Hawkeye: Season 1 Episode 1 & 2 REVIEW
Over the years, many negative adjectives have been hurled at Hawkeye’s name. I will not say anything in deference to the character’s seniority (as it is in the Indian way). Understandably, Hawkeye has a smaller fanbase than the other Avengers. He is the only member of the Original Six Avengers Initiative founding members who isn’t an actual God, a literal Superhuman, a Jekyll and Hyde rage monster, or a trained assassin wearing a skin-tight leather suit(TM), and he isn’t a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist(TM).
He doesn’t have romantic stories, superpowered suits, or witty banter. He has been a frequent collaborator with S.H.I.E.L.D. His presence onscreen has been mostly limited to moments such as Avengers: Age of Ultron where, as he stated, “the city’s flying, we are fighting an army of robotics, and I have a bow & arrow.” It doesn’t make sense.
Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye finally has some breathing space and can show his unique, lovable qualities. He is still a grumpy dad, even with the explosion-induced hearing loss. So the show sends Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop on the show to shine.
Based loosely on comics by Matt Fraction, David Aja, and David Aja, the plot follows the adventures of Kate and Clint as they unleash their reluctant (Clint), bumbling (Kate) but dynamic on the streets. Clint, who has lost his children to the Blip, is trying to make the most of his second chance to be with them by taking them to New York for Christmas. Although we were able to see her in this episode, Linda Cardellini plays Laura Barton.
Kate, a 22-year-old rich Manhattan kid, is now a spunky, intelligent, and successful archer. Hawkeye saved her during the Battle of New York. Like all Marvel characters, Kate lost her father when she was young and has since vowed to protect her mother and herself. Clint meets her when she accidentally gets into a mix-up with Ronin, a grief-fueled vigilante who targeted organized crime during the five years after his family disappeared. They must now bring down (multiple) bad guys to allow Clint to return home for Christmas.
This is all I have to say about Hawkeye’s plot. However, it is not the most important element of Hawkeye. We still have two-thirds of the series to go, so there are many inconsistencies in plot points and dialogue. One example is the time Kate gives Clint a lampshade-laden lecture about being more famous. In the first two episodes of the show, Clint being recognized in theatres and receives free meals. He also gets asked for selfies during the personal business. You can also see the CGI in places like Kate’s house that is ruined at the beginning. It makes you wonder how much Marvel put into this project.
However, it’s not all bad. Clint’s most touching scenes have been those where he was the father-adjacent to Wanda Maximoff. He does a similar job here. It is a pleasure to see his chemistry with Hailee Sternfeld. Together, they breathe life into the stereotype of the mentor-enthusiastic mentoree.
Hailee Steinfeld is Hailee Steinfeld, as usual. She brings her likable energy and enthusiasm to the role. Tony Dalton (Better Call Saul), as Jack Dusquenes, rounds out the Christmas theme with the grouchiest smiles and the shadiest motives. Vera Farmiga’s Eleanor Bishop is a criminally underused character in the first two episodes. Christophe Beck’s cheerful score amplifies the Christmassy feeling of the show. I also noticed that the opening notes of this theme reminded me of Narnia’s theme, which has a bow-toting young girl as the main character.
The show’s positive point is that there have been no signs of imminent world destruction, which is a refreshing departure from the MCU. It is refreshing to see that Hawkeye’s bad guys are people who call each other every three minutes.
We have four more episodes left to watch Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova from Black Widow. Also, there will be more of Alaqua’s Echo. There are tie-ins between these characters and future Marvel projects, so it will be fascinating to see their roles. I would like to see more information about Clint’s time as Ronin. This has been a mystery until now, with flashbacks only from Avengers: Endgame.
The challenge for Hawkeye is to prove its necessity since Marvel fatigue has become a very real phenomenon. Marvel released only three major projects per year up to 2019. MCU fans have been bombarded with content since 2020’s one-year break. We would have nine Marvel projects by December 2021, including three T.V. series and four feature films. Despite the sheer volume of stories, not many storylines have had meaningful crossovers or directly impacted the overall MCU storyline.
The show’s ability to maintain the lighthearted, low-stakes tone is established in its first episode is another potential risk. The show has established four main storylines in its first episode. However, if it continues to pursue them all, it risks repeating The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’s mistakes. This could lead to a rambling finale that leaves little to no satisfaction.
I am cautiously optimistic after the first two episodes. Clint and Kate are a charming couple. The low-stakes premise has been entertaining. We hope Hawkeye can continue the momentum until Christmas.