The following contains a major spoiler for Black Widow.
Black Widow is the first Marvel movie we've had in two years. To say people were excited for it was something of an understatement. And based on the early response to those that either hit the theaters early, or grabbed the movie on Disney+, Marvel Studios has yet another hit on their hands. Most people seem to have loved Scarlett Johansson's solo outing. Having said that, they didn't necessarily love everything about the movie. There's a significant number of people upset about the use of the Marvel villain Taskmaster.
In a response that feels eerily similar to the backlash against Iron Man 3 and the way that movie changed the comic book origins of The Mandarin, Black Widow did something very similar with Taskmaster, and fans of the comic book version of the character are not happy.
Here we get into the spoilers but in the comics Taskmaster is a mercenary character, named Tony Masters who has a unique ability to be able to learn any fighting technique simply by watching somebody else do it. He sells this skill to most anybody who can pay him. The Black Widow movie keeps Taskmaster's key ability, and also gives the character a similar physical look, but everything else about the MCU Taskmaster is different.
Not only is Taskmaster not Tony Masters, but this Taskmaster isn't male. It's actually the daughter of General Dreykov. After being nearly killed as a child in an explosion caused by Black Widow, the girl is saved by implanting a chip in her brain that gives her the ability to mimic other fighters. A lot of people feel like this decision wasted the potential of what was otherwise a very cool Marvel villain.
Certainly the fact that Taskmaster has a different origin here than the character does in the comics is not a serious problem on its face, at least it shouldn't be. While some feel that the problem is that the change was made, some at least appear to be claiming that the problem is that Taskmaster just isn't much of a character at all. Because this Taskmaster is essentially a mind-controlled automaton, there just isn't much of a "character" there.
Of course, many people are comparing the Taskmaster revelation with that of The Mandarin in Iron Man 3. A lot of people hated the way that character was changed, and ultimately, Marvel revealed that there was a "real" Mandarin someplace else in the MCU and we'll be meeting them soon in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Some are hoping that eventually Taskmaster gets a similar second chance.
Is Taskmaster great in Black Widow or was this really a wasted opportunity and a misstep in the marvel Cinematic Universe. Let us know in the poll below.
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CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis. Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.