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I have always loved archers. There is something incredibly cool about a character being lethal with a ranged weapon, especially a bow. You have to admit that not only is inflicting major damage from a distance a lot cooler than up-close melee/unarmed combat (to me, at least), but wielding a bow and arrow in rapid instinctive traditional archery is certainly a lot more stylish than just pulling a trigger. More often than not, archers are my favourite characters in the fantasy/action genre. I guess it goes without saying that I am a major fan of Legolas, Hawkeye, Green Arrow and Katniss.
In recent times, two comic book archers have been receiving some major screen time; Marvel‘s Hawkeye in The Avengers and Thor, and DC’s Green Arrow in the CW television series Arrow. Having seen both characters being portrayed on-screen, comparisons between them were inevitable. And what did I think?
Purely in terms of how they have been presented on-screen… Hawkeye is significantly better than Green Arrow. Hands down.
Before the Oliver Queen fans get mad at me, allow me to set some things straight.
1. This comparison is purely based on the live action on-screen portrayals of Hawkeye and Green Arrow. All appearances by these characters in comic books and animations were not taken into account.
2. This is NOT a DC vs Marvel comparison. I don’t know why people do that. Why not just enjoy the best of what both have to offer? I personally do not prefer one over the other.
3. I am not being critical of the Green Arrow character and franchise. Like I said, he is one of my favourite comic book heroes. I am only being critical of how he was portrayed on-screen.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s explore why the on-screen Green Arrow does not even come close to the on-screen Hawkeye.
There is a stark difference in the quality and standard of the fight scenes in The Avengers and Arrow. I personally feel that the fight scenes in Arrow, well, suck. Big time. And this is the reason why Arrow‘s Green Arrow cannot come even remotely close to Hawkeye.
Take a look at this fight scene from Arrow
I am no archery expert, but Green Arrow’s form is not exactly impressive. It is clumsy, and the editing is clearly trying to cover it up. Kudos to the editors for doing that. But the result? We can barely see Green Arrow’s form. Plus, all the Arrow fight scenes I’ve seen (I’ve only seen a couple of episodes and YouTube clips) take place in dark and dim settings. Everything is a blur, and stylistic archery is nonexistent.
To be fair, the video clip I chose was what I thought to be one of the better fight scenes from Arrow. I’ve seen worse where the scene frequently changes before we can even see the hooded vigilante release the arrow.
And gosh, do I have a major problem with the sound effects in Arrow. The foley sounds like an old video game. There is this blurry, almost “squishy” sound in all the punches and archery shooting. What is that? Urgh. Terrible.
Now, compare the Green Arrow scene to this Hawkeye scene from The Avengers.
Hawkeye’s form is stylish, and this is emphasized in the bright, clear settings in which his fight scenes take place. The filmmakers were clearly not intending to hide any shortcomings in form; they made sure that Jeremy Renner showed off Hawkeye’s abilities, and that the audience would always be able to see it effortlessly.
The sound effects were tremendously better in The Avengers as well. I’m not expecting realistic sound effects (we all know that films need to exaggerate it in order to make the action sequences more impressive), but I would like them to be clear and to stylistically add to the character’s overall presentation.
As you can see, this comparison had nothing to do with the characters’ development or backstories. This was about the on-screen presentation of two well known comic book archers, and there was barely any competition. Barton beats Queen.