Natasha Romanoff is an expert killer, like Wolverine, who constantly tries to change and move away from her past. Both Marvel characters manage to work well with teams until their personal struggles get in the way. Black Widow not only resembles Logan because of the similarities between the tormented heroes, but also in trying to teach the youthful characters that killing is wrong, and that they shouldn’t be controlled and abused into that lifestyle.
Black Widow works as a combination of an origin story, a sequel, and a conclusion to a character who has been a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) for a decade. Similar to Logan/Wolverine, Natasha/Black Widow is that singular character who’s been around for a long time, both as a global protector and as a dangerous killer. She’s also like Nick Fury, an agent who isn’t able to reveal everything about herself, and keeps vital information hidden from members of her Avengers team in order to protect them and her identity.
Wolverine is also a man who doesn’t like to reveal too much of himself to members of the X-Men team, especially since he grows to care for them, particularly Jean Grey, the woman he loves, and doesn’t want anyone to get hurt because of his actions. Logan’s relationship with Jean is short-lived due to his history, just like Natasha’s brief romance with Bruce Banner/Hulk, since Nat can’t have children, and Bruce is always a wanted man with a history of chaos and destruction.
The success of Black Widow and Logan speaks to the history and reputation of the characters and their respective fanbases, and displays each character’s personal journey towards redemption and overcoming their demons and horrifying pasts. In both solo outings, each hero faces a villain who shares the same strengths and abilities, but more enhanced versions, making it more difficult for the hero to succeed. Both features also display villains using young children, or young adults, and making them more efficient killers.
In Black Widow, Natasha is up against Antonia/Taskmaster, the daughter of Dreykov, who is the mastermind in control of all the young women he’s trained to become black widows and elite killers. Taskmaster has the ability to move and fight like Natasha and anyone she faces, similar to X-24, Wolverine’s main nemesis and doppelgänger in Logan, who has the same adamantium claws but is a much stronger mutant. X-24 is controlled by Dr. Rice, the man in charge of Alkali-Transigen, the facility that held young mutant children in order to turn them into super soldiers, and whose powers were analyzed for dangerous, experimental purposes.
Family dynamics also play a major part in both films. While the Avengers have been like a family to Black Widow the same way the X-Men became like Wolverine’s family, the solo films focus on the heroes’ primary “families.” Natasha reunites with the “family” of assassins she grew up with, as shown in the beginning of Black Widow, in order to show the bonds they share that resemble a normal American family, especially when they listen to Don McLean’s “American Pie” song.
Alexei/The Red Guardian is the hilarious father figure who taught Natasha and her “sister” Yelena how to kill, fight, and defend one’s self, while Melina was also a mentor who treated the girls like her own daughters. They all have friendly banters and moments where they joke around with each other. However, when all four of them reunite after so many years apart, they feel happy to be together again, but also resentment for abandoning each other. Natasha and Yelena also reflect on the torment they endured under Dreykov and the Red Room, making them feel like they can never live normal lives outside of their own.
Logan’s relationship with Laura/X-23, the daughter he never knew he had, is also very complicated because they are both afraid of being close and personal. Laura endured years of torture and abuse from Dr. Rice and his unit from Alkali, making it hard for her to trust people she doesn’t know, including her biological father. Logan is already emotional and depressed over losing his strength and healing ability. He is also sad over losing the X-Men and everyone he’s gotten close to over time, including Professor Charles Xavier, his mentor and father figure, who taught Logan how to control his power and ability, but like him, has declined in health over the years. When Laura mentions that she has killed bad people, Logan tells her that killing anyone, good or bad, leaves permanent wounds. However, in order to redeem themselves and prove that they are heroes and not only trained killers, both Black Widow and Wolverine give it everything they have to save the ones they love. Natasha confronts Dreykov, and manages to cure Antonia and all the black widows around the world. Logan faces X-24 and Dr. Rice’s army, sacrificing what’s left of his life and power to save Laura and her mutant friends.
Black Widow and Logan are both solo films that rely mostly on story and character development, rather than fancy CGI effects, while still displaying intense action sequences, especially intimate hand-to-hand fights to make the confrontations between heroes and villains more personal. These features focus on beloved characters who were professional killers but also superheroes who risked their lives to protect the people they cared for and loved like family. Even though Natasha and Logan have both ended their successful runs, they have predecessors who are capable of continuing their heroic legacies in future Marvel projects, such as Laura/X-23 potentially becoming the new Wolverine, and Yelena possibly taking Natasha’s place as the Black Widow.