An appreciation for the Hawkeye Disney+ series:
So, one of the reasons why I’m making this post is to address a couple of issues that people have with the upcoming Hawkeye series. I know that MCU Hawkeye is a controversial point in the fandom, but I do feel a lot of the discourse is...biased? Done with bad faith arguments? Anyways, I’m not trying to change anyone’s opinions about the show. I just wanted to get my own thoughts out about what (I believe) the series is trying to accomplish and my appreciation of those efforts.
First off, something that I feel the entire fandom should appreciate regardless of their opinion about MCU Hawkeye is that what the show is trying to accomplish is damn near impossible. The series is being hyped up as being influenced by the Matt Fraction run in the comics, which makes sense since that’s arguably the most beloved Hawkeye title. However, MCU Clint isn’t 616 Clint, not by a longshot.
For those who don’t know, Joss Whedon used the Ultimate Marvel version of Hawkeye when he was brought into the MCU. In fact, Ultimate Marvel in general was what Joss used as his primary inspiration. Here’s a direct quote from him:
“It's my feeling that Ultimates brought Marvel into the modern age in a way no other book did."
This is also why Nick Fury is Samuel L. Jackson instead of being a white guy and why Tony Stark’s personality is the way it is.
So if you want someone to blame for why MCU Clint turned out the way he did, you can direct your complaints to Whedon. It’s the Ultimate version of Clint who is the one with a family, is a moody loner, was never deaf, and is a deranged murderer who straight up killed Ultimate Natasha Romanoff (to be fair, this version of Nat deserved it).
Also, even without the Ultimate inspiration, Whedon’s still the one who didn’t really do anything with Clint’s character for two movies. Heck, even Jeremy Renner got frustrated with how underused his character was. In fact, he even tried to convince Marvel to kill him off in the first Avengers movie since it seemed like Whedon wasn’t interested in exploring his character. Here’s a quote from Renner talking about his frustrations with how his character was being treated:
“I never really told anybody this but in the first Avengers… I was just getting to know who Hawkeye was, and then zap, I go round like a zombie, I’m like Loki’s minion. And I’m still not even sure who Hawkeye was at that point. So I’m a little frustrated, because I was so excited to figure out who Hawkeye was. I just had a heart attack in every scene – I’d just be walking with… Scarlett Johansson, and just like be ugh [clutching my chest]. And they said, ‘What are you doing man?’ I’m giving you an option, if you just want to kick me out of this movie. Just you know, at any given moment, if you wanna kill me off, daddy’s gonna be having a heart attack.”
Anyways, let’s fast forward to present day. So, we have 9 years of MCU Clint, who is basically an adaptation of Ultimate Clint, the version who is not a fan favorite. Now here comes the Hawkeye miniseries, which Kevin Feige and the writers decided will be primarily based on the Matt Fraction run.
Do you see the problem here?
This is where the writers’ impossible task comes in. You can’t just turn Ultimate Clint into 616/Matt Fraction Clint, they’re two distinct characters in their own right. However, that’s what the fandom wants since they want the beloved version of Hawkeye, so the writers don’t really have a choice in the matter here.
And that’s why I really appreciate what the series is doing. Based on the trailer and released information, it’s obvious that Clint is still Ultimate Clint. He’s still a dad, he’s still super serious, he’s still a bit of a loner, and he’s still not this womanizing idiot who is an absolute mess. But you can tell the writers really tried to come up with a compromise. Instead of a full-on adaptation, they tried their best to fuse Ultimate Clint with elements of Matt Fraction Clint in order to make a series that has the tone of the Fraction run, while staying true to the MCU’s version.
So, what do you get when you mix 616 Messy Clint with Ultimate Serious Clint? You get...grumpy, tired dad who is sick of having to deal with supervillains and just wants to rest. They essentially turned Clint into John McClane from “Die Hard” and Roger Murtaugh from “Lethal Weapon”.
Obviously, this is not 616 Clint. But considering what the writers had to work with, this is the closest approximation they could get to 616 Clint. And, speaking as a writer and former artistic director, that’s a difficult feat. Because there’s always that part of you that wants to just ignore the aspects of a character that the audience doesn’t like. In Hawkeye’s case, the writers stayed true to the MCU’s version while also doing their best to incorporate elements from the fan favorite version of Clint. Even if you don’t like Hawkeye, you gotta give the writers props for that.
Anyways, I’ll end this here. I had a section dedicated to Kate Bishop and how the show is approaching her character, but I’ll save that write-up for another time.
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