which these shows could factor into the MCU are really exciting. Who wouldn’t like to see Agent Phil Coulson eventually make a guest appearance on Cloak and Dagger? That kind of synergy would require a lot of behind the scenes cooperation and work to make everything work together, but that’s the world of television that Marvel have made for themselves. Now, they can define their TV imprint however they want.
4 ON CRITICS
Cartoon characters are, (except in really nauseating movie theaters), two-dimensional, and comic books are still printed on paper, a flat medium, but they still take on a life of their own. Even the most hyperbolic, high contrast, hypercolored cartoon figure reflects the humanity creating and appreciating it to some extent. Put it another way: even a story about intellectuals, in early 20th century existentialist France, can be unrelatable and inhuman.
In some way, some small or large way, Marvel’s characters represent parts of ourselves that we don’t to stop believing in, and those comic book, or now movie, stories are places that we’ll always want to go back to. Beneath the green screened special effects, the masks, and the makeup, there’s artistry and imaginative storytelling at the center, and thankfully, that’s being highlighted more and more frequently.
3 HOW DO I LOVE THEE?
Both love and war are characterized by their blinding passion. They both entail a fervor so strong that they block out all other priorities and goals. What better reason, then, than to combine the two? This article has argued before, a little harshly, about how superheroes should pursue relationships within their own chosen walk of life. As a way to minimize civilian injury, both emotional and physical, this is for the best.
This meme comments on another point in that argument’s favor. Naturally, any significant other is going to want to work with their partner to achieve the other’s goals. Like a couple co-hosting a dinner party that really one of them would rather not be attending. This way, with a couple like Hulk and Widow, their goals are aligned, they can give each other their full support. Both emotionally and heroically.
2 NEW COMIC BOOK DAY
Thank the comic book gods above for one more thing this Wednesday as you pay homage at the altar. Wednesday Warriors make this the center point of their week, but even the occasional comics fan should take heart in knowing that every seven days, like a chicken’s clockwork, new comic books are being placed on the shelves. This is the ebb and flow of the tide that reminds us that the world is still turning.
Some say there is no karma in comics, just ask any creator or person of color you ever meet. A lot of villains and henchmen have negative things to say about that topic too. It’s nicer to think that it just hasn’t happened yet, and with every week that passes, we can hope to take a step closer to finding that harmony. In the meantime, keep reading, True Believers.
1 ROMANOVA'S THREAT
Natasha Romanova has had a tough upbringing. Take her words as a threat, at least, but even more, a promise. Also consider her perspective. After growing up in communist Russia, excelling as a Russian spy, and being trained in every kind of combat known to man and woman, she’s forced to leave all of that, and forge her own way. Along that path, she’s been kidnapped, brainwashed, tortured, lied to, and manipulated dozens of times by now.
There are at least two sides to the Black Widow/Natasha Romanova, just as there are with Bruce Banner and the Hulk. His transformation is on the outside, and her secret, inner, self is hidden from the world, but that’s why they can support each other. If fans are lucky, this romance will blossom into something more than they’ve seen on screen so far.