After multiple pandemic delays, Black Widow is finally premiering on Disney+ Premier Access and in theaters. Directed by Cate Shortland, the MCU movie follows Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff as she goes into hiding after the events of Captain America: Civil War.
But her past catches up to her quickly due to the sudden appearance of Taskmaster. Now, it’s undoubtedly true that Taskmaster is one of the most intriguing aspects of Black Widow. This is because it wasn’t revealed to fans who was the actual person behind the helmet of Taskmaster.
There were multiple theories about Taskmaster. Mostly, fans couldn’t decide if it was O-T Fagbenle’s Mason or a character who hadn’t been featured previously in any MCU project. The answer was the latter. In the movie, it was Dreykov’s daughter, Antonia, who is Taskmaster. This twist upset many fans while intriguing others.
Now, in the context of the story, it did make sense. After all, the villain itself was tied to Natasha’s past. However, fans still had a question- how was Taskmaster so good at copying the moves of other avengers? Ray Winstone’s Dreykov also had the answer to that.
Dreykov said that this Taskmaster was a perfect mimic because there was a chip placed on the back of her neck. Obviously, this adaptation of the villain was different from the one comic book people are used to. In the comics, Taskmaster can copy any kind of physical activity without any need for technological help.
But in the context of the film, this tech explanation worked and Taskmaster did her job. She was a formidable villain to Johansson’s Romanoff as well as her family. In the movie, Taskmaster mimics plenty of Avengers. So let us take a look at all the heroes that Taskmaster was able to successfully mimic.
One of the most distinguished weapons in Black Widow of Taskmaster is a metal shield which is evocative of Captain America’s own star-spangled shield. Now, the villain’s shield wasn’t made using vibranium, but it was still an important weapon throughout the entire movie, especially when it was combined with Captain America’s fighting skills.
Black Widow saw first-hand just how Taskmaster utilized her shield during the first battle on the bridge. This left Nat shocked as to just how accurately Taskmaster threw the weapon, to the point that it almost hit her. But apart from the shield, the villain was also able to successfully copy Cap’s swift shield kick to get the weapon back from the ground.
After all, the movie had already established that Taskmaster was an expert at utilizing the shield as her main weapon. So this might mean that the villain was keeping track of Rogers for quite some time. Apart from Romanoff, mimicking the moves of Captain America made Taskmaster a formidable opponent for Alexei Shostakov, who was infused with the super-soldier serum as well.
Just like Romanoff, it’s possible that Taskmaster was copying Clint Barton’s skills for a long time as well. After all, Barton was responsible for the downfall of the Red Room too. Also, from the very first trailer of Black Widow, it was shown that Taskmaster was great at using a bow and arrow as a weapon.
Getting Barton’s skills could be Red Room’s tactic of mentally torturing Nat during a fight since the bow wielding archer and the gun-wielding avenger were close to each other. But there are two times where Romanoff was able to defeat Barton during battle.
The first time was in 2012’s The Avengers when she erased Loki’s mind control by using cerebral recalibration. And the second time was during Civil War when they fought briefly. But she didn’t win at the end due to Wanda’s last-minute interference.
In the movie, it was difficult for Nat to handle Barton’s skills since they were used along with those of the other Avengers, but the previous Red Room and SHIELD agent was still able to finally win.
During the final Black Widow battle, Taskmaster pulled out her Black Panther-like claws in front of Red Guardian. This feature was shown only briefly in the movie, but it did go on to show that the Red Room had done everything possible to make Taskmaster an intimidating threat against Nat.
It’s worth stating that T’Challa only made himself known prominently during the airport battle scene during Civil War. So it seems like footage from that fight is the only kind of reference that this Taskmaster had. But despite all that limitation, Taskmaster was able to incorporate the skills of multiple avengers and this made her a deadly threat.
Taskmaster was obviously going to have Iron Man’s fighting moves in her arsenal as well. It was interesting how Stark’s moves were incorporated since there was no way for the Red Room to replicate Stark’s advanced technology. In the weeks leading up to Black Widow’s release, there was plenty of speculation about Taskmaster.
One of the theories was that Taskmaster was using a Stark-like protocol to copy the fight pattern of an Avenger. This was because of a brief scene during a teaser trailer of the movie where the helmet of the Taskmaster was assessing Nat’s skillset. The original Stark program was seen in the last battle between Iron Man and Captain America from Civil War.
There, Stark ordered Friday to properly assess Rogers’ fight tendencies to get an advantage. Now, the Black Widow movie didn’t explicitly address this, but it’s certainly possible that the Red Room’s tech division was able to create a program that did the same- mimics the Avengers skillset.
However, even without the technology, the villain did use a powerful skillset that Iron Man has. This happened when Taskmaster was chasing after Natasha in the air after Red Room collapsed. and it showcased that the villain was copying Stark’s form that allowed him to glide through the air.
Interestingly, director Cate Shortland confirmed that in the beginning there were discussions about having notable MCU heroes show up in ‘Black Widow’, but Feige said that “Romanoff doesn’t need the boys” in the movie.
Taskmaster used Bucky’s ability with the knife during the fight with Red Guardian inside the Red Room. This sequence was brief, but the villain was able to still execute the knife toss skill with ease. This knife toss was used by Bucky first during his second fight with Steve during Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
In that fight, Steve and Bucky were both clearly matched. But that wasn’t the case here with Taskmaster and Red Guardian. Initially, Alexei was able to counter the attack, but Taskmaster was able to still gain an upper hand in the fight.
Now, we don’t know whether the Red Room was aware of Natasha and Bucky’s history, but it seemed like they had some idea and so they used his skills to try to mentally subdue her.
A movie named Black Widow wouldn’t be complete if Taskmaster didn’t copy the moves of the titular hero of the movie. Also, in the film, it is Natasha who is the main target of the notorious villain. As such, it makes sense that the villain would mimic her moves first.
In one sequence, Taskmaster can be seen looking and studying Nat’s moves from the Iron Man 2 fight sequence. This hints that she might be really well versed with the skills of the various Avengers. As a result, she is able to accurately copy the scissor legs takedown during the fight scene on the bridge.
Along with this, she mimics a kip-up to cement the fact that the villain can in fact predict each move of her opponent. Since this Taskmaster was born as an assassin in the Red Room so it seems very likely that the skills that Nat has, was also learned by the Taskmaster. So in a way, she is Nat’s copy.
Since Black Widow takes place after Civil War, so Spider-Man till then was only in one big Avengers fight- the airport battle scene. So this meant that the Red Room had limited footage of spidey’s fighting style. But despite that, Spider-Man’s abilities were still incorporated in Taskmaster’s fighting arsenal.
One example of this was during the Red Guardian and Taskmaster fight. During one moment, the mimicking foe did a backflip that was similar to Spider-Man. This allowed her to kick Alexei in the process. Another example of this was the fight with Romanoff on the bridge.
During the tussle to gain the mind control antidote, Nat used her grapnel to stop her opponent. But Taskmaster countered this by carrying out a swing maneuver that was similar to the red web-slinger, thus almost catching Nat off guard. This shows just how dangerous Taskmaster could have been if she had been able to study more footage of Spider-Man.
Taskmaster was a formidable foe for Natasha Romanoff, but no matter how many tricks she used, Nat was able to come out on top with the help of her skills and family. You can catch Black Widow kicking Taskmaster’s ass on Disney+ via Premier Access as well as in theaters.