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The Black Widow Line Fans Thought Was Way Too Cringey

"Black Widow" was a long time coming in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and not just because Scarlett Johansson's character deserved a movie long before she got one. Delayed by COVID-19, the movie ended up disappointing at the box office, where it underperformed — despite bringing in a decent $80 million in its first weekend — by then plummeting to $26 million in its second weekend (via the Washington Post). Some critics, too, were disappointed, though the vast majority did give the film positive marks. Fan reaction skewed much more complimentary in general: on Rotten Tomatoes, the audience score stands at 91 percent, 12 percent higher than the Tomatometer score. 

Still, it's clear, following the successful release of "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" and the even bigger "Spider-Man: No Way Home," that "Black Widow" ... could have fared better. Of course, the movie had some major bright spots. The addition of the titular character's adopted sister, Yelena (Florence Pugh) and their fake parents (Rachel Weisz and David Harbour) offered some fun and added emotional depth to Nat's story and her death, which had previously occurred in "Avengers: Endgame." 

Still, it seems there's at least one line in the film that fans found pretty cringey — and it also offers insight into at least one of the reasons why not everyone was on board with "Black Widow."

This line of General Dreykov's, some say, highlighted a dialogue problem in the movie

On Reddit, in an official discussion of "Black Widow," a poster using the handle u/Purdaddy wrote, "That one line was cringey. 'The only natural resource this world has too much of ... girls!'" 

The line happens as Natasha is confronting the movie's villain. During this scene, General Dreykov (Ray Winstone) is putting images of the Widows on the screen map, so viewers can see exactly how large his army is. His full line: "And with you, an Avenger, under my control, I can finally come out of the shadows, using the only natural resource this world has too much of: girls."

Other Redditors agreed, calling the dialogue "lame," as u/CountKrampus did, or "stupid," like u/SavageWolf89, or even "super hammy," as u/3jp6739 did. u/Silent_Bobert, meanwhile, quipped, "I said ew out loud." Other users opined that the addition of the word "girls" was unnecessarily hitting viewers over the head with a hammer, and some added that the word "human" or "orphan" as a substitute would have been sufficient. Some viewers, on a broader scale, felt the line was indicative of one of the problems of "Black Widow." 

"I'm not saying this was the worst MCU movie I've seen, but the dialogue was just a constant stream of "'what???'" wrote u/NikkMakesVideos. Commenting on the line's lack of realism, u/Sleeze_ noted, "It's one of those lines that literally nobody has ever said in the real world and a writer thought they nailed it."

Others say the line worked because it had the villain showing his sexism

Others, however, thought the line was perfectly apropos given the person who was saying it, calling him a character meant to evoke comparisons to Harvey Weinstein. "They were not subtle at all in trying to make the villain a disgusting sexist a**hole and that line honestly sold it for me," said u/fire_dagwon.

u/dotsandcommas called the line "genius and spot-on," saying "The real disdain in Dreykov's delivery there on the word 'girls' pretty much reflects the tone I've heard used by men like him, who have a similar and thoroughly misogynistic outlook on the world, to describe the women in their culture — of all ages, but particularly the younger ones for some reason." 

Another Redditor, u/shmixel, added that while using the phrase "little girls" might have been even more illustrative, the whole point of the line in question — along with the scene in which Dreykov was pulling up images of Widows from around the world — created a analogy to current human rights issues that specifically involve vulnerable young girls. They thought it distilled his abhorrent goals — with the Widow project in general — to their essence. Meanwhile, u/metalninjacake2 questioned why critical users hated the line, pointing out how deeply it resonated with the themes of the film, in regard to human trafficking. 

Seems like people have definite opinions about this one line. If you're interested in developing your own, and haven't gotten to check out the film yet, "Black Widow" is currently streaming on Disney+.