One of the unspoken rules of pop culture is that, as something popular ages, more and more contrarians appear out of the woodwork to tell you how it actually wasn’t as good as the general public thought.  While I’m sometimes part of those discussions (especially as regards Frank Miller’s ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ and the dystopian antics of ‘Kingdom Come’) I find some amusement in recurring themes.  The latest argument I’ve encountered is that the Avengers movie suffered most because of the presence of the “unrealistic” character of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Barton, aka Hawkeye.  In a world of giants and monsters, where an Asgardian demigod teams up with a purple-skinned alien to devastate New York with an army of monsters, somehow thoughts of projectile weapons and correct aerodynamics are the deal-breaker.  While everybody has a right to voice their opinion, even when it’s nonsensical, Hawkeye’s presence in the movie is key to the plot, as he provides a down-to-earth way to stage the final battle, as well as some of the emotional drama at its core, and the technology of his arrows seems perfectly in synch with the helicarriers, holograms and battle armors of the REST of that world…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) still loves the goofy charm of the boxing glove arrow, which, by the way, doesn’t use an ACTUAL boxing glove, ya negative Nancies, asking: What’s the problem with Hawkeye?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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18 Comments

  1. Ricco
    July 1, 2013 at 11:56 am — Reply

    I don’t get the Hawkeye hate, the only difference between him and Black Widow is his cruel lack of boobs…

    Seriously you shouldn’t be able to say “I hate Hawkeye, he’s unrealistic!” and “I love Black Widow, she’s so cool!” in the same breath yet many do.

    They only thing I disliked about Hawkeye was we didn’t get enough of him to feel really bad about him getting brainwashed by Loki.

  2. Gary
    July 1, 2013 at 11:56 am — Reply

    It’s because the bow and arrow concept is too simple. Any knucklehead can understand it, so when someone starts screwing with the physics of it, everyone instantly recognizes it. Contra something like Iron Man’s armor — it’s something so complex it’s easier to handwave away.

  3. Ryan 'Halite' King
    July 1, 2013 at 11:57 am — Reply

    The problem is that it makes us humans realize that we will never be cool enough to be in the Avengers.

    If we trained day at night to be at the peak of physical condition and an expert marksman, our best hope would to be the guy shooting boxing gloves.

  4. July 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm — Reply

    I liked that issue of Avenging Spider-Man where he spoke about how he spent all, like all of his free time training, just to stay in shape to be able to compete with the Avengers.
    My only problem with him is the same problem I have with ALL costumed people whose powers involve projectiles – it just seems too convenient that whatever target they see, they just manage to shoot it, like all that requires for them to hit it is the mere knowledge the target exists. It’s more like telekinetic targeting than anything else.

    (also why hasn’t anyone ever snapped his bow in battle? Cap’s shield seems to get smashed more times than that thing)

  5. Dino
    July 1, 2013 at 1:03 pm — Reply

    The problem with Hawkguy being the down to earth one is that in and of it self it drops a cloud of suspicion on him whenever he does something “unrealistic”. If we were told he has magic arrows or a magic bow, or that he houses the spirit of Artemis, or some other thing, I would put little thought into the fact that he never lines a single one of his shots. But no, he’s just “good at archery”. This problem, however, does not ruin my enjoyment of the character. So, in short, there is nothing wrong with Hawkeye; nothing more wrong with him than Batman.

  6. July 1, 2013 at 1:26 pm — Reply

    Nothing; he is my favourite superhero. In the film, however, both he and BW suffered for their “normalcy”. I didn’t think Widow was used fully; the Bite was not highlighted and she relied on guns too much. To resolve that, in my world, both should have their special weapons highlighted, physically bulked up,and utilised almost exclusively. Oh, an give Hawk a breechclout, a mask and more purple.

    • Ian
      July 1, 2013 at 6:49 pm — Reply

      Agree with this. BW was horrible with the pistol instead of the Bite or some other specialized weapon.

      • aerohalen1
        July 2, 2013 at 8:25 am — Reply

        she had her stingers,dont you remember when she was on one of the aliens back and was using them?

        • July 2, 2013 at 12:26 pm — Reply

          Yes, and like I said not enough was made of them, they were not highlighted.

  7. July 1, 2013 at 3:31 pm — Reply

    Short answer: absolutely nothing. He’s my favorite Avenger.

    I think having him get brainwashed by Loki was actually a good thing – it showed off his skills without having him get lost in the shuffle. Sure, you still get lots of people (including SNL) saying “What good is an archer?” to which i’ll point out that, while under Loki’s control, Clint Barton nearly took down a freakin’ hellicarrier!

    I just hope we get to see more of the character’s personality in the sequel.

  8. Verse
    July 1, 2013 at 7:17 pm — Reply

    Boils down that he just seems out of place to a lot of people as an Avenger. My wife only knows comics based on the Movies. her first thought of Hawkeye was “So… he shoots Arrows? Like normal arrows?” When I mentioned he did have some sweet trick arrows that shock and drill and such she simply went “Oh.. But at the end of the day he is some guy that shoots arrows?” When put nexted to people like Captain America, Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man, he just looks blah to a lot of people. I asked her if he was in his own movie would it be ok. She thought that would be cool due to it being like a modern day Robin Hood. Take him away from the people with powers and she liked him. My guess is a lot of people have that issue.

  9. Frank
    July 1, 2013 at 8:19 pm — Reply

    I’m in the ‘Nothing’ category. He’s a cool character, played by an even cooler actor with a seeming supernatural ability to hit what he aims at. Besides, who needs a boxing glove arrow when he has the auto-select quiver.

    • Ricco
      July 1, 2013 at 9:35 pm — Reply

      Pretty sure, like 99.99%, that Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow was the one known for the boxing glove arrow not Hawkeye.

  10. Oldcomicfan
    July 1, 2013 at 10:46 pm — Reply

    My problem with Hawkeye (and Black Widow) is that they are second stringers with no powers, and we’re expected to believe that they are going to hold their own among gods, demigods, demons, giant space robot worms, etc. Generally speaking, I have the exact same problem when DC teams up Batman with Superman. I likes me some Batmanic, but they’ve either got to give Batman some super maguffin to carry around or make Supes the next best thing to a drooling idiot in order to give Bats something to do. They’d have done better to put Wolverine and Storm in there – or even Spiderman – than Hawkeye or Black Widow.

  11. July 2, 2013 at 4:07 am — Reply

    There is no problem with Hawkeye. I would love to see a Hawk Guy movie – looooove to.

  12. July 2, 2013 at 4:30 am — Reply

    I ran this “Hawkeye doesn’t fit” nonsense past a coworker, who loves the movies but has never read a comic. Hawkeye is her favorite because he is the most ordinary & is taking the most risk (she said she likes Black Widow for the same reasons). So even non-comics fans like him.

    And Fraction’s book kind of needs to be adapted into a movie or TV series, but I’m not sure how you’d translate the awesomeness of the last issue onto a TV screen.

  13. Dan
    July 2, 2013 at 6:25 am — Reply

    I honestly had more of a problem with black widow not actually being russian than hawkeye. Hawkeye (especially the current matt fraction incarnation) seems a snarkier, street level guy, akin to a daredevil (whom matthew has pointed out as not being a street level guy til frank miller’s run in the 80s), or luke cage, or dare i say it, spidey.

    It’s just that in a movie where robert anthony downey stark jr. took up 85% of the snarkiness, the movie hawkeye just kinda felt a little shoehorned in, and didnt really get a chance to shine, personality wise. I’d totally support a solo hawkeye movie though. Just get shane black to toss in as many one liners as possible, to make hawkeye seem more like a badass in the eyes of john and jane q. popcorn.

    • July 2, 2013 at 8:26 am — Reply

      Not being Russian, or not SOUNDING Russian?

      Scarlett Johansson has a super-blonde Swedish father, but her mother is actually descended from Eastern European/Russian stock…

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