HAWKEYE Review; "Top Tier Storytelling Delivered In The Mighty Marvel Manner And A Bold, Brilliant New Hero"

Marvel Studios' final Disney+ series of 2021 arrives tomorrow, and rest assured that you're in for something special with this action-packed adventure that finally brings Kate Bishop into the MCU...

After the pandemic forced Marvel Studios to take a year off in 2020 (another reason it was the longest year ever), the Marvel Cinematic Universe has returned with a vengeance in 2021. Hawkeye is the final TV series heading to Disney+ after WandaVision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Loki, and What If...?, and if the first two episodes are any indication, this might just be their best show to date. Picking up with Clint Barton two years after the events of Avengers: Endgame, we find the hero struggling with the aftermath of that movie and, more specifically, Natasha Romanoff’s death. Despite attempting to enjoy a quiet Christmas with his kids, Hawkeye soon finds himself pulled into an unexpected adventure involving mobsters, LARPing, and even another archer. 

Saturday Night Live’s Rhys Thomas is tasked with introducing Kate Bishop in the two-part premiere (which arrives on Disney+ tomorrow), and as unexpected a choice as he might seem to tell this story on the surface, [MINOR Spoiler Warning] an action-packed opening revisiting the events of The Avengers from Kate’s point of view immediately proves the filmmaker a perfect fit for this corner of the MCU. Without getting too spoilery, the opening two episodes - which both clock in around 45 minutes each - quickly establish the compelling, comedic dynamic between Clint and Kate, all while introducing a lot of exciting new characters. 

Tonally, Hawkeye feels extremely close to the better Marvel Television shows on Netflix (see: Daredevil and Jessica Jones), albeit with a cinematic polish and blockbuster-worthy action that ensures it never feels out of place with the sort of high-quality storytelling we've come to expect. Hawkeye's street-level shenanigans are a breath of fresh air, and taking Clint into the Big Apple for a battle with the Tracksuit Draculas instead of space aliens is both massively entertaining and a chance for the character to grow. His supporting role in the Avengers movies never really allowed for much in the way of development, robbing us of the chance to get to know the hero on more than a surface level. That changes here, though, and combined with the way the show builds towards the MCU's future, it feels like Hawkeye is the Marvel series fans have been waiting for. Simply put, the team behind this show has produced what's shaping up to be another must-see streaming event.

Jeremy Renner is on top form as Clint Barton and appears to be having a blast with this chance to better explore the character. Right now, his hearing loss does seem to be a little superficial, though we are expecting that to change as the series progresses. Renner portrays the heartbreak Clint endured when he lost Natasha on Vormir in a gutwrenching way, and his soulful, sincere performance means the actor is able to make us fully buy into the hero’s struggle to carry on as normal while dealing with the emotional toll that grief is taking on him. Vera Farmiga and Tony Dalton are every bit as brilliant as we’ve come to expect after seeing their past work on screen, with the latter, in particular, oozing charm and charisma in a way that makes Jack Duquesne one of the most intriguing, enjoyable characters to spend time with in the MCU for quite a while (well, since we met Sylvie in Loki, anyway). We’d also be remiss not to mention Ava Russo, who is able to deliver wonderful work as Clint’s witty, emotionally mature daughter. 

The big introduction here, of course, is Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has said in interviews that the actress didn’t need to audition for the role, and his faith in her has been rewarded tenfold. Whip-smart, tough as nails in her own right, and a character almost certainly destined to be the MCU’s greatest new (Young?) Avenger, Kate is a joy to spend time with. She comes into this series fully formed and instantly likeable, and Steinfeld’s pitch-perfect performance makes her presence on screen one it’s impossible not to fall in love with and immediately want to see more of. The actress is a special talent, and it feels like she was destined to bring Kate to life; we're anxious to continue getting to know her Kate, not to mention find out where she'll appear next. Prepare to meet your new favourite Avenger...and her dog.

Iron Man 3 was Marvel Studios’ first Christmas movie, but Hawkeye embraces the holidays in a way that gives this series a feel that's entirely its own. It certainly borrows a lot from Matt Fraction and David Aja’s memorable comic book run, though, and in that respect feels like one of the studio’s most accurate, direct adaptations to date. Fans are sure to appreciate this, while MCU die-hards will be grateful for Ant-Man franchise composer Christophe Beck's return to the MCU to put a suitably fun, catchy spin on the show’s score. Grounded, compelling, and hilarious, everything about this series feels new and fresh, but also never out of place with the world around it. This deep into the MCU’s massive slate of movies and already notably large slate of shows, that’s no easy feat, but Hawkeye successfully manages to show us sides to this world we didn’t know existed, all while setting the stage for the introduction of characters who could shake this franchise to its core. 

Marvel Studios is once again sleigh-in' it with Hawkeye, an unmissable Christmastime team-up bringing holiday cheer to the MCU with top tier storytelling delivered in the Mighty Marvel Manner and a bold, brilliant new hero in Hailee Steinfeld's Kate Bishop.


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