The fifth and probably last Marvel Studios Disney+ Hotstar series to arrive in 2021 is Hawkeye. So far, all the series released thus far has developed and expanded on existing Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) characters who have yet to receive their own movie. Scarlet Witch, Vision, Loki, Falcon, the Winter Soldier, and now, it’s Hawkeye’s turn. Does the series do justice to one of the MCU’s founding Avengers?
Disney gave us the privilege of watching the first two episodes of Hawkeye in advance, and it’s a great start. The first two episodes of the series already distinguish it from the other Marvel Studios series before it. The vibe and tone in Hawkeye feel grounded just like The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, but it’s a lot less serious and more light-hearted in comparison. It’s less experimental compared to the reality-bending in WandaVision and the time-travelling sci-fi wackiness in Loki.
That’s evident from a sequence where Clint infiltrates a LARP (live-action role-playing game) event. For a character who’s always been self-serious and no-nonsense even in the movies, it’s fun to see him let loose a little. This is clearly a way to make the character more likeable, considering that Hawkeye is likely low on anyone’s list of favourite Avengers.
There are essentially two protagonists; both Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld). It’s as much Kate’s series as it is Clint’s, but the first two episodes skewer towards Kate, who has more screentime as they introduce and establish her character for viewers. What distinguishes Hawkeye from the other Marvel Studios Disney+ series is its emphasis on the element of families and family issues.
Clint has his own family, with a wife and multiple kids. All they want is for dear old dad to spend time with them for Christmas but stuff gets in the way. As for Kate, she has to deal with her mother, Eleanor Bishop (Vera Farmiga), who is spending more time with her lover, Jack Duquesne (Tony Dalton). Some bad things happen that lead to Kate being on the run and things just get more chaotic from there. To say more would be spoiling.
Kate Bishop is a wonderful new addition to the MCU. She’s a legacy character and the second official one in the MCU after Teyonah Parris’ Monica Rambeau AKA Spectrum/Photon.
She’s bubbly and energetic, which provides a great contrast for a great dynamic against more serious and stoic Clint Barton. It’s too early to say much about her character. She starts off as a Hawkeye fangirl but there’s clearly more depth to her that can be seen even in these first two episodes.
I’ve seen too little of the supporting cast to say much about them, but I predict that a standout character will be Tony Dalton’s Jack Duquesne. He brings his usual magnetic charm to the role, just like his performance of Lalo Salamanca in the Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul. I won’t spoil who he is, but those who read the comics will probably already know what to expect from the character, but I’m sure there will be surprises in store for the MCU version.
Fans of the comics will also be happy to learn that elements from Matt Fraction and David Aja’s iconic Hawkeye run have been adapted into the series and they can be seen even in the first two episodes. A big part of that is the introduction of the Tracksuit Mafia as one of the antagonists in this series, and they’re just like in the comics, going “bro” all the time. That’s not all, as the spirit of the series also seems to have been inspired by those comics as well.
There will be six episodes of Hawkeye in its first season, so there is probably a lot more I haven’t seen. Still, the first two episodes are a great introduction for Kate Bishop’s entry into the MCU, and a way for Jeremy Renner to further develop and grow the character of Clint Barton. Hawkeye has always been overlooked in the movies, but here he has the chance to finally show his full potential. I look forward to the rest of the season.
Final(?) Score: 80/100
We received an early screener of Hawkeye courtesy of Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia. The first two episodes of Hawkeye are slated to premiere on 24th November 2021 on Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia.