Jeremy Renner’s warrior plays a critical and heartbreaking role in Avengers: Endgame. And he also gets a startling new look. Let’s explore further …
Clint Barton opens Avengers: Endgame with a warm scene of family bliss. He’s teaching his tween daughter Lila how to hit a bullseye with an arrow, and she’s nailing it. Off in the distance, his wife Laura (Linda Cardellini) picnics with their two sons.
In the blink of an eye, his daughter vanishes. Barton calls out to his wife, but no one answers.
His whole family, the thing that drives Hawkeye to be a protector, has disappeared in The Snap — and he could do nothing to stop it.
Barton gets trapped in the “anger” stage of grief, and five years later he is off the grid as the vigilante Ronin, dispatching criminals as judge, jury, and executioner. It’s grim work, and it’s corroding his soul worse than anything else he’s ever done.
You can read the changes to his personality on the surface. The nurturing father look has given way to a mohawked punk vibe that makes him look like the survivor of an apocalypse. He has a full sleeve tattoo on his left arm, topped by the leering face of a skull.
Hawkeye is marking people for death, but he’s also marking himself.
When he is finally tracked down by Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, he talks as if he has become one of the bad guys. It’s the opposite of her journey from coldblooded assassin to hero and defender of the right.
“”Natasha, you know what I’ve done. You know what I’ve become,” he tells her
“I don’t judge people on their worst mistakes,” she answers.
“Maybe you should.”
She reminds him of how he reached out to spare her once upon a time. “You didn’t.”
After their knock-down, drag-out on the planet Voromir to determine who would sacrifice themselves so the other could claim the Soul Stone, Clint is plagued with regret. Did he fight hard enough to go over the edge? Was a part of him holding back because he knew he had a family waiting for him if the un-Snapping was successful?
Hawkeye wants to use the new tech gauntlet and recovered Infinity Stones to at least try — and The Hulk does, but it doesn’t work.
The trade is irreversible. Black Widow is gone.
In the epic final battle, Hawkeye manages to carry the fate of the world in his hands as he flees with the Infinity Gauntlet, like a football rushing play through the ferocious army of Outriders that Thanos has unleashed on the destroyed Avengers HQ.
He succeeds, passing the “ball” off to Black Panther and others, until Tony Stark finally seizes the gems from Thanos’ grasp and ends the threat once and for all. He pays the ultimate price for that, just as Natasha Romanoff did.
Hawkeye gets a loving reunion with his wife and children. The phone call he gets from Laura after Hulk’s unSnappening is a weighty emotional moment as is, but when he can finally see them again, touch them again … it carries the weight of those friends he knows are still gone forever.
“I wish there was a way I could let her know that we won,” Hawkeye tells Wanda Maximoff, The Scarlet Witch, at Stark’s memorial. “That we did it.”
“She knows,” says Wanda, who is still grieving the death of The Vision. “They both do.”
It’s not enough to fill the void now left in their lives. But it’s better than nothing at all.