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Age of Ultron Blog - BlackHawk Down

So, apparently, on May 28, 2015, I wrote nearly 2200 words after seeing Age of Ultron for the second time. I left these words on my computer,  likely wanting to later edit them, and they were forgotten. I found them today, and in re-reading them, I stand by them.

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I ship Clint Barton and Natasha Romanoff.

Yes, it’s true. I ship Clintasha, or as I prefer to call it, BlackHawk*, like FedEx.

But I ship this pairing the same way I ship every couple I like – very, very particularly. Do I see Clint and Natasha as secretly married? No. Do they have a secret family? Definitely not. Do they have sex? Irrelevant. Completely and totally so.

Now, I can see most shippers scratching their head at this position of mine. If I don’t see the pair in question making out, married, having a family, etc, how can I call myself a fan of the pairing?

Easily.

See, I view Natasha and Clint as more than that. In my mind’s eye, they are partners. No, more than that. More than friends. More than family. More than lovers. They are soulmates. Two halves of a coin. Frankly, though I’ve listed several that will do, no word in English quite conveys my true meaning. So I will borrow one from Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Betazoid: they are Imzadi. And I have long contended that one’s Imzadi need not be one’s lover, and in fact, it is likely better if they are not.

And yet… much as with Riker and Troi, the most famous and original Imazdi, I still ship this pairing. I truly enjoy the occasional toeing of the line. The blurring of definitions. The underlying (and generally unresolved) sexual tension of their relationship. In the MCU (the comics canon has its own share of history for this pair, but I will leave that out of this blog for now), I see more than friendship in The Avengers. The scene in which Clint wakes from Loki’s mind control is loaded with something more. What that something is is nebulous, but it’s there, at least for me.

Clearly, there is a close bond between these two people. Is it sexual? Who cares? Interpret that how you want. Sex or not doesn’t matter. The bond is powerful, and that’s what I see and what I respond to. It’s what makes me crave every little scrap of these two I can get my grubby little paws on. And that’s how I define “ship” here. I love, love, love their relationship, whatever it might be. I like them as friends. As partners. And yes, occasionally as lovers, but never as a perfect, white fence, family situation. These people are broken. Far too much so for an actual relationship to work. Might they occasionally evoke a “friends with benefits” clause? Yes. Often? Probably not.

But when push comes to shove, these two will always, always be there for one another. When Clint gets taken by Loki, Natasha won’t let him go. When she is in trouble later in battle, she calls out only one name for help: Hawkeye. He answers, with that name only he gets to use; a single word that carries so much power – Nat.

And so it goes.

I love these two, and always will.

And so imagine my conflict upon watching Age of Ultron. For the first time in my fandom life, my OTP** was crushed by canon. Not just smacked around a bit, but ground up like a pill in a pestle.

When I came out of my first viewing of that movie, I just kept blinking and mumbling. I didn’t know what to think. The movie didn’t confuse me, but my feelings about it were just that. Confused and conflicted. I enjoyed the film, but… but… but… my BlackHawk! It burned!

The more time went by, the more okay I became with Age of Ultron’s handling of my favorite pairing in the MCU (though the beginning, with its BlackHawk hurt/comfort and whump of Clint was just plain mean, Joss), for the reasons I stated above. I was okay with Natasha and Clint not being together. I became more and more at peace with the movie pounding a nail into the more traditional shipper’s coffin, because Imzadi need not be lovers, and perhaps it is better if they are not. I reminded myself of my stance on this many times, until I felt better.

And yet… I was still conflicted, because Barton having a wife was one thing (and here’s where comics canon comes in handy – but more on that later), but kids? Come on. Bit of a stretch, that. A little too much stability from a guy with that job and that personality.

Plus, adding in the Hulk thing? Oh, you know what I’m talking about. Natasha and Bruce? *blinks* What? Where did that come from? I was just… mystified.

So, while I was better, I wasn’t what I would call fine. I was okay, but not good, with it.

Tonight, I saw Age of Ultron again. It’s been a few weeks, and I’ve heard all the good and bad things people have been saying about the movie, but the only one that stuck with me was the whole “Black Widow was handled terribly” thing, so I went into it this time with a mindset to really look at her, specifically, for the supposed insults, and to re-examine my feelings about Natasha and Bruce and BlackHawk.

And a funny thing happened – I’m completely okay now.

One thing that comforted me before about my BlackHawk was that even without any romantic entanglements, Natasha is the only one who knew (and kept, by the way) Clint’s secret.

Also, when Natasha falls in battle, Clint’s first concern is for her. (“Does anyone have eyes on Nat?” Again, with the “Nat,” by the way.) But he hesitates only a moment before putting the mission first, because that’s what he’s supposed to do. He’s a soldier. His comrade in arms would understand.

See what I called Natasha there? Comrade in arms.

That’s it. That’s the whole point.

And that’s why I’m still in love with this pair, one-hundred-percent.

I loved The Science Bros in this movie, and Cap checking on Tony made me grin, but for team dynamics, give me my BlackHawk any day. When everything is falling apart around them, when the team is at each other’s throats, they won’t be. They’ll have each other’s backs.

So perhaps “ship” isn’t the right term for my love of them. Perhaps it is more of a bromance, but because of the underlying possible sexual tension, I still prefer ship. It works for me. Even if one member of my pairing is married. Because life is messy, and being married doesn’t make one a monk, so to speak.

Speaking of that, why can’t one member of the Avengers in the MCU have a normal life? Yes, it’s still a bit much for me that Clint Barton has a wife and kids***, but it’s okay. I actually find it quite refreshing that Hawkeye, of all people, gets to have that “normal life”, and by proxy, so does Natasha, even if it’s just a little.

Now, Natasha/Bruce still felt… odd, but much less so – partly because I was prepared for it, obviously, and partly because I can see it (somewhat) now. At this stage of her life (in the MCU – very important, that), Natasha Romanoff is likely up for experimentation. Also, she feels like an outcast. Less than human. (And no, not because she was rendered sterile, for the love of Thor – that line wasn’t the best, but it has been completely blown out of proportion – even super gender-sensitive me wasn’t offended by it.) She’s killed hundreds and been made into a destroyer of life by outside forces. She’s a monster, at least to her own eyes. So, why not be attracted to the other (literal) monster on the team? The other broken person? After all, in the MCU, Clint Barton isn’t broken, right?**** Not that we know of, anyway. So, he doesn’t work for Romanoff. He’s got his perfect little life. Something Natasha sees as impossible for her. So, other options make sense.*****

So, I’m okay now. I’m on board. Yes, the movie has flaws (Thor going all Ragnorok, for one thing, but whatever – it was, like, two minutes), but overall I enjoyed it. I got to see my alter ego, Mister Tony Stark, fucking things up in spectacular fashion, but somehow still managing to save the day. I saw The Vision in near perfection in Paul Bettany, and the man candy of Cap and Thor. But mostly, I saw Black Widow saving the day on a motorcycle and using Cap’s shield (and not trying to pick up the hammer, by the way – nice, nice, nice touch, that******) and I saw Hawkeye being the sarcastic and hilarious yet perfectly human man I love.

Therefore, I stand by the answer I gave an old high school friend on New Year’s Even 2012, when she asked me who my favorite Avenger was, after we watched the first film (because what else would you do on New Year’s Eve?). It’s still true.

In the context of this movie:

Black Widow. (If for no other reason than: “I adore you, but I need the other guy.”)

Overall:

Iron Man. (Because of the resonance for me of The Vision saying, “It’s true. He hates you the most.”)

New found respect for:

Cap. (Because of “I’m home.”)

Currently infatuated with and runs a close second to me, I mean, Tony:

Hawkeye. (Because of the whole thing. You just need it all: “Hey! Look at me! It’s your fault. It’s everyone’s fault. Who cares? Are you up for this? Are you? Look, I just need to know ‘cuz the city is flying. Okay? The city is flying. We’re fighting an army of robots. And I have a bow and arrow. None of this makes sense. But I’m going back out there ‘cuz it’s my job. Okay? And I can’t do my job and babysit. Doesn’t matter what you did, or what you were. If you go out there, you fight, and you fight to kill. Stay in here, you’re good. I’ll send your brother to come find you. But if you step out that door, you are an Avenger.” Fuck. Yes. So much Hawkeye love here. That, and, well, “No one would know!” And so much more. Gods, I love Hawkeye in the MCU – and the Fractionverse, but whatever.)

Sorry, Hulk and Thor. You’re on your own.

And now that I’ve typed far more words than I’d intended tonight, off I go.

Avengers…. Oh, you know the rest.

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*I prefer BlackHawk over Clintasha, because I like Black Widow and Hawkeye together more than I like Clint Barton and Natasha Romanoff together. Hawkeye and Black Widow are Imzadi, with bonds forged in battle. Clint and Natasha are… flawed human beings, with more baggage between them than titanium in a Hulkbuster, and so are therefore not so capable of a real relationship. (Sorry, Laura, but it’s true.)

**I actually only have one OTP. I ship nearly everything a little, but only Snake-Eyes and Scarlett in G.I. Joe are completely exclusive for me. That said, this one comes damn close.

***Okay, this is where I just get really, really confused, actually. Yes, the MCU is different than the comics. I’m fine with that. In fact, I often like the MCU better. But WTF with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in regards to this particular plot point? As soon as Bobbi Morse was introduced, I got all excited. Bobbi Morse! Mockingjay! And also… Hawkeye’s wife. At least for a while, etc. So the idea of Hawkeye being married I’m fine with. I’m also very okay with a sexual undercurrent existing with his partner (I’ve had brothers in arms, and though I am often gender male I am still sex female and heterosexual, so sometimes there is an undercurrent in my close relationships - even though I’m married - as much as we all like to pretend there isn’t) and an actual relationship with his wife (that’s the way it usually is, as the quarterback wants the cheerleader and not a teammate, etc). And once Bobbi came on the scene, I tilted my head sideways and thought “hmmmm.” But then, there’s Hunter. Sweet Hunter, Bobbi’s ex on AoS. Still fine by me. Everything still makes sense. An ex doesn’t mean that a future relationship with Hawkeye doesn’t happen. But then AoU… and now I just don’t know how to feel about my life, because I bizarrely ship Hunter/Bobbi and now there’s another wife for Clint and WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING TO MY HAWKEYE? Seriously, I’m still just mystified by this and my feelings about it. So… confused.

****Or is he? Wouldn’t that be nice to know? Where’s Barney is all this? I have little hope that Clint’s backstory will ever be fleshed out in the MCU, but that’s an interesting angle, that.

*****Even if they’ll all go down in flames, because no one can ever “get her” like Clint. *sticks fingers in ears and hums loudly because BlackHawk forever* ;)

******Yes, it’s comics canon and not established in the MCU, but I know in my heart that Natasha Romanoff can wield Mjolnir. And it fills said heart with absolute glee.

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