Greetings, comrades! The time nears for our glorious nation to witness the first of Marvel’s phase 4 movies, Black Widow. Our great leader, Kevin Feige, has seen fit to give the people one last sneak peak at the movie before its release.
The previous teasers hadn’t given us much idea of the actual plot of the movie. This one seems to remedy that, giving us a solid idea of what we will be watching May 1st.
In the wake of the Avengers’ schism (Black Widow takes place short after the events of Captain America: Civil War), Natasha Romanov (“Black Widow”) returns to Russia and reconnects with her family. She soon finds herself and her family embroiled in a conflict with a masked villain known as “Taskmaster”. Taskmaster has taken control of the Red Room (the training facility where Romanov and, presumably, her sister and mother were trained) and uses its team of assassins to wreak havoc.
While we knew from the preview trailer that Taskmaster was going to be the film’s villain, we didn’t really get a good look at him.* This trailer, however, gives us a great look at his Lord Zedd-like costume and his fighting style. Or, I should say, “fighting styles” as Taskmaster’s main trait is that he can perfectly mimic anyone after seeing them only once. So in this we see him throwing a shield in the style of Captain America and busting out the claws and pose of Black Panther. The other thing Taskmaster is known for is running a villain academy, and that box seems to be checked by his aforementioned control of the Red Room.
*Though it’s not clear that this Taskmaster is a man, he traditionally is one in the comics, so I’ll be referring to “him”. However it wouldn’t be crazy for this female-led movie to surprise us with a female villain.
Taskmaster is really the perfect villain for this movie. Black Widow has been with the Avengers since the beginning and therefore has intimate knowledge of everyone on the team. Also, being the only Avenger without superpowers (not even Hawkeye’s preternatural aim), a highly trained assassin, and having that healthy dose of Soviet pessimism, she would have studied the fighting styles of all her teammates. She’s essentially Batman in the Justice League, and would almost certainly have some sort of similar contingency plans.
Additionally, there’s also plenty of potential for social commentary. An evil mimic who enslaves an army of women to do his bidding could easily be a proxy for anything from Harvey Weinstein to R. Kelly to NXIVM. Or it could just be a movie about an ass-kicking former soviet spy.
Either way, I’m excited to see what Marvel is going to do with the character, and with their cinematic universe writ large moving forward.