Phase 4 Shows The Cost Of Being An Avenger The MCU Has Ignored

Phase 4 Shows The Cost Of Being An Avenger The MCU Has Ignored

After more than a decade, the MCU Phase 4 finally highlights the actual cost of being an Avenger — something never been discussed in depth before.

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Phase 4 Shows The Cost Of Being An Avenger The MCU Has Ignored

Warning: Contains spoilers for Hawkeye.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 4 is finally acknowledging what it entails to be an Avenger on the practical side of things, as seen especially in Hawkeye. Formed by SHIELD during the 2012 Chitauri Invasion, the Avengers consists of individuals boasting exceptional skills and powers. While the rest of the team possesses superhuman abilities — Captain America and Hulk are genetically modified heroes, Thor is a literal god, and Iron-Man has a superhero suit — Hawkeye and Black Widow’s only line of defense involve their fighting skills, decades of training, and spy equipment. So, as the MCU Phase 4 focuses on the otherwise sidelined characters, it is also showcasing the human side of being an Avenger.

Throughout the Infinity Saga, the MCU has chronicled epic battles of varying intensity, including the Attack on New York and the Battle of Earth. While some of them are large-scale face-offs between comic-book characters, most only focus on the central issue, like keeping the Infinity Gauntlet away from Thanos. These fights do not deal with their direct consequences, especially those concerning the physical well-being of the heroes. But with the franchise’s expansion comes a promising turn in how the Avengers are characterized.

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The MCU Phase 4 now shows the physical cost of being an Avenger. In his MCU show, Hawkeye is wearing hearing aids, which is suggested to be a result of the Avenger lifestyle and how it has physically affected him, with his body being repeatedly injured and exposed to danger, leaving him to accumulate both physical and mental trauma over the years. With the succeeding episodes, Clint finds himself dealing with street-level dangers alongside Kate Bishop, and the show really allots time for their recuperation. Clint teaches her how to dress wounds properly, and as per his wife Linda’s advice, he is seen icing himself in preparation for the next day’s agenda. The slow scene of Clint stiffly applying frozen items to his body to try and soothe it emphasizes the physical cost of his work in a way that previously hasn’t fully been explored within the MCU.

Although Hawkeye dwells on this side of MCU superheroes more, Black Widow – the first Phase 4 film – also touches on this. After the well-choreographed hand-to-hand combat between the long-lost adoptive siblings from the Black Widow program, Yelena Belova noticed the severely bruised torso of Natasha Romanoff. The two even had to restock supplies for their wounds, with Yelena doubting that “the god from space has to take an Ibuprofen after a fight”.

These glimpses into the Avengers’ downtime are vital in reminding viewers that not all of them are physically invincible. The one thing they had in common, however, is their desire to take action, save lives, and protect the world from local or even extraterrestrial threats. Even though they get beaten up, bruised, or mangled in the process, the Avengers are still willing to get up, brush themselves off, and do their job. While Marvel has always been applauded for their means of humanizing their characters, the MCU Phase 4’s slate takes it a step further by providing a different side of their heroes. This proves that they, too, suffer and struggle, but that does not make their heroism any less.

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