You may have seen him around. Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, the whiz with the bow and arrow, is an integral cog in the Avengers machine. Since his first appearance in the films back in 2011’s Thor, he’s been a scene-stealer, often calling insanely cool shots and offering much-needed confident and cocky comedic relief. In a world full of gods and super-powered men and women, Hawkeye is not just getting by — he’s excelling, but still not getting the respect. He’s pep-talked budding superheroes like Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. He’s laughed and drank with Thor. He’s pulled off some stellar combo moves with the likes of Captain America and Black Widow.
He’s got a family, something any number of the other Marvel heroes can’t say, since it’s obviously hard to manage while you’re saving the world. Not for Hawkeye, though. So, when we saw him standing tall with the Hulk, Iron Man and more in 2012’s The Avengers, nothing looked out of place. There was Hawkeye, a man among gods with just a bow and arrow, showing the world that you don’t need super powers to be among the best and brightest in the superhero world. Here are 15 reasons why Hawkeye is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s crown jewel, its ultimate Avenger.
15. HE’S LOW MAINTENANCE
All Hawkeye needs is a solid enough bow, a quiver full of arrows and a split-second notice. When the other heroes of the Marvel Universe are sitting pretty with their vibranium shields, arc reactors and shock gauntlets, Hawkeye is mostly always ready for anything. He eats and sleeps like any other person, but he’s not one to complain if things are too uncomfortable.
Even in Captain America: Civil War, he doesn’t bat an eye when his role might mean sitting in the back of a van while the crew picks up Ant-Man, or rotting in a jail cell at the bottom of the ocean. He’s pretty cool with everything. Remember when he was mind controlled in The Avengers? Yeah, he was bummed and pretty beat up, but he pressed on. No complaints.
14. HE FIGHTS FOR HIS FRIENDS
Renner’s Hawkeye has a long history with the other members of the Marvel Universe, but he’ll never shy away from a chance to stand with them and stand for what’s right. In The Avengers, that meant providing boots on the ground coverage against the Chitauri invasion, working with civilians, Captain America and Black Widow where he was needed most.
In Avengers: Age of Ultron, he was on missions with the team, globetrotting while again protecting his teammates. During the Sokovia disaster, he pep-talked soon-to-be Avengers Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, despite his disdain for their earlier actions. In Captain America: Civil War, he stood with Cap because he knew it was right, and though he disagreed with Tony Stark, there was never any malice, because he knew — one way or another — the Avengers would survive.
13. HE LOVES HIS FAMILY
In honestly shocking fashion, 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron introduced us to Hawkeye’s family, which included a wife and two kids out on a farm in middle America. It took plenty of viewers by surprise to learn that this Black Ops-level soldier had a family at home, and a fairly normal life given the circumstances. Sure, he may have put them in a bit of danger by bringing The Hulk and co. to town, but his intentions were pure.
Even during the events of Civil War, Hawkeye was fighting for a world he wanted for his family, and Captain America makes clear that Hawkeye’s commitment means the world to him, but that they’re all just doing this for civilians who are trying to live normal lives. His extended family, including his friends, are also shown tremendous support, as Hawkeye never waivers for those he cares about.
12. HE’S VERSATILE
No bow and arrow? No problem. Hawkeye doesn’t need his signature weapon to do some major damage, as he’s skilled in everything from martial arts and hand-to-hand combat to dogfighting, driving, and… a bow staff? In Captain America: Civil War, Hawkeye goes head-to-head with The Vision using a police baton, maybe not dealing as much damage as he thought, but it buys him enough time to plan his next move.
During the airport fight scenes, he wrestles with Black Widow, even pinning her at one point, then goes to take on Black Panther with his bow-turned-bowstaff. Of course, it’s broken in half, but not before Hawkeye puts up one hell of a fight. Sure, he’s most versatile with his signature weapons, from his insane blind shots to exploding or shock arrows, he’s got it all. And he’s got one for everyone.
11. HE’S HILARIOUS (AND SUBTLE ABOUT IT)
Renner’s Hawkeye is extremely funny, but he’s awfully subtle about it. Channeling much of his comic book counterpart, Hawkeye’s humor often comes out at the darkest of times. In Age Of Ultron, he quips at Quicksilver after he calls him slow, pointing an arrow in his direction, making a joke about his hand slipping. He also gets a few laughs from attendees of Tony’s cocktail party at the beginning of the movie.
In the first Avengers, he mentions fighting with a bow and arrow against aliens, and even cracks a smile when his arrow explodes in Loki’s face. In Civil War, after pinning Black Widow, the two joke about still getting dinner later, despite the fact that all of their friends are trying to destroy, attack or kill each other. It’s much-needed relief, of course, and makes us like Hawkeye that much more.
10. HE’S A KILLER PILOT
If there’s one person piloting a Quinjet in the thick of battle, it’s going to be Hawkeye. In the original Avengers film, he drops part of the team into the thick of the Battle of New York, calm and composed, while a literal alien war zone tears up the streets below. The team later takes comfort in Hawkeye’s skills as a pilot, and often turn toward him to be the one in the cockpit.
Like in Avengers: Age Of Ultron, when he flies The Avengers to Korea to find Ultron and take him down once and for all. Of course, this eventually leads to the fall of Sokovia and plenty of other terrible things, but hey, at least Hawkeye got them there safe and sound. Weirdly enough, Hawkeye isn’t the only one skills at flying the Quinjet. We’re looking at you, Hulk.
9. HE’S ALWAYS PROUD TO BE AN AVENGER
We’ll use “Avenger” as a loose term here, as the team during and post-Captain America: Civil War isn’t technically a team of Avengers. Anyway, regardless of where or when the fight is, Hawkeye stands tall as a proponent of the team. In The Avengers, he helps rally the team after his mind control and is an integral part of the team’s first full shot of them all together.
In Age Of Ultron, his pride as an Avengers leads him to develop a caring relationship for Scarlet Witch, giving her more purpose following the death of her brother. And in Captain America: Civil War, he does what he can to make sure he’s doing what an Avenger would do. Whether that’s rescuing Scarlet Witch from Vision, shooting Ant-Man on an arrow or going head-to-head with Black Panther, he’s got his head in the Avengers game.
8. HE WITHSTANDS MIND CONTROL (WELL… THE SECOND TIME)
Speaking of mind control, Hawkeye is now an outspoken contrarian of the skill. And why shouldn’t he be? In The Avengers, Loki uses the Mind Stone to control Hawkeye’s mind, turning him into a drone for Loki’s master plans. This rubs him the wrong way, though he doesn’t realize it until Black Widow puts him down and helps him come to. Of course, he eventually gets his revenge on Loki in a roundabout way.
In Avengers: Age of Ultron, he mentions multiple times that he was mind controlled before, and he’s the only team member to notice that Scarlet Witch is using a similar tactic to mess with the minds of his teammates. With that in mind, he’s able to withstand her attempt at controlling him, quipping something akin to “not this time,” and moving ahead.
7. HE’S GROUNDED IN REALITY
Above all else, Hawkeye is just a man. He has no inherent superpowers, but he is a phenomenal marksman. Hawkeye has friends, family and a seemingly real and totally normal life outside of his exploits as an Avenger. He’s also completely relatable, bringing to life the conflict of not being strong enough to stand with the big guns. Of course, Hawkeye makes up for that in his own way.
His training is military, and his work with S.H.I.E.L.D. allowed his origin to flow naturally, something we didn’t have to suspend our disbelief for. And this disbelief is what allows us to believe he’s capable of standing up to those aforementioned big guns, and he won’t shy away from a fight he knows he might lose. On that note…
6. HE’S NOT AFRAID TO FAIL
Sometimes what Hawkeye does is all about timing, and he’s not afraid to fail at his mission. Whether that means failing to stop an alien invasion, failing to protect his family from the drones of Ultron or failing to rescue Scarlet Witch from the Avengers facility, he comes to terms with all of it before he enters the fray. And that’s part of why we like him so much, because he realizes that failure is not a weakness, just a delay.
One could say he and his team of ragtag superheroes “failed” at the end of Captain America: Civil War, but he doesn’t see it that way. At the end of the film. he sits in his jail cell, makes Tony feel bad (as he should) and carries on. It’s one failure, but there are plenty of wins where that came from.
5. TAG TEAM WITH ANT-MAN
Oh, you want specifics? Well, how about that scene from Captain America: Civil War where Renner’s Hawkeye shoots an exploding arrow with Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man strapped on? The arrow splits into multiple shards around Tony Stark, and while Iron Man tries to blast the handful of airborne pieces, Ant-Man makes his way inside Tony’s armor and starts yanking and wires and busting up circuits.
This picture perfect moment is actually lifted directly from the comics, and it served as direct fan service for moviegoers in the know. It also allows Cap’s remaining team to prep for its next action, leading to Giant-Man showdown and a reference to The Empire Strikes Back. Not many scenes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe take the cake from this one, but we can think of one that does.
4. THAT BLIND SHOT FROM THE AVENGERS
Blink and you’ll miss it. In 2012’s The Avengers, Hawkeye is shown fighting from rooftops in New York City, taking down one after another of Chitauri foot soldiers and speeders. At one point, Hawkeye is talking on the communications line with Iron Man and grabs an arrow, angles his arm backwards and shoots without looking. At that moment, there’s no enemy in sight, but a Chitauri speeder meets the end of the arrow in what almost seems like a totally predicted moment.
Sure, looking back it might not seem like much, but it shows just how skilled Hawkeye is with no mutations or inherent superpowers. He makes plenty of trick shots, sure, and was even tasked with possibly having to take Thor down once, but this scene will always serve as the moment Jeremy Renner truly became Hawkeye in the films.
3. HIS FRIENDSHIP WITH BLACK WIDOW
Hawkeye’s relationship with Black Widow is probably one of the strongest in the entire MCU, partially because of what we see on-screen, but even more so by the clues we’re given to their past. They’re introduced separately, but their stories are quickly intertwined in The Avengers. While their relationship could seem almost romantic — and we’re made aware they have at least a professional past together — we know they at least care about each other a lot. Widow’s arrow necklace says it all, these guys are best friends.
And in Age of Ultron and Civil War made this even more clear, as we find out that Black Widow is essentially an aunt to Hawkeye’s kids and knows his wife. The two trade friendly quips with each other in battle, and never seek to harm each other. This relationship makes their bond strong and their success in battle even stronger.
2. HE CAN HOLD HIS OWN WITH NO REAL SUPERPOWERS
Hawkeye is no slouch when it comes to going up against big bads. He’s launched exploding arrows at Loki, fought in close-combat with Black Panther and took down more than his fair share of Ultron drones. Hawkeye is just a guy — as mentioned before — with no inherent superpowers, no real armor, no enhanced durability or strength, but he has plenty to show for it.
It’s also made clear that no one doubts Hawkeye because of what some might see as a shortcoming. He’s one of the first calls when the superhero Civil War starts, and he’s been an integral role in everything from the Battle of New York to the Sokovia Accords. The Avengers know it and you should too: Don’t sleep on Hawkeye.
1. HE DOESN’T NEED HIS OWN MOVIE (BUT SHOULD GET ONE)
The best part about Hawkeye, and what might make him the ultimate hero of the MCU, is that he doesn’t need his own movie. Now, this doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve one (or at the very least a Netflix original series), but his character has not suffered because of it. Unlike The Hulk, another hero we really only see in crossover films, Hawkeye is fully-formed, his abilities are well-known and his ties to the other characters are evident.
Do we need a Hawkeye movie about him going on secret missions with Widow? No. Do we want one? Hell yes. But as long as Marvel continues to show care for the character and Jeremy Renner continues to knock it out of the park, fans of the Avenger should have nothing to worry about it — except for maybe when Thanos comes in 2018’s Infinity War.
Did we convince you that Hawkeye is the most crucial Avenger? Let us know in the comments section right now!
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