Taskmaster has the ability to mimic anyone's fighting style, and spends her time watching footage to absorb new battle techniques. It seems that, at some point, she must have seen the Winter Soldier in action, because her showdown with Red Guardian bears a striking resemblance to a fight between the assassin and Steve Rogers in the second Captain America movie. Check out a comparison of the two scenes below.
#BlackWidow SPOILERS-----THIS GAVE ME SO MUCH LIFE BUT AT THE SAME TIME I FELT SO DAMN ATTACKED pic.twitter.com/yBhTPWEfqMJuly 9, 2021
As you can see, the fight plays out very similarly, with Taskmaster throwing her shield, flipping a knife, and coming at Red Guardian in a way that resembles the Winter Soldier's technique against Cap.
The parallel makes sense: Red Guardian views himself as the Russian version of Captain America after all, and Taskmaster seems as heavily controlled by the Red Room as Bucky Barnes was by HYDRA. It's also not the only Winter Soldier-related Easter egg in the movie, either: Melina reveals that information stolen from HYDRA at the North Institute aided the Red Room's advances in mind control.
We find out in the movie that Taskmaster is a ghost from Natasha's past as, to defect to SHIELD, Natasha had to kill Dreykov, the leader of the Red Room. Despite knowing his daughter Antonia was with him, Natasha gave the go ahead to blow him up, and believed she'd killed both Dreykov and Antonia. It turns out they survived, and toward the end of Black Widow, Taskmaster removes her helmet to reveal Antonia underneath.
"What's great in the film is, you see that [Natasha] physically has to face what she's done," director Cate Shortland told GamesRadar+ and Total Film of Taskmaster's true identity. "It's not a fragment [of that]. It's real. And so she's really facing her worst nightmare. I almost see Taskmaster as being her psyche, 'This is what I've done, and it's coming back to get me.' The androgyny of the character is really interesting."
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