Hawkeye’s Role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

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Brittany Strelluf

Over the past decade, Marvel Studios has grown to become one of the biggest movie studios in the world.  There is one character however, who is far more interesting and compelling than a casual viewer might gather if they are only interested in the movies: SHIELD Agent Clint Barton AKA Hawkeye. He’s the one with the bow and arrow and is portrayed by Jeremy Renner in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

For a long time, I felt that the MCU had dropped the ball a little bit on Hawkeye.  I am not casting stones. The MCU is a masterpiece of modern movie making. Marvel has produced 21 full-length major motion pictures of absolutely spectacular quality. 21 moves that all had to link together, tell a cohesive story, make money, set up for all the other movies and be stand-alone successes. It is a monumental task and when faced with this much source material and information to communicate to the audience, some details, and some characters are going to fall through the cracks.

 In honor of Endgame coming up in April, we’re going to go into some details about the character Hawkeye, and how perhaps, his character hasn’t been given the credit he really deserves.

Hawkeye was introduced in the very first Thor film back in 2011.  Hawkeye was a pretty instrumental role in the very first Avengers movie when Loki used the Mind Stone to control him and use him as a weapon. After Natasha knocks his block off, Clint is back to his old self, and we get to see him fight alongside the other avengers in the final act of the movie. His secret life and farm was introduced in Age of Ultron. This was a deviation from the comic books which cause some division within the fandom. Some fans loved the change, others hated it. 

Another deviation from the comics is the exclusion of Kate Bishop.  Hawkeye has a sidekick, a bratty young woman named Kate Bishop. She goes by Hawkeye as well. She is not Lady Hawkey, Young Hawkeye, or She-Hawkeye, just Hawkeye. Together, they are Hawkeye and Hawkeye.  In the latest trailer for Avengers Endgame, Clint is seen teaching his daughter, Lila to shoot a bow and arrow. Theoretically, this scene takes place before the Snap that wipes out half the universe. This would have been when Clint was on house arrest for assisting Steve Rogers and Bucky in Civil War. If Lila were to be brought back from the Snap, theoretically she could grow into the role of Hawkeye.

The MCU is by no means not short of laughs. However, Hawkeye is missing his self- deprecating, dry humor that he has in the comics. It’s acknowledged that Hawkeye is just an average Joe who is good with a bow and arrow. He gets hurt, he can’t fly, his bones take a long time to heal. In short, he’s a human being.

 Which leads to another thing that has been left out of the MCU: Clint’s hearing impairment. In the comics, Hawkeye has a pretty severe hearing disability. He wears hearing aids. He can read lips and uses sign language. While it isn’t integral to any movie plot, like Daredevil, so it is understandable that they cut this for time, but still, it would have been really awesome to be able to see a superhero with a disability, and could have made for a more interesting character. 

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In the newest trailers and photo leaks from Endgame, Clint is back in the saddle, now his character image is much darker than before Infinity War. Most fans believe Hawkeye is now carrying the mantle of Ronin.  Ronin is a hero portrayed by several characters. Hawkeye becomes Ronin after Civil War canonically as well. 

No matter what direction was chosen for Clint, it’s going to be a really exciting- and slightly scary-journey going on to the new stage of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.