It seems like the Black Widow movie won’t be delayed due to the Corona Virus, which means we finally get to see Taskmaster. This is great news for us Marvel fans, because Taskmaster is one very underrated Marvel villain that we’ve been waiting to see in the MCU. His role in the Black Widow movie is the major physical challenge to Natasha, but oddly enough, no further details on him have been revealed. We only know his code name and what he looks like and nothing beyond that. What’s his real name? In fact, we don’t even know who the actor playing him is. Strange? Very much so, but it keeps us guessing. Why is the marketing for the film so tight-lipped about Taskmaster’s identity? I have some educated guesses as to why, but I’ll get into those later.
Let’s take some time to talk about the character of Taskmaster and why he’s the perfect villain for the Black Widow movie. The movie’s version portrays him as a deadly assassin mimicking specific abilities of certain Avengers. In the trailers, he was shown to be skilled with a shield, a bow and arrow, acrobatics, and metallic claws. This already shows that he has copied the abilities of Captain America, Hawkeye, Black Panther, and even Black Widow herself. This reflects the powers of his comic counterpart, who has the powers of photographic reflexes and to predict physical movement flawlessly. That sounds like a lame superpower on paper, but this villain has made great use of it.
In the world of Marvel Comics, Taskmaster is a mercenary for hire often hired as a training instructor by criminal syndicates. He’s a master assassin, an extraordinary hand-to-hand combatant, and carries a plethora of advanced weaponry. Think of him as the Deathstroke of Marvel, especially since he’s defeated several heroes. What the Black Widow movie has yet to reveal is his real name. The villain known as Taskmaster is also known as Tony Masters, a man with a mysterious past. He discovered that he could mimic anyone’s abilities just by watching them and decided to use that talent to become a mercenary. After gaining a suitable reputation, he was hired across the world to train “rookie” criminals and turn them into professionals. If criminal organizations are willing to pay him for training their lackeys, then you know he’s not to be taken lightly.
What separates Taskmaster from other comic villains is his unique abilities. When I said he can copy anyone, I literally meant anyone. He’s mimicked the fighting abilities of Iron Fist and Shang-Chi, the marksmanship of Hawkeye, Captain America, and Bullseye, and the swordsman skills of Black Knight and Silver Samurai. The only character’s movements he can’t predict is Deadpool, simply because he’s incredibly unpredictable. Sounds funny? Well, it’s the world of comics, so it’s not that strange. The only thing you need to remember about Taskmaster is that he doesn’t need to be as powerful as Juggernaut or Doctor Doom to be a threat. All he needs is his photographic memory and everything the heroes can do, he can do better. This makes him a serious physical threat to Black Widow in her upcoming movie.
The trailers revealed that Taskmaster has watched surveillance videos of Black Widow fighting. This is how he can copy her acrobatic movements and even her fighting skills. This alone can be troublesome for Black Widow, but she isn’t just fighting a villain who can copy her skills. With Taskmaster’s powers, she’ll basically be fighting all the Avengers in the body of one man. Exactly made Black Widow stand out from her other powerhouse team members? She has no magic hammer or an advanced suit of armor, but she does have other abilities. Her skills in infiltration, interrogation, hand-to-hand combat, and her overall resolve make her a useful member to the team. She’s the ideal spy and certainly lives up to her name. She and Taskmaster have that in common. He’s basically the male version of her: the super spy with exceptional skills in everything that makes Black Widow awesome.
Natasha fighting a twisted, somewhat mirror version of herself would be poetic. However, it bothers me that not even the actor playing him is revealed. The name, Tony Masters, doesn’t seem to be associated with Taskmaster in the film. This makes me very curious, because it’s clear that the marketing team is hiding something, but for what? I don’t know what exactly it is they’re trying to hide, but I have some ideas. Some theories on the internet suggest that Taskmaster could be a clone of Natasha. In a way, it would make sense, but I personally hope that’s not the case. We don’t need a clone of Natasha, because one Natasha is enough. The whole cloning shtick is redundant by now and using it in the film would certainly do Taskmaster some serious injustice.
If he really is a clone of Natasha, it would explain the secrecy, but this is one twist that won’t sit well with fans. So if he’s not a clone and not Tony Masters, then who is he? It’s honestly pretty hard to tell until we see the movie. Sounds obvious, but a character like this needs a suitable actor to play him. Perhaps he won’t be Tony Masters, but that can still work. He can be a new character taking up the Taskmaster identity and add some new layers to the character. Why is he so interested in targeting Black Widow? Maybe he’s working for someone, because he’s still a mercenary after all, but something tells he’s motivated by more than just money.
His vendetta against Natasha seems personal. He reminds me a lot of how Winter Soldier pursued Captain America. The lack of words, intense focus on the mission, and his persistency to kill her is all to similar to Winter Soldier’s style. If he has an employer, then he’ll be eager to do his job, but his personal feelings can get in the way. The movie is all about Natasha’s past, so it’s possible that Taskmaster is connected to her past and could be returning to haunt her.
Taskmaster is a great Marvel villain and I’m excited to finally see him make his debut in the MCU. Despite all the secrecy around him, I’m hoping he’ll make us comic fans proud.