Black Widow: Did Red Guardian Fight Captain America?

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IGN 10 July, 2021 - 06:06am 9 views

Is the Red Guardian Black Widow's dad?

Harbour says he flipped through a few of the character's comic-book appearances but knew the “Black Widow” movie would not lean in to those tales too heavily. In the comics, the Red Guardian is the Black Widow's husband. Harbour's version would be a reluctant father figure. The Washington PostThe Red Guardian was a ‘Black Widow’ role David Harbour couldn’t turn down

How did Red Guardian get his powers?

The latest Red Guardian is Nikolai Krylenko/Vanguard, brother to Laynia Petrovna; whose powers are derived from his mutation. wikipedia.orgAlexei Shostakov as Red Guardian

One of the highlights of the Black Widow movie is David Harbour’s Red Guardian, a.k.a. Alexei Shostakov, the former deep-cover Russian spy who was also at one point that country’s answer to Captain America. While the main arc of his character is based around his relationship with his adopted family of fellow former and/or current Russian agents Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), and Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz), a running joke in the film involves Alexei recalling his glory days, and particularly his self-proclaimed rivalry with Captain America.

But the thing is, Alexei is probably making it all up… Or is he? Let’s take a look at the evidence.

The first time we hear about these alleged adventures is when we meet up with the former Red Guardian, who has been imprisoned in the Russian Gulag for years. He’s arm-wrestling fellow inmates one at a time, and beguiling them with stories of fighting Cap. “There he is -- Captain America,” he says. “Finally, the Red Guardian’s time has come! I grab hold of his shield. Face to face, it’s a test of strength!”

Sounds exciting! And yet, when one of the inmates asks Alexei what year this confrontation took place, he replies, “I don’t know. 1984.” Which, as he is then reminded, would mean Captain America was still on ice at the time, frozen in suspended animation. So how could they have fought each other?

As we all learned in history class, Steve Rogers was born in 1918 in good old Brooklyn, USA. After years of dreaming of joining the army so he could fight in World War II, he underwent Dr. Erskine’s Super Soldier experiment as part of Project Rebirth and adopted the Captain America mantle. Rogers became a hero and ultimately went into the ice in 1945 while preventing a bombing attack on the United States initiated by the Red Skull. That’s when Cap entered suspended animation and remained frozen for approximately 66 years before being discovered and thawed by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in 2011 or 2012.

So that would mean that Red Guardian’s story about fighting Cap in 1984 doesn’t make a ton of sense, right? But maybe Alexei just got the dates wrong and actually he was talking about something that happened back in the ’40s…? Well, putting aside the fact that the prologue of Black Widow pretty much establishes that Alexei was a younger man in the 1990s than he is in the more or less modern time period that most of the film is set during 2016 -- which would seem to indicate that he ages normally like the rest of us -- there’s also the fact that the U.S. and Russia were allies during World War II. So why would they be fighting? Also, the Guardian mentions “having the nuclear codes” during his fight with Cap, which again, doesn’t line up with a 1940s match-up.

It is possible, of course, that Red Guardian actually fought a different version of Cap, as we now know that the U.S. government continued to experiment on its own soldiers, including many African-American men, at least into the 1950s. These experiments resulted in Isaiah Bradley, who we met in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, becoming a super soldier in his own right. Marvel has left it unclear at this point whether or not Bradley actually donned a Captain American uniform as he did in the comics, but it’s not out of the question that he or some other American soldier did in 1984.

But then again, at one point in Black Widow Alexei asks Natasha if Cap ever talked about him to her. He even says that he feels like they’re more “contemporaries” than enemies -- so, you know, guys from the same era. And since Steve Rogers’ identity is publicly known, presumably Alexei would be aware that his “contemporary” is like 100 years old. Doesn’t really add up…

Of course, what’s really going on with Red Guardian is that this is all a funny little throughline for David Harbour’s character, and it also contrasts the whole concept of the shiny, upstanding, perfect Captain America -- symbol of the good old U.S. of A. -- with the fallen relic of the past that was the Soviet Union, which of course Red Guardian symbolized.

Steve Rogers did travel through time in Avengers: Endgame when he was on a mission to return all the Infinity Stones to their rightful places in time/space. We have no idea what he did during that period or even how long he was gone for, so he actually could’ve fought Red Guardian in what would’ve been Alexei’s past but Steve’s present!

You know what? I really hope that’s the answer here, if only for Alexei’s sake.

For more on the film, check out our Black Widow post credits scene and ending explained, dig in on the history of Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, or get an explanation of Taskmaster’s true identity in the film. You can also read our review of Black Widow here!

Read full article at IGN

Black Widow Theory: Red Guardian Fought a Different Captain America

CBR - Comic Book Resources 10 July, 2021 - 06:19pm

One of the standout characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's newest installment, Black Widow, is David Harbour's Alexei Shostakov, aka Red Guardian. The character is a former Super Soldier, and served as Russia's version of Captain America during the Cold War. By the time the film catches up to him, Alexei is past his prime and has spent years locked up in a Russian prison.

While preparing to arm wrestle his fellow prisoner, Ursa, Alexei brags about having fought Captain America and taken his shield. When his story is questioned, Alexei claims that the fight took place in the early 1980s. Ursa reminds him that Captain America was still frozen in the ice during this time, and Alexei breaks his wrist.

In the comics, there have been various people who have taken the Super Soldier serum in addition to Steve Rogers. Notably, a man named William Burnside injected himself with it in the 1950s to fight Communists. Burnside took up the identity of Captain America, and a boy named Jack Monroe, who had also been injected with the serum, became Bucky. Unfortunately, their version of the serum was flawed, causing them to become unstable, and after some time, the government put them into suspended animation.

As for the MCU, it stands to reason that the U.S. government's experiments could have produced more Super Soldiers than just Isaiah Bradley. As such, it's possible that one of them could be an MCU adaptation of Burnside, albeit with a different timetable. If this were the case, then Black Widow's Alexei could in fact be telling the truth about fighting Captain America, as David Harbour has suggested in interviews.

In addition, Alexei mentions taking Captain America's shield and throwing him out a window in his story. This makes sense considering Alexei is shown to be in control of his superpowers, which suggests his serum is fairly stable as opposed to Burnside's flawed version. That part of the story could also explain where Burnside has been, if the movies decide to explore the character and bring him back in the present day to battle Red Guardian. After all, Black Widow proved that if you don't find a body, there's a good chance they're not fully dead.

Red Guardian vs. Captain America: Which Super Soldier Is Stronger

Screen Rant 10 July, 2021 - 06:19pm

Black Widow introduced Red Guardian, a super soldier created by the Soviet Union, but is he stronger than Captain America? The super soldier program, unsurprisingly, didn’t only affect Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier confirmed there were more vials of the super soldier serum out there (most, if not all, were destroyed), as well as other men, like Isaiah Bradley, who were injected with the serum to fight on behalf of the United States. Black Widow reveals the former Soviet Union also created their own super soldier so they could have their own Captain America. 

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