By: John M Jerva
This has certainly been a comeback year for Marvel with 2020 being the calamity it was due to the pandemic. The studio has put the pedal to the metal this year with its newest crop of success stories like Black Widow, Shang-Chi and most recently The Eternals. There have also been the Disney Plus limited series triumphs such as Wandavision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki to satisfy genre fans who can’t get enough of the MCU.
Now we have our newest limited series in Hawkeye which sees Jeremy Renner return as everyone’s favorite Avengers archer. This one I have been waiting for as Clint Barton has always been one of my favorite characters and it’s nice to see him get his own solo gig.
This new series switches it up from the others as it mixes adrenaline, humor, heart and holiday cheer into its first two episodes that debuted today just in time for the holidays. It might be a little lighter than most but that’s what makes it so charming and fun while still staying true to the MCU and what it’s known for. It also serves up plot threads from the other phases of the cinematic universe while creating new ones and delivering the cinematic feel and fun of the films.
As the series opens up, we are introduced to a young Kate Bishop who unfortunately loses her dad during the battle of New York. During the altercation, however, Kate sees the heroics of Barton during the fight and thus begins her idolization of the Avenger.
Fast forward to present day and Kate is a 22 year old troublemaker who unfortunately gets kicked out of school when a prank goes severely wrong. Throughout the years, Kate has transformed herself into a fighting machine having studied Karate, Archery and sword fighting so she can be just like Barton. While spending time with her mother played by Vera Farmiga and her boyfriend Jack Duquesne (Tony Dalton) at a fundraiser, Kate stumbles upon Barton’s Ronin suit and when she puts it on, a criminal element known as the Tracksuit Mafia mistake her for the vigilante and this brings her in contact with Clint who is in New York City celebrating Christmas with his kids.
Barton realizes that he must take Kate under his wing and protect her while at the same time attempting to right the wrongs he did while being Ronin. Oh let’s not forget to mention the criminal conspiracy snd murder mystery that’s at play. This sets the stage for the rest of the series and hopefully it keeps up the energy and fun of these first two initial episodes.
Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop is a hit and she shows great comedic timing and most importantly chemistry with Renner who is less stoic and more fun than in previous Marvel outings. In terms of action, there is only one major scene to speak of while the rest of the running time in the first two episodes set up the rest of the series and establishes the relationship between Barton and Kate.
Setting the series during the Christmas holiday is also a win as it injects a much different atmosphere that we are used to. It’s sort of refreshing and even though some people have said that this series looks pointless, I beg to differ on a grand scale. There’s some great comedic scenes like Barton sitting in the audience with his kids for the musical based on Steve Rogers and The Avengers to seeing Clint interact with fans like one awkward scene in a men’s public restroom. These are only the first two hours of the show so you can bet the action will be ramped up considerably.
One aspect I’m curious to see is how Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova is utilized. We all know the stinger scene from Black Widow where Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Valentina Allegra de Fontaine visits Yelena at Natasha’s grave and proceeds to lie to her that Barton was responsible for her sister’s death. This will be a very intersecting and dynamic story arc for the series and I’m hoping it plays out here.
Also, comic book fans will know that the character of Jack Duquesne eventually turns out to be the character of The Swordsman. Knowing this is intriguing and I can’t wait to see what they do with the character.
All in all, this review is only on the first two episodes of the series but I love where it’s heading and once again, Marvel proceeds to do something different with a limited series. Each show has been its own creative source and Hawkeye hopefully will keep up the momentum in the final four episodes yet to air.
This series has it all in terms of action, family drama, heart and above all the Marvel Cinematic feel that we have grown to love. Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld work well with each other and their chemistry is undeniable. Hawkeye is one of my favorites and it’s great to see Renner take the spotlight after being more of a supporting player in the initial run of movies. Steinfeld is a joy as well and I’m eager to see where Kate Bishop goes in the future of the MCU. Here’s to the rest of the series delivering more and I’ll give my final thoughts when all is said and done. It’s definitely shaping up to be one of my favorites. Happy Holidays and Excelsior!!!