Digital Domain created over 320 visual effects shots for the film.
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Jump to: Spoilers (20)
According to writer Eric Pearson, Florence Pugh teased Scarlett Johansson about Black Widow's iconic pose during filming, so Pearson put it in the film.
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On July 6, 2020, it was announced that Marvel Studios executives, including Kevin Feige, were so impressed with Florence Pugh's performance as Yelena Belova that they plan to include her in future MCU films, and she may even become the new Black Widow. In fact, Feige stated that this film was written to showcase Belova just as much as Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff.
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Ever Anderson secured the role as young Natasha because she already speaks Russian and has a green belt in taekwondo.
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In prison at 53:48, Red Guardian shows tattoo on his right shoulder of two roses. The two Russian names underneath them translate to Natasha and Yelena.
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In prison, Alexei arm-wrestles a giant prisoner named Ursa. In the comics, Ursa Major is a fellow Russian hero who has the ability to turn into a bear. Alexei references this by calling him a bear.
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Yelena mistakenly calls Alexei "Crimson Dynamo" rather than Red Guardian. In the comics, Crimson Dynamo is a Russian supervillain in a powerful armor who usually fights Iron Man, and has been a teammate of Red Guardian. His real name was Anton Vanko, and he is the father of Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke) from Iron Man 2 (2010), whose electricity-based weaponry and armor were based on the Crimson Dynamo from the comics.
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Black Widow's wrist-mounted tasers are colored yellow. This is an homage to Natasha Romanova's classic Black Widow costume, which was an all-black suit with yellow bracelets.
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Scarlett Johansson asked her husband Colin Jost, who's a big Marvel Universe fan, to rehearse lines from the movie with her but he refused because he wanted to avoid any spoilers.
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This is Scarlett Johansson's ninth time playing Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow if you include Captain Marvel (2019). Johansson's contract for this solo outing, although an extension, is independent from her original contract. Her salary for her supposedly final outing, as stipulated in her deal, is $25 million, with an additional $6 million bonus if the film's worldwide gross is above $900 million. However, the latter stipulation became the subject of a lawsuit between Johansson and Disney, when Disney reportedly breached contract by releasing the movie simultaneously on their streaming service Disney+, which seriously limited its box office success.
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Scarlett Johansson describes the film as "Its own genre", and even named Logan (2017) as an influence along with The Fugitive (1993), and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991).
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In Melina's armory are masks that are colored metallic blue. In the comics, Melina (Iron Maiden) had on a metal blue mask as part of her costume.
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Both Scarlett Johansson and Marvel expressed interest in a potential Black Widow solo film several times over the preceding 10 years, before development progressed with the hiring of Jac Schaeffer and Cate Shortland in 2018, even though Shortland had no experience in directing big budget action films.
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Screenwriter Eric Pearson told Variety that all it took to get the first draft of the blockbuster down was 11 days. "We got our good bones down meeting with Kevin [Feige] and [co-producer] Brian Chapek and [director] Cate Shortland and talking to Scarlett [Johansson] a lot," he said. "She was phoning in and then I was locking it into a document that was just like a blueprint. And once I know what I'm doing, I write fast. That was the first draft, but we did a lot of rewrites."
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The main contenders for the role of Yelena Belova were Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Alice Englert, Dar Zuzovsky and Florence Pugh with Watson being the front-runner. Ultimately, Pugh was cast. According to the producers, they saw her performance as Saraya-Jade Bevis in Fighting with My Family (2019) which gave an added advantage behind her casting.
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The Mil-8 helicopter that was used in the film was borrowed from the Helicopter Museum in Weston-super-Mare, England. The 25 metre aircraft, which weighs 7,000kgs, was disassembled and taken to Pinewood Studios and other locations. The interior was altered, windows reshaped and completely repainted for the film.
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David Harbour had already grown a beard for the fourth season of Stranger Things (2016) so he decided to gain weight for the role, reaching 280 pounds. Over the course of shooting, he lost 60 pounds for the flashback sequences.
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A conscious decision was made not to include characters like Iron Man or Captain America as they wanted this film to be exclusively about Black Widow.
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David Hayter wrote a script, and was set to direct in 2004, when the character's film rights were still at Artisan Entertainment/Lions Gate.
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Is the twenty-fourth film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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David Harbour & Rachel Weisz play Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh's adoptive parents. In real life they are 9 & 14 years older than Johansson, and 20 & 25 years older than Pugh.
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Mattel, in collaboration with Marvel Studios, released two promotional Barbie Signature dolls based on Black Widow to promote the film. The first one was a Black Suit doll and the second one was the White Suit. They were both designed by Bill Greening.
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This movie was originally scheduled to release on May 1, 2020 as a kickoff of Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). However, due to the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), the film was postponed until November 6, 2020, then delayed again until May 7, 2021, and again delayed to July 9, 2021. It is just one of the many films to be postponed due to COVID-19. The miniseries WandaVision (2021) kicked off Phase Four instead.
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Colonel Dreykov last name means "of crap" (in Yiddish/Russian slang).
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Rachel Weisz found it particularly amusing that her character had zero sense of humor.
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Ever Anderson, who plays Young Natasha Romanoff in flashbacks, is the daughter of Milla Jovovich and Paul W.S. Anderson. Jovovich's breakthrough role was in The Fifth Element (1997), where she sported orange hair and showed impressive acrobatic and fighting skills, not unlike Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow.
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The first MCU film to be released in theatres and Disney+ simultaneously.
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Third MCU film to be a prequel instead of a continuous narrative, after Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and Captain Marvel (2019).
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The film's cast includes two Oscar winners: William Hurt and Rachel Weisz; and two Oscar nominees: Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh. By coincidence, Johansson and Pugh competed together in 2020 for many Best Supporting Actress awards, including the Academy Award and BAFTA Award, for their roles in Jojo Rabbit (2019) and Little Women (2019), respectively.
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Lorne Balfe's score involves a 118 piece orchestra and a 60-voice choir. The chorals were influenced by Russian poetry by the likes of Alexander Pushkin, Mikhail Lermentov and Leo Tolstoy.
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Nicole Perlman wrote a treatment for a Black Widow movie around 2010/2011, but Marvel/Disney reportedly weren't ready yet to take the risk of making a big-budget movie centered on a female superhero. Due to the delay, Warner Bros/DC Entertainment's Wonder Woman (2017) beat the film to theaters, followed by Marvel's own Captain Marvel (2019) and Wonder Woman 1984 (2020). Many mistakenly give Wonder Woman (2017) credit for being the first major female-led superhero film, but that honor goes to Supergirl (1984). WW84 takes place the same year that Supergirl was released.
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Shot over a period of 87 days.
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In the comics, Daredevil and Black Widow were a couple. Charlie Cox from Netflix's Daredevil (2015) wants a crossover movie.
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Producer Eric Pearson wanted to include a reference to Doctor Doom's home country of Latveria in the film, but it ultimately didn't make the final cut.
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Cate Shortland studied all of Scarlett Johansson's previous performances in the role consecutively and locked onto the period of time depicted as the character was essentially alone and not in tandem with other superheroes.
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13 BMW X3 vehicles were used in the Budapest car chase.
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As of August 2021, this is the fifth highest grossing film of the year. It also made an estimated $60 million with its simultaneous release on Disney+, a bone of contention with Scarlett Johansson and her subsequent lawsuit over loss of profits.
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Director Cate Shortland based the character of Mason, played by O-T Fagbenle, on veteran and military advisor Major Merlin Hanbury-Tenison. She was so struck by his experiences working under-cover in Afghanistan that she had him coach OT directly on his role so that the actor could truly channel the gritty realities of the character.
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Yelena dismissively calls Alexei (Red Guardian) the Crimson Dynamo, a separate Russian villain from the comics that is also one of the inspirations for Ivan Vanko in Iron Man 2 (2010).
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Second MCU film to feature a Nirvana song ("Smells Like Teen Spirit") after Captain Marvel (2019) ("Come As You Are"). Both songs are from the Nevermind (1991) album. However, Black Widow featured a cover version where Captain Marvel used the original one.
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The prologue set in 1995 establishes that Natasha is 11 years old and Yelena is 6 years old. It means, 5 years between them. In real-life Scarlett Johansson is 11 years, 1 month and 12 days older than Florence Pugh.
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In an early draft of the script, Yelena Belova was intended to be The Heavy for Dreykov and she would have been a rival to Natasha, similar to her comics counterpart.
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Over 70 directors were considered and interviewed for this film, with among names considered including Chloé Zhao (first choice), Deniz Gamze Ergüven, and Amma Asante. Lucrecia Martel was the second choice but declined the offer due to disagreements over several aspects of the film with the studio (Martel wanted to take part in designing the action sequences, change the use of special effects and a have final decision on the use of music soundtrack, which she criticized it as hard and painful). Cate Shortland was ultimately chosen after Scarlett Johansson voiced her support on the studio's choice.
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The first Marvel Studios film to have a 4K digital intermediate. All previous films, regardless of being shot with 4K, 6K or 8K were all downscaled afterwards to 2K.
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Olga Kurylenko plays Antonia Dreykov in the MCU, but she was among the top three contenders for the role of Wonder Woman in the DCEU, which eventually went to Gal Gadot.
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The eighth film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to be filmed in Panavision (anamorphic), after The Incredible Hulk (2008), Thor (2011), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). Ninth if you count Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), of which the film's opening scene was shot on a set of Cooke Xtal Xpress Anamorphic Lenses rehoused by Panavision.
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At the end of the film when Natasha flies off in her new jet, the camera pans down to show a tree with pink blossoms. Dreykov had told Natasha that he buried her real mother by a beautiful tree with pink blossoms.
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Scarlett Johansson personally approached Cate Shortland about directing, having been a big fan of her film Lore (2012).
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Because of their purchase of 21st Century Fox, this is the third of three films owned by Disney that share the name Black Widow. The other two (completely unrelated) are Black Widow (1954), starring Ginger Rogers, and Black Widow (1987), starring Debra Winger and Theresa Russell.
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Alexandre Desplat was originally set to provide the film's music but was ultimately replaced by Lorne Balfe.
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The film features a clip from the James Bond movie 'Moonraker' (1979). One of the stars of 'Black Widow' (2021) is Rachel Weisz who is married to 007 actor Daniel Craig. This 'Moonraker' clip features the Bond villain Drax played by Michael Lonsdale who Craig worked with on Steven Spielberg's 'Munich' (2005). 'Black Widow' (2021) also co-stars Ukrainian actress Olga Kurylenko who co-starred with Craig as the lead Bond Girl in the Bond movie 'Quantum of Solace' (2008). Weisz's character's name in 'Black Widow' is Melina which is also the first name of the lead Bond Girl character in the 007 movie 'For Your Eyes Only' (1981) which was played by French actress Carole Bouquet. In the Bond movie 'Thunderball' (1965), 007 (Sean Connery) has a fight scene with a ''black widow'' who is really a henchman dressed as a widow wearing black.
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The film takes place in 1995 (Natasha's childhood), 2016, immediately following the events of Captain America: Civil War on the MCU timeline (when the Avengers break up), and 2023 (post credits scene), immediately following the events of Avengers: Endgame.
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Co-stars, actresses Rachel Weisz and Florence Pugh, have both starred in filmed adaptions of novels written by spy novelist John le Carré, these being respectively the theatrical feature film 'The Constant Gardener' (2005) and the six episode made for television mini-series 'The Little Drummer Girl' (2018).
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Rob Hardy was originally set to be the film's cinematographer but he left the production before it started filming. He was replaced by Gabriel Beristain. He was not new to the Marvel universe having worked on the TV series Agent Carter (2015).
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Taskmaster hewing closer to the comics, including being Tony Masters, was considered early in the scripting process.
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Yelena tells Natasha that in her fictional life story, her sister (Natasha) moved out west and her husband renovates houses. Actor Jeremy Renner, who plays Natasha's BFF as Hawkeye in the MCU but are off-again/on-again lovers in the comic books, renovates houses in Los Angeles.
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In the movie, Alexei Shostakov (Red Guardian) is a father-figure to Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow). In the original comics, Alexei and Natasha were husband and wife.
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In The Avengers (2012), during the battle with the Chitauri, Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) mentioned to Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) that it's "just like Budapest all over again", to which Barton remarked that they clearly "remember Budapest very differently". It's finally revealed here that "Budapest" was Black Widow's ticket into S.H.I.E.L.D., and was a mission where she and Barton fought half the Hungarian army after bombing a five-story building, although Barton may have a stronger memory of the two of them hiding from the authorities for 10 days (2 of them while hiding in an air duct). And in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), as Natasha is about to reveal HYDRA's secret files, Pierce tells her "If you do this, none of your past will remain hidden: not Budapest, Osaka, the Children's Ward. Are you sure you want the world to see you as you truly are?" In this movie the audience learn that he was insinuating the Budapest mission, where Natasha's decision resulted in the supposed death of an innocent young girl.
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The post-credits scene between Yelena and Valentina has been confirmed to be a set-up for Hawkeye (2021).
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The film Natasha watches in her trailer is Moonraker (1979), in which James Bond fights an adversary who has his own space station to hide from the authorities. This foreshadows the revelation that Natasha's nemesis Dreykov (Ray Winstone) has his own floating headquarters that prevents S.H.I.E.L.D. from finding him on Earth. Also, Taskmaster actress Olga Kurylenko was a Bond Girl in Quantum of Solace (2008).
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Melina is named after Melina Vostakoff, a Russian agent in the Marvel comics who later went freelance and was known as the Iron Maiden, an enemy of Black Widow.
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Julia Louis-Dreyfus was supposed to make her first appearance as Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine in the film, but due to the Covid-related delays, she made her debut in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021) instead. In the comics, Valentina was a high-level S.H.I.E.L.D. operative, as well as a high-level HYDRA agent known as Madame Hydra.
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The film is set after Captain America: Civil War (2016), but before Avengers: Infinity War (2018). In the pre-credits scene, Natasha can be seen sporting the blond hair she had in Infinity War.
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At the time of the film's release, Scarlett Johansson is the only one to be featured in a film in each of the four phases of the MCU (though Jeremy Renner's image in the post credits sequence also has him appearing in all four phases).
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In the original script, Yelena never made up with her "parents" and still hated them at the end of the film. David Harbour had the idea that Alexei should prove he really did care about her by showing he still remembered her favorite song, resulting in "American Pie" being added to the opening escape scene so they could use it later.
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Florence Pugh said that she was very nervous to meet Scarlett Johansson for the first time, since she had been in planes and airports for hours, and was afraid that she smelled of "old suitcases". The first scene they did together was their first fight scene in the movie, so on their first meeting, Pugh had to "choke" Johansson.
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The 'Red Room' returns, after having been seen first in Agent Carter: The Iron Ceiling (2015) where Peggy Carter and the Howling Commandoes found one of its academies, and it was later mentioned by Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) as the program that mercilessly trained and sterilized her. It has been transitioned into an aerial facility now.
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In the post-credits scene, Yelena calls out to a dog named Fanny. This is a nod to the alias of "Fanny Longbottom" provided to Natasha/Black Widow by Mason earlier in the film, when she goes into hiding.
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Red Guardian's stories in the prison about fighting Captain America prior to Steve being discovered in the ice may be fabrications, or he may have actually fought one of the other super-soldier-serum recipients (see The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021) for context) or even a time-traveling Steve Rogers in some as-yet-untold adventure. It may also be the version of Steve Rogers who remained in the past after returning the Infinity Stones in Avengers: Endgame.
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During the last scene, Mason brings Natasha a jet. The jet was a SHIELD Quinjet, one of which Natasha has piloted on previous SHIELD missions.
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The Taskmaster is revealed to be Dreykov's daughter Antonia Dreykov, whereas in the comics Anthony "Tony" Masters was the Taskmaster, who unlike Antonia, is a mercenary rather than a government agent. This is also the eighth time that a gender-swap was done in a Marvel media production after Jeri Hogarth from Jessica Jones (2015), The Ancient One from Doctor Strange (2016), Ghost from Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018), Mar-Vell from Captain Marvel (2019), Morgan Stark from Avengers: Endgame (2019), Gabriella Rosetti from Helstrom (2020), and Flag Smasher from The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021).
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Because of the big reveal that Olga Kurylenko plays Taskmaster, her name was deliberately left out of early promotional material.
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The film begins in 1995 with a young Natasha and Yelena playing, before going through a montage of their training in the Red Room during the opening credits and then saying "21 years later", as Natasha is on the run after the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016) which takes place in this year, previous to Avengers: Infinity War (2018) (not counting the in-between Doctor Strange (2016), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and Black Panther (2018) because Natasha is not implied on them).
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Antonia is seen being murdered as a child by adult Black Widow; however, when the audience meets an adult Antonia as Taskmaster, she is played by Olga Kurylenko who is five years older than Scarlett Johansson in real life.
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In the movie Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian is modeled as a reverse of Steve Rogers/Captain America, not only as superhero and supervillain but their morality and way of thinking: -Rogers fights for peace. Shostakov fights because he loves war. -Rogers tries to protect innocents from any danger or threat. Shostakov wishes to smash anyone that he considers his enemy and he enjoys it. -Rogers isn't interested in politics. Shostakov is obsessed with toppling foreign governments around the world, and serves the state to prove that he is a good patriot. -Rogers uses just enough force to accomplish his missions. Shostakov revels in causing pain. -Rogers doesn't show off his force. Shostakov always wants to show off his force as symbol of masculinity. -Rogers is a good-mannered man with a highly developed sense of temperance. Shostakov is a proud bully prone to emotional outbursts.
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"Blue Bayou" Films code name that can be seen on the clapper board during shooting.
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