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All Of The Avengers Fighting Styles Taskmaster Uses In Black Widow

Contains spoilers for "Black Widow"

"Black Widow" has finally seen the light of day after a troubled time making it to the big screen, which also means that audiences have finally witnessed the impressive fury of Taskmaster as the villain goes up against Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz), and Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour). The central mystery behind who's underneath the mask has been something fans have been theorizing about ever since the skull-faced baddie was seen in set photos during the film's production. 

Of course, it's always interesting to see how the Marvel Cinematic Universe takes characters from the comics and shapes them into people that fit the continuity of this never-ending franchise while still honoring their origins on the page. Most of the time, this has worked in the MCU's favor: It's an approach that doesn't alienate general audiences and is rewarding for comic readers who've wanted to see specific heroes and villains on the big screen for some time. 

In the Marvel comics, Tony Masters becomes Taskmaster. He's a former SHIELD agent with "photographic reflexes" that allow him to replicate anyone's fighting abilities. However, in "Black Widow," Taskmaster is Antonia Dreykov (Olga Kurylenko), the daughter of Red Room overlord Dreykov (Ray Winstone). Her father manipulates a chip in her brain to control her, and she's forced to watch footage of the Avengers in order to copy their moves. Dreykov even calls his daughter "a perfect mimic."

Let's take a look at the Avengers fighting styles Taskmaster mimics in "Black Widow."

Black Widow herself

Since Dreykov raised Antonia, he presumably put her through the same Red Room training the rest of the Black Widows seen in the movie underwent. It's one of things that makes Natasha's first fight with Taskmaster in Norway so startling. Of course, Taskmaster catches the former-Avenger off guard when she's driving back to her cabin, blowing up her car before scrapping with Natasha among the wreckage. But it's the specific moves Taskmaster uses during this battle that Marvel fans will instantly recognize.

The most obvious is after Nat uses her signature acrobatic double-leg grab on the villain, which usually sends her opponents flying. However, Taskmaster turns it back on the hero, throwing her to the ground and leaving Nat with a shocked look on her face. It's a way of disarming Black Widow and showing her that this fight won't go the way she thinks it will — especially when Taskmaster continues to replicate and dodge her next moves with ease. To be fair, though, the Taskmaster helmet does scan Natasha to predict what she's going to do.

Hawkeye and Black Panther

One of the main moments that surprised Marvel fans in the first "Black Widow" trailers was how Taskmaster quickly whipped out a bow when pursuing Natasha and Yelena through the streets of Budapest. Obviously, Taskmaster has picked up a few skills from Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). And, as it happens, we even know where Taskmaster has memorized these talents from: "Captain America: Civil War." When "Black Widow" first introduces Taskmaster after Yelena is woken up from her programming in Morocco, she's shown watching footage of Hawkeye and Black Panther's (Chadwick Boseman) fight at the Leipzig/Halle Airport in Germany.

Clearly, Dreykov's forces also got some inspiration from watching T'Challa fight against Team Cap because they've even included a set of claws into the impressive combat suit. They're seen during Taskmaster's intense fight with Alexei, aka the Red Guardian (David Harbour), towards the end of "Black Widow." Since Black Panther is an expert in hand-to-hand combat, it makes sense that Taskmaster uses some of the same jumping kicks and acrobatic moves as the Wakandan King.

Captain America and Bucky Barnes

Anyone who's seen any of the "Captain America" or "Avengers" movies will definitely spot the obvious reference in the way Taskmaster uses a shield to fight with. Much like Steve Rogers' (Chris Evans) patriotic hero, the "Black Widow" villain turns a typically defensive shield into something more weaponized. It's seen throughout the movie as Taskmaster hurls a silver disc at Natasha or straight-up bashes her with it. Since Cap is one of the most famous heroes in the world within the MCU, there's plenty of footage of his fighting style from the war-time footage of the 1940s — as well as his battles in the present day — that Dreykov could gather up and make his daughter watch.

Additionally, there's a surprising move Taskmaster seems to have picked up from Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). During the fight with Red Guardian, Taskmaster whips out a knife, swiftly flips it around between her hands, and tries to stab Alexei. In the present-day MCU, Bucky isn't a villain as the Winter Soldier anymore, but his legacy can still be felt within Taskmaster's moves in "Black Widow." Given that the Winter Soldier often worked with Soviet forces in the 1950s onwards, it wouldn't be surprising if they had a cache of footage of Bucky's moves to learn from.