By disregarding one common Hollywood blunder, Marvel Studios was able to keep the relationship between Black Widow and Hawkeye in the MCU intact. Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton, both original Avengers, traveled a long way in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before the terrible events of Avengers: Endgame, in which Romanoff gave her life to stop Thanos and save half the universe. Early on, hinted that Black Widow and Hawkeye were already dating when they first appeared in Iron Man 2 and Thor, respectively. Since then, it had revealed that the two share one of the MCU’s closest friendships.
Marvel Studios took a while to build the friendship between Romanoff and Barton after proving that they were acquainted before The Avengers’ events. In films like Avengers: Age of Ultron, Black Widow, and Hawkeye, it was made clearer what the characters did before they joined the Avengers, including how Hawkeye brought Black Widow into SHIELD and the close relationship Romanoff had with Barton’s family. Fortunately, during Black Widow and Hawkeye’s journey together in the MCU, Marvel Studios avoided falling into a common Hollywood pitfall, which strengthened their bond.
The MCU avoided the worst Hawkeye and Black Widow error.
It’s become a massive cliché for Hollywood to pair up its male and female stars in romantic relationships all the time, seemingly rejecting the possibility that these connections could just be platonic friendships. It was to their benefit that Marvel Studios consistently stated that Black Widow and Hawkeye were only close friends because a sexual relationship between them would have complicated the Avengers’ plots. Romanoff controversially experienced a lot of objectification in her early MCU appearances. Thus it was better for her character to become a formidable fighter rather than just someone’s romantic fixation.
Black Widow and Hawkeye’s bond was first perfectly portrayed in Avengers: Age of Ultron, where the Avengers were trapped at Barton’s home, and Romanoff was already shown to be close with his wife and kids. The scenario felt much more natural and provided a deeper look into Barton’s life away from SHIELD and the Avengers by avoiding a jealous perspective in these key times. It ended with Romanoff sacrificing herself on Vormir in Avengers: Endgame, revealing that their platonic love for one other was equally as strong as anything else and that Barton did indeed lose what he loved.
Why Clint and Natasha’s story would have been ruined by romance
It would have been a terrible error for Marvel Studios to give Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton a romantic component. Doing so would have undermined Barton’s reputation as a family guy and maybe complicated stories within the Avengers. For instance, Sersi and Ikaris’ relationship in Eternals was not well welcomed; thus, this wouldn’t have worked with two of the most well-known superheroes in the MCU that were already established. The MCU’s Black Widow and Hawkeye relationship has always had some amusing and cozy moments, so we should commend Marvel Studios for not pursuing it further.