Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Hawkeye and Vision: The Best and Worst Avengers

Infinity War comes out this month.

If you don't know what Infinity War is (perhaps you've been in a medically induced coma for the last ten years), Infinity War is the culmination of Marvel's last eighteen movies.


There's over twenty superheroes, including such favorites as Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor.

Today, I'd like to focus on two of the characters who get a lot of grief.  These characters are not Captain America, Iron Man, or Thor.  These characters are not the ones little kids play, unless they are the chubby kid forced to by the other kids who already took all the good characters.  These characters are not the ones who have much merchandise, and who will likely never have a standalone movie.

I'm talking, of course, about Vision and Hawkeye.


 Here they are fighting, probably over their single fan.

The thing is, I do not like to lump them together.  Because while they have something in common (being the honorary "worst avengers"), they could not be more different.

They historically fit somewhere between this guy and Major Maple Leaf in fan rankings.

Here's the fundamental difference between them.  Vision is the worst.  Hawkeye is the best.

Yeah, that's right.  I said Hawkeye is the best.  And I'm dedicating this blog post to explaining why.


As for Vision, there's a number of reasons he's not well-liked by the fans.  Despite his powers not being especially clearly defined in the movies (phase shifting, shapeshifting, regeneration, project solar rays from his forehead, telekinesis), he's universally agreed to be overpowered.  He also looks like a huge loser and has boring dialogue.  Also, he came out of one of Marvel's arguably least good movies, Age of Ultron.

But my issue with Vision isn't that he's overpowered or not funny or not interesting or any of that.

It's that I don't believe he should be an Avenger in the first place.  He's basically a piece of awful, awful equipment without discernible motivation for his actions.  The only meaningful things he's ever done are picking up Thor's hammer and crippling Rhodey.

Let's address the hammer thing, by the way.  The team trusts him because picking up the hammer is a sign of "worthiness."  However, that applies to sentient beings.

As Steve and Tony point out, you can theoretically put the hammer in an elevator and move it.  
Does this mean all elevators should be Avengers?

So this brings me to the crux of the matter.  Vision isn't a "person."  He's artificial intelligence, like Ultron.  The other Avengers have their motivations: morality, protecting the people they love, not getting killed, et cetera and so forth.  This is basic Game Theory.  Vision is not clearly motivated by a goddamn thing.  He doesn't need to eat or sleep.  He has no need for money.  Vision's motivations are known only to Vision and could change at the snap of a pair of fingers.  Nothing he does makes sense because there's really no reason for him to do anything or have strong opinions about anything.  If the world's destroyed, Vision's gonna be just fine.  Does he even have concepts of mortality or self-preservation?  WHO KNOWS!

At best, Vision is a piece of equipment personified by the Avengers (like Tony's robot, DUMM-E).

Who was more well-liked than Vision by audiences, and whose death in Iron Man 3 was not at all deserved, in my opinion.

Vision is a piece of equipment that permanently crippled and nearly killed one of the team members!

When a piece of equipment does something like that, you get that shit serviced.  I know Vision acted remorseful, but again, we have no idea if his version of "remorse" is at all what we understand it to be.

At the very least he should have been retired but instead they shove him into Avengers Tower with the other most unstable Avenger, Scarlet Witch, and the two of them cook together.  During this time he fails to understand non-objective concepts like "pinches" of ingredients.


Yeah, that's really a guy you want on your superhero team.

The problem with Vision was never that he was over-powered.  It's that we don't understand what the fuck his motivations are.  Why does Vision do anything?  We, the audience, can't relate to him.  Characters like Iron Man, Thor, and the Hulk are all over-powered in their own rights.  But they have weaknesses.  They have humanity.  And that's why we love them, and why we will never, ever be able to love the British-accented copy machine that is Vision.

Now.  Speaking of humans...

 

Hawkeye.  Absolutely under-rated and low-key my favorite Avenger after Iron Man.

Ironically, Marvel's marketing team has refused to show Hawkeye in any of the Infinity War promos, creating a sudden upswing in fans' love for him.

 There were 22 covers Infinity War covers and Hawkeye wasn't on any of them.  
This is fan-made.

But I've always loved Hawkeye, since Matt Fraction's 2012 version of Hawkeye.


The thing about Hawkeye is that, at first glance, he appears like the weakest link.


There have been no shortage of jokes at his expense.


This article is pretty funny as well.

Even Clint himself has made jokes about his seeming ineptitude.


But there's a lot more to MCU Clint than meets the eye.

These self-aware jokes bring me to my first of five points about why Hawkeye is so awesome:

UNLIKE THE OTHER AVENGERS, CLINT CARRIES NO BAGGAGE.

On a team of people battling PTSD in every direction, you know who we never see complain much?  Clint.  You've got Steve grappling with personal issues, Tony grappling with personal issues, Bruce and Natasha grappling with personal issues, and Thor grappling with personal issues.  Everyone has a problem with their dad or being mind-controlled or feeling guilty about killing people...

...and then there's Clint, the only apparently emotionally secure Avenger, showing up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to every battle without needing to have a monologue about World War II or a cave in Afghanistan or his anger issues or the Red Room or how his brother is a trickster god.

Nope, Clint clocks in and saves the drama for his mama.

In Captain America: Civil War, Clint refuses to sign the Sokovia Accords off-camera and retires quietly, while Steve grapples with the decision for half the movie, finally deciding that the best course of action is to have a huge fucking temper-tantrum that destabilizes half of Europe probably.


Clint joins Steve's side; later on, during the fight, he asks if he and Natasha are still friends, and another character observes that he's pulling punches.  That's the level of emotional competency we're dealing with here.

Clint is the only Avenger who doesn't need to have an emotional breakdown every movie.  Nope, when he's not avenging, he's going to his kids' band practice and catching up on Breaking Bad.

On a superhero team, you'd really hope everyone would have their shit together.  But only Clint does.  Everyone else is plagued by demons.  Clint?  Clint is plagued by choices when he goes down to Dunkin' Donuts and sees there are two new glazes.

UNLIKE THE OTHER AVENGERS, CLINT CAN FOLLOW ORDERS, LISTEN TO INSTRUCTIONS, AND CARRY OUT PLANS.

On a team of leaders, Clint has the unique position of "follower."  Considering these asshats are supposed to be working together, this is an underappreciated trait.  Thor, Tony, and Steve are all clearly desperate to be seen as the "team leader."

Not Clint.  You point, he shoots.  Clint is secure in his role as "the long-range weapons guy" and has never felt it necessary to get involved in a dick-measuring contest with the rest.

In Age of Ultron when Laura Barton says "I see those guys, those "gods"... I think they [need you]. They're gods, and they need someone to keep them down to Earth."  Putting aside the fact that I think Laura is trying to goad him into an early grave, she has a point.  A team can't be made up of 6 leaders.  You need some followers.  Clint is the glue holding them together; he's got a Coulson-esque role, one we rarely see appreciated except when the other Avengers literally acknowledge it.


UNLIKE THE OTHER AVENGERS, CLINT IS A GOOD AGENT.


Clint often gets described as "the bow and arrow guy."  And that's fine and dandy.  But he's so much more.

He's the guy Fury sent to kill Natasha, who was the KGB's best assassin.  Think about it.  Clint was the man for that job.

Clint's weapon of choice is the bow...


...but he's got a number of other incredible skills.  Hand-to-hand, for example.

We see Clint in Thor 1, where he is helping to guard the hammer and is poised to take a shot at Thor.  (He doesn't because he never gets the order; he confirms there is no order to shoot, more evidence of what a great agent he is.)  We see Clint early on in The Avengers, guarding the Tesseract.  We see Clint hanging out at SHIELD facilities regularly, doing his job.  He's a jack of all trades.  A guy with a whole host of useful spy skills.

Many of his skills are quiet, undercover-style ones,  none of the flashy pageantry of the other dudes.  What are those other dudes trying to prove?  Clint is the Avengers equivalent of a guy secure enough to drive a minivan or a Volkswagen bug.  Tony, on the other hand, is a guy driving a lifted truck with a pair of dangly nuts hanging off the back hitch.

UNLIKE THE OTHER AVENGERS, CLINT IS GODDAMN RELIABLE. 

Sometimes, Tony just... disappears.  (Remember Iron Man 3?)  And sometimes, the Hulk just... needs some time.

You know who shows up to every fucking battle?



That's right.  Clint.  Even the Battle of New York, which he had every reason to sit out because he'd been mind-raped by Loki like 24 hours earlier.  Clint didn't care.  Clint comes and does his job.  He doesn't have time for grand speeches or emotional breakdowns or subplots.  Clint is the only Avenger who goes "welp, time to get to work," and hitches up his bow and goes to get things taken care of.

CLINT IS ON PAR WITH LITERAL GODS.

Fury put together a team of remarkable people.  Geniuses.  Enhanced super-soldiers.  The best of the best.  And one of those people was Clint.

Clint may not be the most powerful Avenger.  But he's an Avenger.

This is like someone winning bronze in the Olympics.  There's a few people better than they are, but goddamn, they are still at the top.

This Tumblr post sums it up nicely:


 With Marvel's promo materials refusing to show any pictures of Clint, there have been some question as to whether or not he's going to show up at all.  (Spoiler: he is.)


I, for one, am delighted to see Clint finally getting some well-deserved attention.  His absence has created a lot of speculation among the fans and a sudden upswing in Hawkeye-related discussions.  Hawkeye's mysterious lack of promo pics is a mystery on par with "where is the final soul stone?"
Most fans believe it's in Wakanda.  It makes sense for the soul stone to be in a country so black that their superhero literally gets his powers from purple drank.

But me, I think its location is obvious.

The soul stone allows the user to control and manipulate souls.  Guess which Avenger seems most in control, has the purest soul, and has captured the hearts and minds of the fans without appearing in a single goddaamn promo?

...that's right, folks.  You heard it here first.

Hawkeye is the soul stone.


Hawkvengers: Clintfinity War will be released worldwide on April 27th.

1 comment:

  1. "It makes sense for the soul stone to be in a country so black that their superhero literally gets his powers from purple drank."

    Wow. I loled.

    ReplyDelete