Spoilers for "Avengers: Age of Ultron" follow!
Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner may have found love in a hopeless place in "Avengers: Age of Ultron" this past weekend, but a lot of Black Widow fans left the theater feeling more hopeless than ever. All of a sudden their favorite superhero was talking about kids (or the unfortunate lack thereof) and romance -- which to many felt like a far cry from the super spy who once told Loki that "love is for children."
In light of how heated the debate over Black Widow's recent portrayal has gotten online (many even cited it as the reason for Joss Whedon's recent departure from Twitter, although Whedon recently debunked that theory), Mark Ruffalo was asked to weigh in during a Reddit AMA today. We can only imagine he reacted to the question like this at first:
But he still answered it! And he did a pretty good job, if you ask us.
Obviously if you're looking for him to publicly denounce his director and co-stars from "Age of Ultron," be prepared for disappointment -- Ruffalo still believes in Whedon's feminist credentials.
"I think it's sad," he said of the backlash. "Because I know how Joss feels about women, and I know that he's made it a point to create strong female characters... I don't think he makes [Black Widow] any weaker, he just brings this idea of love to a superhero, and I think that's beautiful. If anything, Black Widow is much stronger than Banner."
The real problem, according to Ruffalo, is the serious lack of female stories being told in superhero films, which puts an unnatural amount of pressure on the stories we DO get. "The guys can do anything, they can have love affairs, they can be weak or strong and nobody raises an eyebrow," he noted. "But when we do that with a woman, because there are so few storylines for women, we become hyper-critical of every single move that we make because there's not much else to compare it to."
Ruffalo himself is a noted Black Widow fan, having recently tweeted to Marvel that his nieces and daughters deserve more merchandise and toys featuring Natasha.
"Someone asked 'Not including the Hulk, which is your favorite Avenger?' but deleted their question," Ruffalo said later in the AMA. "Not including the Hulk? Black Widow. I think she's badass."
"Avengers: Age of Ultron" is in theaters now.