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The Reason Black Widow Should Be Worried About Taskmaster

The final trailer for Marvel Studios' Black Widow, the first film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 4, is here  and it gives us our best looks yet at Taskmaster, the iconic Marvel villain whom Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and her "family" will be dealing with. Sure, we also get a better idea of the dynamic between Nat and her allies Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz), and the Red Guardian (David Harbour), and the new spot fleshes out some of the action sequences teased in earlier trailers just a bit — but Marvel fans have been dying to see Taskmaster in action, and this last promo did not disappoint.

We're talking about one hell of a dangerous villain here, with a very unique superpower (which we'll get to in a moment). One of the new spot's biggest revelations, though, has to do with the manner in which the character's backstory has apparently been retconned for Black Widow; rather than the simple mercenary and badguy-for-hire that he's normally presented as in the comics, this iteration of the Taskmaster has very close ties to Natasha and her family, and when it comes to the Black Widow herself — well, let's just say that he really, really seems to have it in for her. Here's why everybody's favorite Russian superspy is going to have to watch her back (and front, and both sides) when tangling with the Taskmaster.

He controls the Red Room, and has studied Natasha for good measure

Early in the spot, we hear Belova filling in Romanoff as to the origin of the threat: "His call sign is Taskmaster," she says. "He controls the Red Room." This, of course, is the code name for the brutal, inhumane training program which molded Romanoff into a weapon — and this backstory is a far cry from the character's comics incarnation.

In the comics, Taskmaster is essentially a normal guy from New York who happens to have a very special ability: photographic reflexes, a power which carries with it some pretty scary implications. Not only will the MCU's Taskmaster have a great deal of familiarity with Natasha and her cohorts due to his status as the Master of the Red Room, but the spot also sees him studying Romanoff closely, as he watches what appears to be security footage of the Avenger taking out all of Justin Hammer's dudes during the events of Iron Man 2. This, true believer, spells bad news for the Black Widow.

He can replicate any fighting style at a glance

Taskmaster is not typically depicted as having super-strength, but those photographic reflexes enable him to perfectly imitate the fighting style of anyone he might face, after observing it only once. Since he's obviously familiarized himself with Romanoff's tendencies in combat, there's very little that the Avenger — formidable as she is — will be able to do to surprise him when the fists start flying.

Even scarier, though, is the tactic that Taskmaster is seen employing in his fight with the Red Guardian. Previous trailers showed only very brief snippets of this scene, and we saw nothing to imply that the baddie was doing anything other than simply countering the Guardian's attacks with his own moves. The new trailer, though, heavily suggests that the footage from Hammer's compound isn't the only homework that Taskmaster has assigned himself; apparently, he's also been checking out the tapes from a certain massive airport brawl.

He's apparently studied all of the Avengers

Black Widow takes place after the events of Captain America: Civil War, and the Red Guardian fight makes it clear that that flick's huge superpowered showdown has been a key part of Taskmaster's curriculum. In that fight, we first see the villain unsheathing some vicious-looking claws from his fingertips, in much the same fashion that T'Challa, the Black Panther, is known to do. The Guardian takes him on anyway, but Taskmaster pulls out another surprise: a flying drop-kick to the chest, after which he does a mid-air flip, and lands in a pose suspiciously similar to that which we've seen struck a hundred times by Peter Parker, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

It's quite obvious that Taskmaster has been boning up on the fighting techniques of virtually everyone in Romanoff's orbit. The spot also sees him wielding a bow and arrow, just like Nat's bestie Hawkeye (which we've seen in previous trailers), and expertly using a shield as a projectile weapon, like Captain America (which we have not). In other words, mixing it up with the Taskmaster is going to be kind of like taking on a phalanx of Avengers all at once, so... good luck, Nat.

Black Widow hits the big screen on May 1, 2020.