In The Avengers:

Natasha and Loki are talking while he's trapped in the cage on the ship, they speak for a while about her. Then he tells her he's going to get Hawkeye to kill her slowly and painfully before killing him. At this point she says something along the lines of "So you're going to use the Hulk to destroy the ship?"

How does she figure this out?

  • Haven't had a chance to see the film yet, but am disappointed in being spoiled by the title of the question. May 12, 2012 at 10:32
  • My apologies @MatthewFrederick, I've made the question a bit more vague to try and stop anyone else having the same experience. It's difficult to choose a descriptive title without giving something away I'm afraid May 12, 2012 at 20:27
  • Thanks, Chris. I'm seeing it tonight, fwiw. I think the original question would be totally fine in, say, six months, post DVD and such. May 12, 2012 at 23:48
  • This site does have a pretty "use at your own risk" stance on spoilers. It is courteous to use the spoiler tags, and vague titles where appropriate, but not required. You certainly don't need to wait for DVD release to ask a question. :) May 13, 2012 at 0:39
  • @GabeWillard I certainly didn't mean to indicate you "needed" to, just that it was courteous, and that after some period of time that courtesy becomes less of an issue. Also, FWIW, having now seen it, it isn't much of a spoiler, though I didn't know that in advance. May 13, 2012 at 16:45

3 Answers 3


In the movie:

The 'evil Hawkeye' states that he needs a big distraction. So Loki makes himself publicly noticed in a big way, and is captured by the Avengers pretty easily, which raises some suspicions.

In the scene:

Black Widow calls Loki a "monster", and Loki responds that there already is a "monster" on this ship, alluding to Bruce Banner. From this she is able to deduce that Loki's goal is to awaken the Hulk in Dr. Banner (a big distraction).

She came to this conclusion because:

Not many know that Dr. Banner is the Hulk. If Bruce were to turn into the Hulk, it would be a disaster, answering why Loki let himself get captured so easily.

  • "Not many know that Dr. Banner is the Hulk", I thought everybody on that ship know?
    – Sufendy
    May 11, 2012 at 7:48
  • Possibly many involved in SHIELD and the ship knows that Dr. Banner is the Hulk. But this is a small number compared to the rest of the universe.
    – spong
    May 11, 2012 at 7:55
  • 2
    I'd have to argue that the need for the distraction is only tied to the obtaining of iridium the quote is "I need a distraction, and an eyeball" which seems to imply this. However, the rest of your reasoning seems sound.
    – wax eagle
    May 16, 2012 at 19:40
  • This is a good answer, but it would be better if you also mentioned that Natasha is highly trained at "reading" people.
    – Omegacron
    Nov 18, 2014 at 21:56

In addition to acknowledging that Loki evidently had fore-knowledge of Bruce Banner being the Hulk as described above, I would suggest that if Black Widow has any kind of "super power" (if you assume that Hawkeye also has a "super-power" that is decidedly human, i.e. perfect archery skills, or maybe even a gun-sliger's "sixth sense" regarding aim and wind, etc), besides her assassin training / perfect martial arts, her powers would include an uncanny ability to extract information.

This is clearly shown in the beginning of the movie where the bad guys think they are interrogating Black Widow but in fact she is playing them as they spill the beans on almost every aspect of their plans. Her skill in this regard would be nearly unparalleled, using her brilliant mind and emotional manipulation, as well as misperception regarding "feminine frailty," to pull even the god-like Loki into spilling the beans.

In this regard, comparing the dialogue to interrogation techniques, she starts by a) pretending to befriend Loki, b) pretends to think she is coming to him for a deal, c) pretends to expose her emotional attachment to Hawkeye (despite the fact that her training included the near nullification of all emotion into a cold, killing machine), and d) leads an extensive dialogue aimed at drawing Loki to express his plans by playing on his obvious, gigantic ego.

One would think the conversation would have gone on and on as Black Widow would slowly have inserted one emotional play after another into the black-box of Loki's mind until a response came that gave her the information she sought.

These same techniques are used by psychologists in certain kinds of therapy when helping a client figure out motivations buried so deep they are mostly subconscious.

A probing question or comment is offered, and the client's response then directs the next question until a pattern of thought, or an effective pathway through the maze of the client's mind, is identified.

Loki, like sooooo many villains, has an enormous ego that when plucked properly practically kick-starts his need to be perceived as great by way of his self-proclaimed genius. I.e. open mouth, spill beans. Black Widow is an expert at this process.


I assumed it was because Loki had already hinted at the Hulk so much

especially while talking to Fury ('the mindless beast', etc.)

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