If you don’t love how aggressively wholesome Hawkeye tries to be, then perhaps Hawkeye is not for you. The Marvel Christmas present has wrapped up its six-episode run, with an explosive and charming season finale, “So This Is Christmas?” Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton doesn’t go full-on Die Hard, but he does turn to the camera at some point and say “this is some Christmas.” Had Renner said “I’m getting too old for this sh*t” it would have been dumb and perfect all at the same time. No, Hawkeye didn’t end with some kind of massive Marvel crossover, it ended on its own terms, and that includes its show-stopping post-credits scene.
Here’s why that post-credits scene was amazing, why it will probably make some hardcore Marvel fans angry, and why it’s the perfect ending for Hawkeye. Mild spoilers for the Hawkeye Season finale.
Unlike Loki‘s cliffhanger or WandaVision’s suggestion that Scarlet Witch will continue to toss some spells around in future films, the ending of Hawkeye actually ended. Sure, we know Maya’s (Alaqua Cox) story will continue in an upcoming show called Echo, and Kingpin is certainly back in the MCU fold, which could climate in a full-on renaissance of Daredevil and the rest of the Defenders. (Krysten Ritter even told Fatherly earlier this year that she’s ready to return as Jessica Jones if called!)
But enough about all that. Hawkeye didn’t end with some kind of huge suggestion about future crossovers. As many (wrongly) predicted, the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home were not referenced. Hawkeye ended with the story of the two Hawkeyes; Clint Barton and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) heading to Clint’s house for Christmas after defeating Kingpin and Kate’s mom. We found out the person who owned the watch was Clint’s wife Laura (Linda Edna Cardellini) who, as it turns out, was someone who used to work for SHIELD. Maya is headed off on her own, and everything is fine, for now. Marvel mischief managed!
So, this means that Marvel could have upended our good feelings about the warm-and-fuzzing conclusion by slapping us with some dark and brooding post-credits teases the rise of Red Skull or an evil version of Dr. Strange or some other comic-booky twist. Instead, they give us a complete version of a song from the fictional stage performance of Rogers: The Musical.
Is this silly? Yes. Is it totally absurd and borderline pointless? Yes. Is it weird that Hawkeye ends with a fake-Broadway musical song based on Steve Rogers’ catchphrase, “I Can Do This All Day?” Yep. It’s very weird. It’s also utterly delightful and super smart.
Since 2008, Marvel post-credits scenes have become a kind of anti-climax, often robbing each movie and TV series of their own weight, suggesting that the story will continue, relentlessly, even if you don’t really want it to. At this point, some of these post-credits scenes also require the audience to have some basic grasp of various copyright holders to different superheroes IRL. In this way, the No Way Home post-credits scene is maddening and the Hawkeye post-credits is amazing. Ending with Rogers: The Musical might not make hardcore fans happy, but whatever. This post-credits scene wasn’t about that.
Some might say they want Rogers: The Musical to become a real musical in real life. While that’s a funny idea, that’s also not why the “I Can Do This All Day” scene is so great. It’s great because it swims in the imagery and silliness of the idea of The Avengers minus some of the faux-heaviness the MCU sometimes burdens itself with. In other words, Hawkeye was more fun than it wasn’t, and despite some dark themes (criminal mothers, murdered fathers, oh my!) it ended up sticking the landing firmly in the world of escapism.
If you’re watching Hawkeye with your older kids, the post-credits scene is the perfect gift for a satisfying and self-contained series. The adventure doesn’t have to continue in movie theaters or Disney+. It can continue in the imagination of fans and children everywhere.