As Hawkeye is told in the second episode of his new Disney+ series, “your problem is branding.” And it’s true. The man is an Avenger, one of the MCU’s six biggest heroes, and yet he doesn’t have nearly the name recognition of Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, or even Hulk. He’s also now the only Avenger without his own movie, relegated to the world of TV streaming along with other (sadly) minor characters like Scarlet Witch and Loki. So to mark the premiere of Hawkeye, we decided to look back on a decade of the underappreciated archer and all of the reasons why he deserves more credit than he gets.
In the original Avengers, poor Hawkeye got mind-controlled by Loki almost as soon as the movie started and was sent back to fight his friends. Now here’s the thing: he held his own. One dude. With a bow and arrow. Versus the assembled Avengers. And he was a serious annoyance. He didn’t win, but he didn’t die. Think about that.
He’s got skills
I don’t think that anyone can argue with the fact that Clint Barton has real talent when it comes to shooting that bow and arrow. While it might not be as flashy as wielding a magic hammer or having the supersoldier serum running through your veins, archery requires an incredible amount of training and practice, especially at the level Clint performs. It is no small feat and an accomplishment that should not be overlooked.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
A pretty dramatic movie all told, but most importantly the movie in which Hawkeye delivered one of the greatest superhero soliloquies of all time:
Not only is Hawkeye a caring mentor who takes the time to inspire Scarlet Witch to join the Avengers, he’s apparently also the only one of them self-reflective enough to realize that his own movie is patently ridiculous. And yet he’s going to go back out there, work around the plot holes, and fight the robots anyway, because he’s Hawkeye. What a hero.
He’s a nice guy
Behind the sarcasm and hard exterior, Clint really is a caring guy. He does a great job of taking care of the people important to him, like his family. He tries hard to be there for his kids and wife. He is also willing to take care of people he barely knows, like Scarlet Witch, or Natasha Romanoff, a Russian assassin he was ordered to take down. Instead he brought her to S.H.I.E.L.D. and got her a new job. And now he has Kate Bishop, his accomplice and apprentice in the new Hawkeye TV show.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
In perhaps the worst insult he’s ever been dealt by Marvel script writers, the world’s greatest archer wasn’t invited to Avengers: Infinity War, not even for one scene! For “story reasons” the character supposedly just wasn’t needed for planet Earth’s epic battle with Thanos, but here’s what I see: the one time the Avengers went out on a mission without the guy, they lost so badly that half the universe died. QED.
He’s been there for everything (else)
Outside of Marvel’s biggest crossover, Hawkeye has been busy holding the franchise together. He’s been a part of the MCU since the very start, making his debut in the first Thor. He started out as just a member of S.H.I.E.L.D. and grew to be part of the original six Avengers with an amazing track record of heroics. While he has taken his fair share of hits and falls over the years, he still remains one of the longest lasting heroes to date. All of this despite the fact that he lacks any traditional superpowers and fights with a bow and arrow.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
I think it is also fair to mention the dark path Hawkeye went down as The Ronan, ruthlessly taking down crime syndicates after his family disappeared in The Blink. While this was a rather dark chapter for poor Clint, it was also rather epic to watch and served as great character development for him. This trip into the dark makes him a much more dynamic character and has already created interesting conflicts in the TV show.
Overall it is high time that one of the most underrated superheroes of our time gets a little more love, not to mention a show of his very own! The show itself promises to give us even more Hawkeye action against a fun holiday backdrop to follow over the next couple of weeks, as well as some long overdue representation of the deaf community and prominent use of ASL. Hawkeye has three episodes available now and will continue to release more every Wednesday.