WARNING!!! SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
Avengers; Endgame is a 2019 superhero action film directed by Joe Russo and Anthony Russo. Starring an ensemble cast including, among others, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo, the plot revolves around the surviving Avengers reeling from the aftermath of the decimation of half the universe by Thanos and their quest to restore everything back via a ‘time heist’.
Normally, I’d be doing a wholesome review of this movie but this time it’s going to be different. This piece will be the first in a 6-part series whereby I’ll be highlighting the O.G six Avengers and their character arcs specifically in Avengers; Endgame given that the latter film is the last time we’ll see them fighting alongside each other. First up is the bow-wielding, crime-fighting Avenger who needs little to no introduction.
Clint Barton/Hawk-Eye is played by Jeremy Renner who I think has been incredible in this particular role in the M.C.U since his debut in 2012’s The Avengers; yes, I don’t count his appearance in the first Thor movie because he was barely in the film. His character, much like the next character I will be highlighting in the series, has no right to be fighting life-threatening battles against 6 foot plus Chitauri aliens possessing superior strength than him and armed with advanced weaponry. Clint even alludes to this logic in a particular Sokovia scene alongside Scarlet Witch in Age of Ultron.
Nonetheless, his character has the psychological drive and will-power to use his skill-set the best he can despite the odds stacked against him. Clint’s arc in Endgame was more emotional than in previous movies given the amount of loss he goes through with the death of his family as well as Romannof’s. In the first instance, the devastation of his family disappearing around him drives him to become a masterless samurai in Ronin, killing people left, right and center as though it was a sport. His grief ends up clouding his judgement and he justifies his actions on the fact that the people he is killing are killers as well; a principle that you don’t normally associate with a character of his stature.
Eventually, his long-time friend and partner Black Widow comes to his rescue, offering him the opportunity for a chance to regain what he lost through a theoretical ‘time heist’. Though reluctant at first, Clint opens up to the possibility of the impossible and even volunteers to be a ‘guinea pig’, successfully travelling back in time before the snap and returning with his daughter’s baseball glove. As a viewer, I could see how hopeful he was in that moment with that souvenir in his hand and that hope is what he takes with him alongside Romanoff to Vormir to retrieve the Soul Stone.
Despite the apparent stakes that present themselves in the desolate planet, his hope of having his family back and alive again transcended his own life hence his willingness to sacrifice himself for the greater good. Things don’t work out as he planned of course with Black Widow deciding to pay the ultimate price instead. Nevertheless, he doesn’t let his additional grief prevent him from accomplishing the goal he set out to achieve with the rest of his team-mates. He doesn’t waiver.
Even with the reversal of the snap’s devastation and the threat of ‘2014 Thanos’ looming, he protects Tony’s Infinity Gauntlet with his life knowing well enough that in spite of his possible death, someone else would carry on from where he left off; his family could still live on. Gladly he lives to see the threat of ‘2014 Thanos’ eliminated and he is re-united with his family once again.
For me, Hawk-Eye is a prime example of what a strong character is made out of; selflessness, determination, you name it. You can’t not like the character. That said, I really hope his character isn’t given as much prominence going forward in the M.C.U because Barton’s arc has a befitting ending in Endgame. I hope we’d just see a peaceful and fully retired Barton enjoying his life as a loving husband and father to his wife and kids respectively.