The Marvel Cinematic Universe has an inherent campiness surrounding its characters, especially during its first phase. Within its TV-drame-esque colour grading and crude costumes, some of its characters serve to exacerbate that campiness. Take, for example, Hawkeye — a superhero who's powers are simply shooting arrows really good.
In the first few phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s obvious that no one knew what to do with Hawkeye. Just like Black Widow, the star archer was a backup for the ensemble, but wasn't interesting enough to lead his own story. Until now, that is.
Hawkeye finally made Clint Barton cool
Alongside the rest of the original Avengers, Clint Barton was always a bit of a joke. His martial arts wasn’t as good as Black Widow, he couldn't fly like Iron Man or Thor, he doesn't have the strength of Hulk or Captain America.
While the character was taken semi-seriously in the first Avengers movie, Clint Barton was immediately turned into comic relief in Age of Ultron. Since then, it’s been hard for Marvel to take the character seriously, so much so that he's mostly absent from Infinity War and Endgame.
However, with the release of Hawkeye's Disney+ show, Marvel has seemingly done the impossible: they've made him cool. Barton is finally ripped from his original outing’s edginess and latter appearances’ moodiness and becomes perfectly balanced. Instead of being completely comic relief or completely “too cool”, Barton is made believable, vulnerable and surprisingly awesome.
The perfect example of this is in Episode 3 of the series. In the episode, Clint Barton meets his match with Maya — aka Echo — a deaf martial artist who excels in CQB. While Barton can hold his own in close quarters, he's at an inherent disadvantage. However, once he gets access to his bow, Barton’s deadeye aim and gymnastics finally gives him an edge.
On the other hand, the Hawkeye show never overpowers the Avenger. On his own, he's fine, but Hawkeye’s expert use of nearby surroundings and tools — such as Inspector Gadget-style trick arrows — make the character shine for the first time.
Kate Bishop leads to a better Clint Barton
Kate Bishop’s introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe was a must for creating a successful Hawkeye show. Not only does the superhero’s future successor give Barton someone to play off, but it also allows the character to serve as a unique mentor.
Even in the show itself, Barton is shown as the underdog Avenger with a diehard section of fans, but Bishop’s inclusion gives us reason to trust his skills. For example, Kate Bishop is an expert archer, gymnast and martial artist just like Clint Barton. However, Barton is used to show just how far Kate Bishop can go when she's at the end of her journey.
One of the best scenes in the entirety of the show involves Hawkeye teaching Kate how to do a coin flick. It's another cheesy moment of effortless coolness for the aged archer, but one that's completely new to Kate Bishop. Of course, this technique comes back at the end of the series to show how far Kate Bishop has come.
Most importantly, Bishop gives Barton a reason to be better, a reason to show off. He's no longer just The Avengers’ backup, he's integral to the growth of the next generation of The Avengers. Not only is Hawkeye now cool, but he's also important.