Clint Barton, or Hawkeye, probably isn’t one of the first names that would come to mind when someone asks you for your “top 5 Marvel heroes”. Regardless, the hero-turned-vigilante has been one of the internet’s sources of discourse this past week or so.
Based on his appearance in the trailer for Avengers: Endgame, some fans might have anticipated Clint’s role in taking down Thanos. After all, he was shown to have already taken on the new mantle of “Ronin” – haircut, tattoos, big new weapon and all.
Then came the sympathy. Most people would have gasped at the first scene of Endgame, on first watch: the scene of Clint’s entire family disappearing as a result of Thanos’ snap. It gives us backstory as to why, or how, he takes on his vigilante role of Ronin.
Based on this, you might wonder – why the discourse, then? As it would turn out, many have raised the (valid) point that Clint’s tragic backstory doesn’t quite explain the nature of his actions.
Before being located by Natasha, Clint is spoken of by the Avengers in ominous tones, described to leave behind gruesome murder scenes of criminals, such as Mexican drug dealers. We get to see that in action when he takes down members of the Japanese Yakuza, slitting the throat of their leader. In particular: the point of concern here is that all the criminals that he chooses to take down are people of colour, or minorities.
He faces no repercussions for his actions as the Avengers are quick to accept him back into their team. Ultimately, Endgame fails to explain how, or why, Clint still gets his happy ending, even though he was clearly set up to die.
Honestly, this Tweet summarises the situation quite nicely, in a comedic manner:
I personally agree with the discourse. While it’s true that Ronin was killing criminals, there was no reason to mutilate them. While it seems like typical vigilante behaviour, there’s no point in “making an example” of them, with half the world gone.
That, and writers, whether deliberately or not, made it seem as if he were specifically targeting criminals who were people of colour, which people were understandably upset about. Could the description not have been of him taking down some drug overlords in the U.S instead?
Regardless of this, and all the other issues that have sprung up in Endgame’s wake, the movie is what it is. Only time will tell if these issues will be resolved – and hopefully they do, with Disney+’s lineup of MCU-related TV series.