Marvel’s Black Widow was good enough to narrate Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff’s story. While the movie talked about Nat’s life during Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, it managed to stay relevant to the present day scenario as well. She finally met with her Russian family of Red Guardian, Melina Vostokoff, and Yelena Belova. Together, they tackle their biggest demon, that is the Red Room and General Dreykov. He’s is the mastermind behind the Red Room. But a major element that remained apart from this and that is the Taskmaster. It was revealed in a surprising turn of events that Taskmaster is actually General Dreykov’s daughter, Antonia. However, the Taskmaster identity twist could have been better.
The Taskmaster Identity Twist Could Have Been Better
The whole Taskmaster reveal was a callback to Loki’s line from 2012’s The Avengers, saying “Dreykov’s daughter.” This was meant to highlight a dark part of Natasha’s life. Further, it was connected to the Budapest mission that was carried out by Black Widow and Hawkeye. It was later told that Natasha blew up Dreykov along with Antonia, counting her as collateral damage. However, both of them were far from dead. Dreykov went on to program Antonia to be the Taskmaster. A lethal killing machine that can mimic anyone. But this reveal could have been better.
The Taskmaster should have been Melina Vostokoff, played by Rachel Weisz. I say that because she has more of a personal element when it comes to telling Natasha’s story. Even when they were living in America, she had her roots deeply embedded within the Red Room. Of course, her being the Taskmaster would’ve changed the story a lot, but it would have also allowed the villainous character to return properly. As of now, not much is known of the Taskmaster’s prowess in the MCU, but that could have been discovered too. If Melina would have been behind the mask, then Dreykov would have been shown more evil.
At a point in time, Natasha, Yelena, and Alexei, all stopped working for the Red Room. But Melina didn’t. Moreover, she got even more active with the program and deployed controlled agents all over the world, and realized that Yelena was one of them. Individually, Melina as a character wasn’t explored as compared to the rest of her family. So it’s just another missed opportunity regarding Weisz’s acting skills. Plus, Melina could have her own arc and keep Natasha’s name alive in the MCU.
Problems With MCU’s Taskmaster
Natasha has only string attached to Antonia and that was the Budapest mission. In the end, she freed her of the mind-control and brought her back to her senses. So practically, the Taskmaster is now gone but Antonia is present. But it’s doubtful if she wants to keep on the role of the same. That is why Taskmaster as a character has been considered a wasted opportunity by Marvel by using it as a pawn and not the lead. However, there’s another character that could have been behind the mask and stayed relevant further in the MCU.
Her continued allegiance to the Red Room while being a mother to Nat and Yelena would have made for an epic twist. And Melina then could have had the chance to shine that she deserved. Even if she had been the Taskmaster, the main gist of the story wouldn’t have changed. The backstory, Taskmaster’s initial reunion, and till the reveal, everything could be the same. Moreover, this would have further amplified the Red Room’s control over its Widows and solidifying Natasha’s past as true horror.
Now, Melina’s twist could play in two interesting angles. Either Melina was mind-controlled or willingly chose to do it. Both the aspects could have made for a very interesting plot. Thinking that Black Widow is essentially a family film, it would have really been layered on a different level with this twist. And as I said, Antonia just held one single string to Natasha. But Melina was basically Nat’s past that she never forgot. Hence, this could have played out heavily for Nat. And now that Yelena is taking over the mantle, having Melina as her nemesis at some point in time would have been amazing.
Do you agree with the fact that the Taskmaster Identity Twist could have been better?