Disney Plus has offered Marvel Studios the opportunity to explore a number of different genres from the fantastically experimental sitcom style of WandaVision, the geopolitical thriller of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, the otherworldly sci-fi mystery of Loki, and the animated multiverse adventure in What If…?
Now, Marvel, to its credit, seems to be going back to basics with a street level superhero series set around the Holidays in Hawkeye. After the high concept films and series that have been introduced in 2021 it feels like a breath of fresh air to have a series that is steeped in traditional MCU storytelling and style.
The clear standout in the first two episodes of Hawkeye is Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop. Although Jeremy Renner is able to add compelling layers and depth to Clint Barton as he deals with the trauma, losses, and grief, physically and emotionally, of being an Avenger, Kate Bishop steals the show.
Hailee Steinfeld perfectly balances the comedy, action, vulnerability, and confidence, whether or not it is warranted, in her performance. Her inextricable ability to show up at the wrong place at the wrong time and somehow dig herself into a deeper hole no matter the situation comes off as hilariously endearing.
THE DYNAMIC BETWEEN CLINT AND KATE SETS UP AN EXCITING MENTORSHIP IN HAWKEYE
The dynamic that has been set up between Renner and Steinfeld is one of the best aspects of the first two episodes. Steinfeld embodies the young archer who wants to follow in Barton’s footsteps and become a hero, while Renner brings an enthralling pathos to the reluctant mentor and veteran hero role. The relationship is tried and true, but manages to feel fresh and fun in this new MCU series. Kate’s genuine exuberance and humor bring out Clint’s quick wit and seriousness that comes from being a veteran Avenger.
The connection to Hawkeye that Kate feels, and the reason behind it is set up in an absolutely amazing opening sequence, is a defining moment for the young woman and the series as a whole. It does more for Clint’s character than any other MCU project proving the character’s importance to a team and an individual. The opening credits in the first episode are a clear homage to the Matt Fraction comics and cleverly reveals more about Bishop’s origins in a classic montage.
Renner’s motivation to spend the holidays with his family for the first time since Thanos’ attack brings the holiday theme of the series to prominence, through the use of plot. The holiday feel is clear throughout without feeling overwhelming. The classic storyline of a parent trying to get home to spend the holidays with their family works well here and adds to Clint’s everyman hero energy that is prominent throughout the first two episodes.
The first two episodes dig into the origins of Kate Bishop and set up a larger mystery that she decides to take on herself before Clint gets pulled in. Hawkeye includes some exciting action sequences for both Kate Bishop and Clint Barton. In true MCU fashion Hawkeye manages to infuse comedy into a number of these scenes as well as impressive choreography.
The tracksuit mafia are absolutely hilarious, but the hint at larger villains and a larger threat on the horizon set up some potentially intriguing mysteries to come. Kate’s relationship with her mother is interesting and her soon to be stepfather is suspicious from the start and seems primed to be a part of something larger in the series.
Hawkeye allows fans to get another glimpse into Clint Barton’s family life as he spends time with his children and converses with his wife. The way Hawkeye is tackling Clint’s hearing loss is extremely interesting and surprisingly authentic. The toll of fighting powered individuals for years is catching up to the once S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. The exploration of Clint’s trauma elevated Renner’s performance giving him a truly compelling storyline for the series.
How the series continues to explore Clint’s life outside of the Avengers, especially as a father and now mentor, is an interesting avenue. Although with only four episodes left it is a mystery how the series will be able to balance everything that the first third of the series introduces.
Hawkeye feels similar to some of the earlier MCU projects with the street level mystery and story while setting up introduction to the next generation of heroes of the MCU. The ties to the larger MCU are clear, but largely character driven which instantly makes these connections feel authentic. Hawkeye includes the highly anticipated introduction to Kate Bishop which along with the relationship set up between the two archers and Clint dealing with his trauma, is the highlight of the series.
The Holiday backdrop and classic make it home for Christmas motivation adds a fun element to the series that balances mystery, action, comedy, and a deeper story for each of the leads as they grapple with heroics. Hawkeye seems primed to be another hit for the MCU and brings back the smaller scale stories that the franchise was built on with the last of the original Avenger’s long awaited solo project.
The first two episodes of Hawkeye premiere on Disney Plus November 24, 2021. Are you excited for the new Hawkeye series? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media and check back with The Illuminerdi for more MCU and Hawkeye. Join The Illuminerdi Marvel Watch A Long on The Illuminerdi’s Twitch November 24, 2021 when Hawkeye premieres on Disney Plus.