Marvel Cinematic Universe has gone from a mere idea to a living breathing universe that has expanded to various media. We have movies, comics, TV shows, and unlimited content coming out every day. It is a very good thing to get to explore a universe with this depth but the issue is the lore implications that we start speculating about almost immediately. The more content we get the more we get intrigued about the possibility of things that were previously unknown. Like when the first Avengers movie came out we could not help but wonder about the banter between Hawkeye and Natasha. They mentioned something about “Budapest” and our mind went on a wild ride of imagination. But after witnessing the Budapest story of Black Widow we feel kind of bad for Hawkeye.
The banter between Hawkeye and Natasha is a representation of their relationship. They are not friends or allies, rather they are soldiers who have faced a lot of battles side by side. First and foremost, they are comrades in arms who will do anything for the mission. This dynamic was first established in Avengers but soon became commonplace whenever these characters appeared together onscreen. We think the writers always wanted to explore their backstory but were unclear themselves what that would entail. Given the facts, we know after Black Widow we can safely say that Budapest was not a place that either of them would want to remember. Blinded by the desire for vengeance, the soldiers turned into executioners.
The Costly Mistake
After Black Widow defected to S.H.I.E.L.D. she immediately started planning her revenge. She wanted the Red Room gone, razed from existence. The plan was communicated to a comrade and they came up with the perfect way to execute it. Pun Intended. HawkEye and Balck Widow battled through legions to reach the gates of hell. And when they saw the depths to which it extends they decided to annihilate it once and for all. The wrath was directed at Dreykov, but an innocent paid the ultimate price. Unbeknownst to our heroes, DreyKov’s daughter was visiting the mad man. When Black widow and Hawkeye blew the compound to Kingdom Come to destroy the Red Room and kill DreyKov they also doomed his daughter.
The situation is quite messy if you ask me. What can one do but choose to deal with the pain of taking an innocent life? The true question is can you even begin to deal with such a thing, won’t your soul ache every day? It is quite perplexing to see MCU pursuing a story like this, but then again Marvel Studios tends to go for the low-hanging fruit. As far as the emotional weight of the moment? It certainly echos of sadness to an extent, but we did not know the character. Maybe that is the reason writers chose to sacrifice a child. The real question we have is How did all this affect Hawkeye’s psyche. While Black Widow has always talked about the “red” in her ledger I wonder how does Hawkeye not break down every time he thinks about Budapest.
The Mental Fortitude
There are two incidents in Avengers that I must re-iterate to illustrate my point. The first is Loki calling Natasha “Dreykov’s Daughter”. We finally understand the significance of the given name. We might not have known about Dreykov but Loki did. He was making a statement to strike the heart of Black Widow. He was not referencing the hero but Dreykov’s actual daughter to shake Natasha. She was, however, playing him from the very start. Natasha feigns indifference but he is haunted by her past, her constant need of balancing the “red” in her ledger has her battling alongside Gods. The other incident is one that has been transcribed above this paragraph. When the pair talk about Budapest, amidst the Chiaturi battle, Hawkeye is completely unfazed by the prospect.
He is engaged in fighting the aliens but it seems he has suppressed the guilt deep down and completely avoids the topic. This tracks if you the history of the character throughout the MCU, he never once mentions the place again. He also shows no overt signs of any guilt. This means either he has already accepted himself as a monster, or he does not want to deal with it at all. Both of these options are incredibly sad and concerning.
Do you feel bad about hawkeye too? Were you expecting more from the Budapest story of Black Widow? Let us know in the comments below and keep watching this space for everything Marvel, DC, and Hollywood.