Of all the characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Clint Barton is one of the most mundane. He’s a regular human being without superpowers, whose primary skillset revolves around archery and ranged combat. Compared to heroes like Thor or Iron Man, he can look underpowered, weak, or even unnecessary.
However, across the five films and one TV miniseries Hawkeye has appeared in, the Avenger has achieved a great deal. Despite often having a smaller part compared to other characters, Clint Barton proves he’s one of the best. While his skills are certainly one of Hawkeye’s strengths, his significant achievements often connect with his desire to help others.
9 Motivating Wanda To Become An Avenger
After serving as Ultron’s henchman for a great deal of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff eventually defect from the villain rather than help him destroy the world. Allying with the Avengers, Pietro quickly settles into his superhero role, perfectly at home battling Ultron and aiding the evacuation. Wanda is much less sure of herself.
Clint Barton notices Wanda visibly panicking during the fight, putting herself and others at risk. Bringing her into a building, Clint tells her that she’s free to hide and stay safe during the battle, but she can become a true Avenger if she goes out and fights to kill. Hawkeye’s speech helps Wanda become much more capable, potentially tipping the balance of the close-fought battle in the Avengers’ favor.
8 Saving Kate Bishop From The Chitauri
As an archer left fighting an alien invasion, Clint Barton’s role in The Avengers’ Battle of New York is primarily to serve as a spotter, while picking off any Chitauri he can with his bow and arrow. Hawkeye achieves comparatively less than the other Avengers, but one seemingly minor skirmish has massive ramifications years down the line.
In his own corner of the fight, Clint Barton happens to save the life of a young Kate Bishop. When the Chitauri attack Kate’s penthouse, Clint destroys the flier preparing to shoot her and draws the fire of others. As a result, Kate dedicates her life to archery and martial arts, setting the stage for her own superheroics in Hawkeye.
7 Helping Tony Stark And Bruce Banner Create The Vision
The very beginning of Age of Ultron ‘s third act sees conflict between the Avengers as they fight over Tony’s plan to weaponize Ultron’s vibranium body. When Captain America and the Maximoffs ordered Tony Stark and Bruce Banner to shut down the project, things quickly got physical.
Bruce Banner restrains Wanda while Cap and Tony fight, but it’s Clint Barton who takes down Pietro. Shooting through the glass floor, he causes Pietro to fall through it, taking the speedster out of the fight. It’s this intervention that ensures the plan can go ahead, allowing Thor to create the Vision.
6 Recruiting Natasha Romanoff To SHIELD
Clint Barton and his best friend Natasha Romanoff spent a long time with similar but diametrically-opposed backgrounds. Clint was an agent of SHIELD agent, and Natasha was turned into an assassin for the Red Room. When their professions caused them to cross paths, Barton gave Romanoff the choice to defect to SHIELD rather than killing her.
Aside from averting the untold damage Natasha Romanoff could’ve caused as an assassin, this decision has massive ramifications for the MCU as a whole. Sparing Romanoff allowed the Avengers to form, HYDRA to be brought down, and ultimately for the Soul Stone to be recovered. Clint himself considered it to be one of his best accomplishments – the greatest shot he never took.
5 Taking On The Vision To Bring Wanda On-Board
One of the most mismatched pairings in the MCU is the nigh-invincible Vision against the human Clint Barton, but ultimately the latter comes out on top. In Captain America: Civil War, Barton arrives at the Avengers Compound to recruit Wanda to Steve’s team. However, the Vision is keeping guard over her.
Clint gets the drop on Vision with shock arrows, but loses when they fight hand-to-hand. However, Hawkeye’s true plan is to have Wanda overpower Vision for him. Although disaster comes from the choice to pick sides and fight in Germany, Clint shows off his best traits – his ability to plan, his bravery, and his understanding of others.
4 Protecting The Key From Ultron’s Army
Midway through the Battle for Sokovia, the focus shifts from evacuating civilians aboard the SHIELD helicarrier to protecting the Vibranium Key keeping the city aloft. Even though the city isn’t high enough to cause an extinction event, the city collapse could still cause untold devastation – and kill plenty in Sokovia.
Clint Barton is one of the combined team members defending the Key at a critical point in the fight. Given the fight’s range and his status as a human, Hawkeye likely achieves less his teammates. In the grand scheme of things, however, the incredibly close and frantic nature of the battle shows that Clint’s absence could’ve resulted in disaster.
3 Defeating The Tracksuit Mafia
Kingpin’s main thugs in Hawkeye are the Tracksuit Mafia. These street-level soldiers become a recurring threat to Kate Bishop and Clint Barton as they attempt to deal with the watch, secure the Ronin Suit, and solve the mystery of Armand III’s murder. Although comedic and light-hearted, the Tracksuits are a threat in large numbers, and send the heroes running several times.
In the final episode, however, both Hawkeyes take their stand and battle the entire Tracksuit Mafia. Making full use of their skills and Trick Arrows, Kate and Clint utterly destroy the assembled thugs. Although Clint has fought bigger and worse foes, striking a major blow to the Kingpin is nonetheless a significant accomplishment.
2 Keeping The Gauntlet Away From Thanos’ Forces
When the alternate Thanos attacks the Earth in Avengers: Endgame, the Avengers are left scattered and confused. The only one who ends up anywhere near the Infinity Gauntlet is Hawkeye, who’s left under the Compound with it. Clint’s not alone, however, as Thanos sends dozens of his Outriders to retrieve the Infinity Stones.
Clint Barton is no match for the Outriders in a straight fight, so he flees through the tunnels. Hawkeye evens the odds with his quick wits and his gadgets, using explosive arrows and his grappling hook to heavily thin their numbers. Escaping the Outriders stops Thanos from getting his hands on the Gauntlet, and sets in motion the events that lead to the Titan’s defeat.
1 Becoming A Mentor To Kate Bishop
The crux of the Hawkeye series is the relationship between Clint Barton and Kate Bishop. Kate idolizes Clint from childhood, but meets him at a particularly tired and jaded time of his life. Because Kate’s actions have meant Clint can’t be with his family in the run-up to Christmas, he is initially short and curt with her, and has no desire to become a mentor.
Over the course of the series, however, Clint warms up to Kate. They come to be friends, allies, and form a good student-mentor relationship. Clint is instrumental in helping Kate overcome some of her rashness and immaturity, helping mold her into the hero she becomes by the end of the series – with potential impacts across the wider MCU.
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