Black Widow’s villain, Dreykov, behaved like an overconfident supervillain but his behavior is why Natasha was able to exploit his hubris and win.
The behavior of Black Widow’s villain, General Dreykov (Ray Winstone), seems like an inconsistency but it actually makes sense when one considers the situation the creator of the Red Room created for himself. Black Widow delved into the origin of Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and revealed that in 1995, when Natasha (Ever Anderson) was 12 years old, Dreykov assigned her to pose as an American family with Yelena Belova (Violet McGraw) as her little sister, while Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian (David Harbour) and Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz) pretended to be their parents.
After she turned on the Red Room, Natasha Romanoff believed she killed Dreykov, which was the price of her defection to SHIELD. When Nat discovered Dreykov was still alive, her goal in Black Widow became finding the Red Room and getting in a room with Dreykov so she could kill him once and for all — as well as freeing her ‘sisters’ in the Black Widow program. However, Dreykov had another surprise in store: he uses a pheromone to prevent any Black Widow, including Natasha, from physically attacking him. Dreykov then elaborated on his sinister plans for the world and for Romanoff, which involved bringing her back to the Black Widow program — giving Dreykov his very own Avenger as his new weapon to use against the West.
Once they were face to face in the Red Room, the way Dreykov conducted himself with Natasha was overly grand and verbose for an old spymaster who trusted no one. Romanoff even called him out on it when she mocked Dreykov by asking how long it had been since he had a conversation with someone who wasn’t forced to talk to him. But Dreykov’s supreme overconfidence made perfect sense: For so many years, the General had insulated himself from politics or anyone who could stand in the way of his private agenda. The Red Room was an undetectable facility and Dreykov was surrounded by a brainwashed army of Black Widows that does his bidding without question. Dreykov had absolute faith in his technology and all of the precautions he had taken to make himself and the Red Room untouchable.
The fact that Natasha Romanoff returned to him also excited Dreykov and made him drop his guard. Since Natasha attempted to assassinate him, joined SHIELD, and become a world-famous Avenger, Dreykov actually regarded Romanoff as a prodigal daughter who made good. Dreykov was oddly proud of Romanoff and he considered it a triumph that Natasha willingly returned to the Red Room. Dreykov was also privately amused that Natasha and Melina thought they could fool him by impersonating each other using the photostatic veil Black Widow first used in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Dreykov delighted in proving he saw through Romanoff’s disguise, acting amused that she thought she could outsmart him. As such, Dreykov — like all overconfident supervillains who are convinced they’ve already won — couldn’t help but reveal the full scope of the Red Room’s master plan to Natasha, just to assert that he was always in control. As a result of his hubris, Dreykov foolishly revealed the key to breaking the Black Widows’ brainwashing, including the mind control that held Dreykov’s own daughter, Antonia (Olga Kurylenko), in his thrall as Taskmaster.
Naturally, Dreykov was so convinced of his superiority, the Russian spymaster didn’t suspect that Natasha was really was playing him all along. Dreykov, a misogynist who hated, enslaved, and killed girls, couldn’t imagine that this woman could outsmart him, but that’s exactly what happened. Natasha brilliantly provoked Dreykov to strike her so that she would no longer be vulnerable to his pheromone — and Romanoff had to break her own nose when she scoffed Dreykov’s punches were too “weak.” Natasha proved in Black Widow that Dreykov ultimately wasn’t as smart as he thought he was and the Avenger gave her ‘creator’ the comeuppance he deserved.
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