The last time Hawkeye picked up a bow, his “Avengers” archery technique was picked apart. Famously. Ever since this Wired review called him “The World’s Worst Archer,” Hawkeye has been the guy to ridicule when purists complain about bad Hollywood archers.
So we went to see “Avengers: Age of Ultron” to see if Hawkeye’s technique has improved. (Warning: Spoilers below. Don’t read unless you want to know what happens.)
The verdict? It’s a mixed bag on the technical front, but it’s all good for archery (I’m looking at you, archery police). The newest “Avengers” installment has enough bow-and-arrow scenes for archery to play a solid supporting role.
An added bonus: the character development of Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton. We see the other side of Hawkeye: father, husband, DIY guy. We see the barn at his country home, complete with an archery target for practice.
And it’s clear why Hawkeye would need practice: The opening scene of “Age of Ultron” has him shooting arrows, Matrix-style, walking up an invisible wall of thin air. It’s way cool to see archery portrayed that way, and so early in the film. In fact, Hawkeye gets more screen time than before, and that’s fantastic for archery.
As The Washington Post notes: “Now, the archery master on the team is always the biggest target in battle, because of the mere fact he has no special powers or suits – just a quiver, bow and arrows. There are no brain-control issues this time around, which gives viewers a chance to take a deeper look at Hawkeye. Whedon provides a more in-depth look at what makes Hawkeye tick. (A smart move, especially considering how popular Hawkeye, as an individual comic title, has been more recently.)”
So, what does Hawkeye do with the bow and arrows? He takes tons of cool shots. He’s shooting bad guys, crazed Terminator-style droids, but he’s also got a few classic “Hawkeye” maneuvers. We see the cringe-worthy sideways shot, the Lars Andersen-style rapid-fire shooting, and an anchor point that moves frequently.
Here’s the point: He’s shooting arrows, several times, in a much-anticipated movie that will be seen by millions of kids and adults, many of whom will be inspired to try archery. Yes, Hawkeye and his Hoyt Gamemaster make archery look badass.
Is he our next Katniss Everdeen? Will we have crazed legions of Hawkeye fans turning up at local archery stores? One thing’s certain: The “Avengers” focus on archery couldn’t come at a better time, because the world is about to turn its attention to Rio 2016, and archery’s biggest stage. Who knows how many Hawkeye fans will be watching?