General Dreykov is the prime example of a misogynistic male who thought that women were not disposable. He saw his Black Widows as pawns to achieve control. Hell, he even turned his daughter into a puppet after she was injured in the explosion that was supposed to kill them.
Black Widow is one of the darkest films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe due to its subject matter. It shows women fighting back against an oppressor who views them as objects, as toys or better yet, as weapons for world conquest. Throughout the film, Dreykov terminates the lives of various Widows to avoid them falling into Natasha’s hands.
Throughout the film, the Black Widows have no control over their own thoughts and actions. One is when one falls from a great height and is severely injured. She contacts Dreykov, and he has her terminate her own life, in which she has no control.
Dreykov created a silent mercenary out of his daughter, Antonia after she was severely injured in an attack. Moreover, the assault was orchestrated by Natasha and Clint Barton to do away with the Red Room years earlier.
While Dreykov was the target, Nat was left haunted by the idea of killing an innocent child. Though, she learned to accept that people will get caught in the crossfire. Antonia’s scars were a reminder that people wanted him dead for his actions. So, he weaponised his little girl to be the perfect assassin. As Yelena puts it, Taskmaster was his “pet project”, which furthers the argument of his blatant disregard for the opposite sex.
For Antonia, her actions weren’t her own. Her father charged her with the Red Room, though he still commanded it himself. He did this by implanting a chip at the back of her neck. What’s more, is he had her examine the fighting styles of the Avengers, including Clint and Black Panther.
Nat’s involvement in what happened to Antonia was mentioned briefly in 2012’s Avengers by Loki when Romanov interrogates him. Then, later in the same film, Black Widow mentions what happened in Budapest to Clint. For almost a decade, it was speculated as to what the Budapest incident was. Some even interpreted this as Nat being Dreykov’s daughter, given how the god of mischief spoke.
Dreykov And His World Order
Dreykov had a twisted way of looking at the world. He felt threatened by the way women were becoming front and centre. We thought by using his Widows to attack the world’s governments, he could hold power. Instead, he used his position to hide in the shadows, while the females he controlled did his bidding. Controlling his own daughter was his way of showing that the male population should remain in charge.
Moreover, his mindset is reminiscent of men in the early to mid 20th Century where women were only seen. Most men in the middle ages had more respect than Dreykov. Look at how the women of Ancient Sparta would throw roof tiles at their coward sons if they deserted their comrades on the battlefield.
Dreykov’s desire for power is what ultimately corrupted him. To achieve his goal, he took young girls from their families and mutilated them so they couldn’t have children of their own if they wanted them. He removed their ability to choose what they wanted, using them to serve his needs of power. Outside of sterilising them and treating them like animals, he also brainwashed them into his collective where he could make them do whatever he wanted.
How Dreykov’ Behaviour Changed MCU
Dreykov’s view of women reflects on an issue that the MCU had in the early days. At the time of the earliest films in the franchise, the writers seemed unsure of how female characters should be written.
One example is how Natasha was written to see herself as weak in Avengers: Age of Ultron because she couldn’t conceive. For anyone who knows Joss Whedon’s work, it has long been documented that he sees women as disposable, despite claiming he’s a feminist.
Black Widow explains that the agents, including Nat, Melina, and Yelena, were given no choices until they decided to break free themselves of Dreykov’s control, or they were freed by those brave enough to do so. The film also showed that women don’t have to be sexualised to be strong. They don’t require slutty clothing to stand out. Their voices and actions are enough. Also, there’s no need for a female character to be a love interest or have one herself.
The way other female characters have been portrayed like Jane Foster as the sexy lover show that the writers had no idea how to handle the writing of women. Jamie Gerber of ScreenRant comments that Jane and Thor’s relationship wasn’t fleshed out enough and when she did disappear from the MCU, few people batted an eye. It was like nobody even cared that a character with so much potential could be placed in the trash.
In later MCU films, women are treated as normal human beings by the; something Dreykov could’ve learnt from had he cared.
How The Avengers Thought Of Nat As Family
Avengers: Endgame shows a side to the Avengers team as a whole. It gives us a lot of insight into how they viewed Natasha. When Clint returned without her from Vormir, Bruce is the first person to ask where Nat is. Barton’s silence says volumes. Then, what remains of the group begin to argue over what they can do to bring her back upon Thor’s reluctance to accept she’s gone. A distraught Banner then picks up a wooden bench and hurls it into the lake.
A devastated Clint says that Nat’s death cannot be undone. Tony asks if she had a family with Steve responding THEY are her family. What hurts them is that they didn’t know to get the soul stone, someone had to die. It wouldn’t have mattered when to Vormir because only one person would be coming back from that trip.
Of the Avengers, Nat was closest to Steve and Clint. However, Clint was her best friend and she felt included in his family, becoming a surrogate aunt to Barton’s three children, Cooper, Lila and Nathaniel – who was named after her. She was also close to Laura, Clint’s wife who she jokingly told that an unborn Nate was a traitor because he was a boy.
In the end, her death was hard on everyone. Despite her being the only woman in the original group, she was the glue that kept everything together when it started falling apart. She even led the second iteration of Avengers after the Snap and was the only person who could talk Clint around to returning home when his wife and kids were dusted.