22

When Captain America and Banner first board SHIELD's Helicarrier, agent Romanoff (Black Widow) warns them to get inside because it would become 'hard to breath' while on deck. Later during the flight when Fury was talking with Loki about 'ants and boots' as Loki was locked in the carrier Hulk cage, Fury disclosed that the carrier was flying at 30,000 feet.

Knowing that between 8,000 and 12,000 feet, hypoxia causes the first signs of diminished performance and at 15,000 feet the hypoxic effect becomes increasingly apparent. At 20,000 feet, even the most hardy, durable and experienced pilots can scarcely be able to see, much less read the instruments or demonstrate complex motor skills. His or her hearing, perception, judgment, comprehension, and general mental and physical faculties are practically useless. The pilot would be on the verge of complete collapse and unconsciousness. An inexperienced person would be far more adversely affected by the hypoxic effects of high altitude.

How then can Hawkeye perform such feats of visual and mental acuity as well as complex fine motor skills after strenuous physical exertion at 30k feet? Granted, his team is shown to have been wearing small oxygen generators but Barton was mask-less. Does he have some heretofore unknown or extra powers beyond archery?

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    He can hold his breath for a really long time. – Xantec Mar 27 '13 at 18:58
15

In 1978, Reinhold Messner climbed Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen. So it might be possible for Hawkeye to function at 30k feet since, I'm certain, he's as physically fit as its possible for a normal human to be.

  • 1
    I think this is probably the case, although stumbling the last few feet up a mountain is different than hitting a target with a bow and arrow in heavy wind. I think it depends on how "nearly superhuman" you assume the not-quite-superhuman members of the Avengers to be. – PeterL Mar 27 '13 at 19:19
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    Hypoxia causes impairment of vision, lassitude, drowsiness, fatigue, headache, euphoria, and temporary psychological disturbance. From what I've been able to find out about Hawkeye, he possesses very keen eyesight and exceptional reflexes but the only trace of any superhuman type abilities besides his skill in archery and his eyesight is his ability to resist sonic attacks (derived from his near-deafness). Exceptional vision being the main physical attribute of an archer means that any Hypoxia caused vision impairment would be a serious problem. – Morgan Mar 28 '13 at 0:24
  • On the other hand, there's evidence that exceptional vision is not the main physical attribute of an archer. – kojiro Mar 28 '13 at 3:42
  • I wonder how well he does with areal, moving or unknown distance targets. – Morgan Mar 28 '13 at 3:57
  • Actually if the Movie Universe Hawkeye is like the Ultimate Hawkeye he does have some genetic modification to his visual ability, granting superhuman sight which could have negated the effects of Hypoxia on his eye sight. – Monty129 Mar 28 '13 at 11:26
14

He was still under Loki’s influence at the time, so perhaps that made him able to continue functioning despite the lack of oxygen (i.e. A Wizard Did It, I guess)?

  • 2
    That's always what I thought, that basically whatever effect the staff had on it's thrall was it put their body on auto-pilot. – Monty129 Mar 28 '13 at 11:21
1

Barton's newfound ability seems to be covered under the TV Tropes rules of engagement by combining;

'Required Secondary Powers' http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RequiredSecondaryPowers

and

'New Powers as the Plot Demands' http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NewPowersAsThePlotDemands

The story arc required the Helicarrier to be attacked by Barton and his team in order to disperse the Avengers, disrupt SHIELD and free Loki. But having (Renner's) face covered with a breathing mask/oxygen generator just wouldn't do so they ditched it and quietly gave him a new power hoping I wouldn't notice.

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