In very broad and potentially misleading terms, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Black Widow positions the dysfunctional quartet of Natasha Romanoff, Yelena Belova, Melina Vostokoff and Alexei Shostakov as a Soviet-era version of The Incredibles, a makeshift family of two parents and their children who find themselves tasked by their superiors to save the world. Or at least, that’s what they’ve been told.
Of course, we’ve barely even made it out of the prologue before the clan have been sent on their separate paths, even if they do reconnect right around the midway point to formulate a plan to free the prisoners of the Red Room and eliminate the evil General Dreykov once and for all. To do this, David Harbour’s Red Guardian must be broken out of prison, where he encounters a man with a Marvel Comics history of his own.
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Alexei uses his super soldier strength to comfortably defeat all of his arm wrestling challengers, lastly defeating a man known as Ursa, which doesn’t sound like much of a big deal. However, those with an extensive knowledge of Marvel lore will be fully aware that Ursa Major is a Russian mutant that can transform into a bear at will, and in the comic books he’s been known to have ties to both Black Widow and the Red Room.
Additionally, when trying to reconnect with his estranged surrogate daughter to no avail, Yelena refers to Alexei as the Crimson Dynamo, before he swiftly reminds her that he’s Red Guardian. That’s a moniker that’s been held by several characters over the decades, usually foes of Tony Stark. The very first iteration of the Crimson Dynamo was Anton Vanko, father of Ivan, who was played by Mickey Rourke in Iron Man 2. When it comes to Soviet superheroes in Black Widow, then, Easter Egg finds you.