Inside Marvel’s big-screen debut: ‘Hawkeye’

Hawkeye’s comeback after a seven-year hiatus has been the biggest of Marvel’s biggest movies, and it has done even better than the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, outstripping them in box office revenue to boot. Like Captain America’s, Hawkeye’s solo appearance brought the city of Philadelphia to its feet, and in the process, laid the groundwork for a fresh take on the team on the big screen.

Matt Buckner and Brittney Williams adapted “The Death of Captain America” for Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, whom they collaborated with on “Mississippi Grind” and “Mississippi Damned.” For their first solo script, the two created a story that featured an actor who introduced this portion of the Marvel universe to new audiences — Jeremy Renner — and a world where Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, lives and works as a shadowy member of the Avengers. It was a story that set up this character’s journey of tragedy and redemption, and laid the foundation for a deeper relationship between the characters.

The movie retains the spirit of Tony Stark and Captain America, as well as the behind-the-scenes machinations and scheming of Steve Rogers’ secretary Peggy Carter. But Renner’s Hawkeye is now an experienced archer, already revered by Cap’s side, and a father to a young daughter. He’s also pushed himself to the edge, making risky decisions that turn the light out for a few weeks. Like Civil War, “Hawkeye” has real stakes for the characters, and touches upon real-world themes.

Photo: Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Hawkeye has only been around for a couple of years in this superhero universe, but he has had a ton of screentime and has demonstrated a few skill set. He can strike a deadly blow (watch how he puts an arrow through the side of a motorboat’s stern:) and use powerful in-gun communes. He’s already proven himself capable of being the MVP of a movie (a perfect ode to the greatest superhero of all time: Michael Keaton’s Batsky) and is a man who believes in other superheroes. If we’re seeing a new addition to the superhero world right now, he’s got a bright future ahead of him.

See more on the people behind ‘Hawkeye’ in a series of profiles by Richard Sandomir in The New York Times.

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