According to Metro Boomin, not all heroes wear capes. This is true, but the sentiment extends well beyond a costume accessory. Not all heroes have super strength. Not all heroes have seemingly infinite wealth. Not all heroes can fly through space on a rainbow bridge. Some heroes need these things to do their jobs and save the day, but the best heroes can do a lot more with a lot less. For the greatest Avenger, all it takes is a bow and arrow.
I promise you that this is not a joke, no matter how much you may think I'm kidding. Clint Barton, also known as Hawkeye, is the best, most important Avenger in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Unlike the other Avengers, Hawkeye doesn't really have anything that sets him apart from the crowd save for his uncanny ability to send pointy sticks flying through the air. Thor is a god, Tony Stark has billions of dollars and a metal suit, Bruce Banner transforms into an indestructible beast, Steve Rogers is an ageless man with the strength of an army, and Natasha was trained from the time she was a child to be a ruthless assassin. Clint Barton is just a regular old dude with a perfectly formed Dad bod just waiting to emerge as soon as he retires. You might think that's what makes him the worst, most useless asset to the Avengers team, but it's actually the opposite. It's Clint's pure, unadulterated humanity that makes him so perfect.
Throughout the Avengers films, especially Age of Ultron, Hawkeye is the sole connection between us as viewers and Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Tony Stark isn't in touch with the average person; he's a reformed billionaire playboy who hasn't spent a day of his life struggling to get by or take care of others around him. Natasha grew up as a soldier. Steve is from an entirely different era and doesn't completely understand our world. Hulk is an actual rage monster, and Thor isn’t even human.
The point is, Hawkeye is different from the others. He has a family that he’s hidden on a farm in the middle of nowhere because he knows better than anybody how dangerous the world can be. He doesn't get to see them nearly as much as he wants to, but Clint makes a sacrifice each and every day on the job to ensure that the people he loves most don't have to endure the same hardships as, say, Pepper Potts. And when he comes home, there is no doubt that his family loves him for it.
Thanks to his family, and his sheer vulnerability as a mortal being, Clint understands what's at stake better than anyone else on the team. One wrong move and it could all be taken away. Yet, no matter how terrifying that thought may be, Clint wakes up every single day and stands toe-to-toe with gods, robots, and alien warriors. This fragile human man willingly fights alongside a Hulk to ensure that every family on the planet can be as safe as his, despite the fact that it would take almost nothing for his life to end. Just one explosion, bullet, punch, or arrow could do the trick, putting him down for good. But he still shows up, because he has a job to do, just like you and I.
The kind of bravery it takes to face these sorts of enemies without god-like powers or an iron suit is extraordinary in and of itself, yet Hawkeye's greatness doesn't stop there. Each Avenger has had their share of critical moments where they’ve needed to step up and get the job done or face defeat. You'd think, when Hawkeye's moment came, his archery skills would save the day. As you might recall, that's not what happens.
Hawkeye's shining moment arrived in 2015 in the third act of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Scarlet Witch, one of the most powerful characters in the MCU, had no idea who she was or who she wanted to be. If she lost control of herself, or used her abilities for the wrong reasons, the entire world would've been in trouble. While the other Avengers were off punching robots into oblivion, Clint recognized not only the immense power that Wanda possessed, but also the terrifying struggle going on in her soul. He then put his arrows to the side and used nothing but his understanding nature to shift the tide of the entire fight.
“The city is flying, we’re fighting an army of robots, and I have a bow and arrow. None of this makes sense,” he tells her. “But I’m going back out there because it’s my job. Okay? And I can’t do my job and babysit. It doesn’t matter what you did or what you were. If you go out there you fight, and you fight to kill. You stay in here, you’re good. I’ll send your brother to come find you. But if you step out that door, you are an Avenger.”
Gods and super-powered beings can save the lives of humans all the live-long day. But for one of our own to put his life on the line over and over again, all while going through the same trials and tribulations that we do on a daily basis -- that’s what a real hero looks like.
That’s Clint Barton.2comments
That’s an Avenger.
Welcome to Earth's Mightiest Week! From April 22nd to April 26th, ComicBook.com is celebrating the culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far with a series of exclusive articles, lists, arguments, and more. If you'd like to check out some of our other offerings from this week, you can click the image above.