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Hawkeye Is Smartly Reversing Endgame's Worst Ronin Mistake

Warning: Contains spoilers for Hawkeye episode 2.

Marvel’s Hawkeye TV series on Disney+ is already showing that it will fix an important Avengers: Endgame mistake related to Clint Barton’s (Jeremy Renner) role as Ronin. Clint Barton has often been seen as the second fiddle to many of the other Avengers. Hawkeye promises to more fully explore his character in a similar way to the efforts put forward by Black Widow in regards to Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson).

In Avengers: Endgame, the MCU revealed that Clint Barton, grief-stricken by the loss of his wife and children to Thanos’ snap, has become an international vigilante called Ronin. Aggrieved that criminals survived the snap when his family didn’t, Ronin travels the world working to right what he sees as an injustice. When Natasha Romanoff tracks him down, it is clear that he on some level hates what he has become. In Hawkeye it is clear that Ronin’s identity has not been publicly connected to Hawkeye himself and when Clint Barton sees the outfit once again he is clearly overcome with mixed feelings as he tries to retrieve it.

Related: Will Hawkeye Really Kill Clint Barton? Every Hint

Having killed an unknown number of people in an extrajudicial capacity across a five-year span, Avengers: Endgame seemed to almost forget that the story existed. Clint Barton is shown killing people, being brought back on board by Natasha, and then using the lives that he took as a reason why he should be the one to be sacrificed to retrieve the Soul Stone. However, at the end of the movie, it appears that he returns to civilian life. While the film had a lot to deal with, the implication that Clint Barton might not have psychological wounds or face any accountability for his actions felt too neat and it is important that Hawkeye is revisiting Ronin and addressing that issue.

Avengers: Endgame was careful to make it clear that the people that Ronin was killing were underworld criminals who had done reprehensible things. However, one of the large themes of the MCU has been the question of what degree of jurisdiction should superheroes have and his serving as a vigilante should never have given him the right to pass a judgment of execution on those criminals. While Hawkeye looks set to have him held accountable by the forces of the people that he killed, a more extensive conversation needs to be had about his actions with the other heroes. It is unclear though how many people truly know that Ronin was Clint Barton, given that Natasha Romanoff was the only one to see him in costume and she may have taken that secret to the grave.

Just as important as Clint Barton facing accountability for his actions as Ronin is a wider acknowledgment of how those actions might have affected him. While Hawkeye has killed people in battle before, the murder spree that Ronin went on during the blip stepped over a line and was significantly more brutal than anything he had done before. Hawkeye episodes 1 and 2 look to be presenting the psychological scars that he carries from his time as Ronin, as well as his struggles regarding the death of Natasha. By working with Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), Hawkeye is ready to not only give Clint Barton his own narrative but fully complete the important arcs related to Ronin and Natasha’s death.

Next: How Old Are Hawkeye's Children (Post-Endgame Plot Hole?)

Hawkeye airs new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+.

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