The Internet’s Slamming Marvel For Fat-Shaming In Black Widow Trailer

Black Widow

The Black Widow trailer has gone down very well amongst fans. By the time of its release in May, it’ll have been ten months since Spider-Man: Far From Home hit cinemas, and we’re already getting mild MCU withdrawal symptoms. And while the film’s smaller and more personal scope means we won’t see the universe-shaping implications of something like Avengers: Endgame, it still seems like it’ll give us some pretty insane action sequences.

But there’s one group that aren’t happy with the trailer. Their objections center on our introduction to David Harbour’s Red Guardian, essentially the Russian equivalent of Captain America. The film finds the character a decade or two past his physical peak. At one point, he struggles (and eventually succeeds) in fitting back into his old superhero costume, with Rachel Weisz’s Melina joking that “you got fat.”

Unsurprisingly, this has caused some consternation, with people accusing Marvel Studios of ‘fat-shaming.’ Here’s just a couple of the reactions from Twitter:

For my money, I took Melina’s line to be something that a stereotypically super-strict Russian ballet/gymnastics teacher might say to their pupils. A woman tasked with brainwashing young girls into becoming super-assassins is unlikely to mince words. And honestly, Red Guardian does indeed fit into his old uniform and we do see him kicking ass. Plus, by normal human standards, he’s not even particularly fat. So, what’s the problem here?

I guess people aren’t happy with ‘fat’ being used as a pejorative term or for it to be a source of humor in the film. The same criticisms were leveled at ‘fat Thor’ in Avengers Endgame, where his weight gain was used as a visual representation of his depression. But while the movie did have a couple of fat jokes early on, they rightly didn’t have the character magically lose the weight for the final battle where he kicked just as much ass as he regularly did.

So, I guess if you’re willing to give Marvel Studios and Hollywood the benefit of the doubt, they’re at least making baby-steps towards body positivity. Red Guardian looks like a really cool character, too, and we get to see a superhero who’s slightly over the hill. It’s a fact that when people get into middle age they tend to put on weight and struggle to get into their old outfits. I’m just happy that we get a big beardy bear superhero on screen. If Black Widow turns out to be full of jokes punching down at fat people, then we can criticize it at that point, but somehow I doubt this trailer shows the whole picture.

About the author

David James

David James

London-based writer about everything and anything. Willing to crawl over rusty nails to write about Metal Gear Solid or Resident Evil.