The fan reception of Hawkeye has always been interesting. Fans were disappointed with the lack of screen time he got during 2012’s The Avengers and wondered if he should have been featured at all. In connection with the movie, the character got himself a comic by Matt Fraction and David Aja that has been one of Marvel’s most critically acclaimed runs in recent memory. It’s to the point where fans demanded either a movie or a series for the characters. Admirers finally got their wish, with Disney+ finally putting forward a miniseries featuring our favorite Marvel archer.
Marvel’s Hawkeye is available to stream on Disney+.
Story: Back on the Ground
Marvel’s Hawkeye centers around Clint Barton enjoying some long overdue family time in New York City. While celebrating the holidays, a figure from his past as Ronin appears promoting him to action. He meets a young archer, Kate Bishop, who got herself into this mess. While investigating, Clinton gets roped into a more extensive criminal conspiracy that has deadly consequences. It’s refreshing to see in the MCU a story that’s street level. Hawkeye is the perfect character to tell this story even though he has fought the likes of Loki or Thanos.
Clint always felt like the everyman on the Avengers as he just had a bow and a quiver full of arrows. Always getting knocked down but standing right back up. To have him go up against street crime feels more like his element. These first two episodes present an intriguing mystery that has several dangling threads in the future. I love how they bring back Clint’s actions as Ronin during Avengers: Endgame. The point they effectively emphasized is how one man managed to dismantle many criminal organizations in his path. So when everyone thinks Ronin is back and you start to realize how much trouble Clint is in.
Characters & Performance: A Reluctant Duo
To say Hailee Steinfeld is excellent as Kate Bishop would be an understatement. When the cast announcement came out, it just made sense. Then finally, seeing her in action has been worth the wait. The highest compliment you can give to an actor portraying a character from the comics is how you can’t picture anyone else but that actor. Steinfeld is the ideal example of that as she’s perfect as Kate Bishop. She captures Bishop’s skill and wit but is still inexperienced in being a hero. Every time she’s on-screen, you can’t help but be super invested.
Her chemistry with Jeremy Renner sets a great dynamic as we advance. Kate is overeager but untrained and a massive fan of Hawkeye. Meanwhile, Clint has the same energy as Danny Glover from the Lethal Weapon series. He has no patience at all and just wants to be done with all of this. We sympathize with his goal of wrapping this up so he can spend time with his family for Christmas. The second episode is the real showcase of their relationship as they start to get to know each other. You can already see the path they’re going on towards the last episode, but it is still fun nevertheless.
We also get our first taste of the villains with the Tracksuit Mafia. They’re a gang of Russian mobsters that wear tracksuits and say bro a lot of the time. Some viewers might think they’re too goofy, but it hits that right angle. The Tracksuit Mafia feel exactly like how they were in Fraction’s and Aja’s run. The constant use of the word bro and some lines get a genuine laugh. However, the sheer number of them and how they’re everywhere makes for a fun threat to our two heroes.
Cinematography & Sound: It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
The clear advantage of embracing the holiday spirit in this show is the nostalgia it invokes. Looking at New York City during Christmas time feels so right. Having the Christmas lights and snow shine on the nightlife is beautiful. It taps into what tourists going to NYC imagine during the holidays. We even see multiple shots of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. It helps naturally make this feel like a show for the holidays.
There are even tiny snippets of the score that feature Christmas music. Unfortunately, that’s the only time that the score becomes noticeable. It’s surprising as it’s composed by Christophe Beck, who’s done some fantastic work in the MCU like WandaVision and the Ant-Man series. Unfortunately, nothing stands out from his score. The only thing that really stands out musically is Rogers the Musical. In the first act of episode one, Clint and his family attend the musical on Broadway. It’s delightfully cheesy and such an earworm.
Editing & Pacing: Transition from Films
The first two episodes feel like some scenes featured would have been a part of a scrapped Hawkeye movie. Take the opening of episode one with a young Kate witnessing the Battle of New York. It’s a spectacular start to this show as we fully get Kate’s drive to protect herself and her family. It is followed by a fantastic opening credits sequence that shows Kate’s training from that moment to the present day. Maybe because Hawkeye was supposed to be a film, it feels like it has a deeper connection to the MCU.
It doesn’t feel like there are any forced references, as everything feels natural. The extra scenes they added to fill up these episodes don’t feel like filler. It adds to the character’s development and the overall mystery. Releasing the first two episodes was a smart move as it feels interconnected to each other. If Disney+ had just released the first episode, I believe a good chunk of people would have been disappointed. These episodes feel like a part one and two of a giant episode. And if that means viewers can enjoy extra content during the Thanksgiving holiday, then the better.