Black Widow did a fine job in telling Natasha Romanoff’s story, and include her distant family. But there is one element that has really disappointed the fans, and that is Taskmaster’s debut. Taskmaster, just like most of the villains in the MCU, had its origins and details changed. A master at mimicking anyone it’s ever fought, the mercenary was a huge letdown in the eyes of Marvel fans. Let’s see why Taskmaster in Black Widow did not live up to the expectations.
Why Taskmaster in Black Widow Was Disappointing
Right off the bat, Taskmaster’s real identity is something that disappointed the fans. Even though the surprise twist was crucial to the film, it just didn’t make sense. It was revealed in the movie that Taskmaster is actually Antonia Dreykov, the daughter of the Red Room mastermind. But a character so famous in the comics was almost given no spotlight. Moreover, in the end, it looked like Antonia’s days as the Taskmaster were also over. Now that she is no longer under her father’s control, she wouldn’t want to live as a lethal killing machine.
Another question that one might have is why even include Taskmaster when it was all about Natasha Romanoff? Antonia Dreykov – the red in Nat’s ledger – is a part of Natasha’s past that could have been tackled differently. Rather, she was shown to be the Taskmaster, and even bring her arc to a possible conclusion. So it could be said that Antonia might live in the MCU, but Taskmaster’s future is bleak. Plus, Taskmaster’s story as a character was instantly botched when it was put in a box and mended according to Nat’s story.
But if not this, then there was another problem with the character. Eric Pearson, Black Widow writer recently admitted that Taskmaster was always a part of the film. But Marvel wasn’t in the mood to craft an origin for the character outside of Natasha Romanoff’s story. That is why it provokes us to ask as to why even include such a famous comic book character who could have been a big bad in the future? This brings me to Marvel’s long-lasting problem with good villains.
Marvel’s History With Iconic Villains
It seems like Marvel is still romping around the same idea as Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier. Taskmaster was no different than Bucky. The Winter Soldier was under HYDRA’s mind control for ages and killed a ton of people simply on order. And just like that, Taskmaster was also under mind control (Dreykov), and literally used a killing machine. So why derive something so similar?
As said before, Black Widow is a continuation of Captain America: Civil War. But the fans didn’t expect the movie to be somewhat similar to Captain America trilogy. Just this year, we got to see the Disney+ series The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. It was all about super-soldiers and Bucky finally redeeming himself. So the way that Taskmaster was used in Black Widow had nothing new to offer. It seems like Marvel is struggling to craft something original with the villains. But this isn’t the first time that this has happened.
In Iron Man 3, Marvel introduced the Mandarin and had never really got such criticism before. The fans were annoyed by how the Studio has treated such a great villain from the comic. To amend this, the Studios had to produce the Marvel One-Shot: All Hail the King and include a more accurate version of the villain. And now, after 8 years, we will see the Mandarin in Shang-Chi.
As for where Taskmaster is concerned, his comic origins are something that could make for a spicy plot. In the comics, he’s a mercenary whose defining trait is being able to remember and replicate anyone’s preferred combat or other athletic patterns with a single look. However, his real name is Tony Masters and this power of his comes at a cost of him forgetting basic knowledge of his past days, and such.
What’s Next For Taskmaster In MCU?
Originally, it feels like Taskmaster was only included to incline comic book readers to watch the movie. So, in hindsight, after 2 years of movie draught, it feels like this wasn’t a masterpiece but just an ode to Nat. Plus, there was nothing new that the Taskmaster offered. Most of the footage that the audience saw in promotional footage, was basically it. Plus, Olga Kurylenko, having a Russian background, only got to utter three words in the entire movie.
It looks like Marvel would have to go all out in order to bring back Taskmaster’s credibility. But Antonia Dreykov is in a position where she would not want to be the Taskmaster anymore as I’ve mentioned above. Moreover, no part of Black Widow’s story would have been botched if Taskmaster wasn’t there. So it’s basically a great character gone waste.
Did you like Taskmaster in Black Widow? Let us know in the comments.