‘Hawkeye’ Season 1 Review

To expand upon my quick thoughts in the video, Hawkeye is the fifth of many Disney+ limited series and shows set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Meaning it shares continuity with the films of the franchise. The show is produced by Kevin Feige with Jonathan Igla serving as head writer and Rhys Thomas directing episodes alongside Bert & Bertie. The series stars Jeremy Renner, Hailee Steinfeld, Vera Farmiga, Alaqua Cox, Tony Dalton, Fra Fee, Linda Cardellini, Florence Pugh, and Vincent D’Onofrio. The story takes place one year after the events of Avengers: Endgame and follows Clint Barton as he partners with unlikely ally and sidekick, Kate Bishop to retrieve a watch stolen by the tracksuit mafia from a black-market auction. Clint and Kate soon cross paths Maya Lopez, who has ties to Clint’s past as Ronin, Yelena Belova, a Black Widow assassin who believes Clint killed her sister, and Wilson Fisk, a crime lord in New York with ties to Kate’s mother, leaving the duo to resolve this mess for Clint to get back to his family in time for Christmas.

The best thing about Hawkeye is that it is more of a street-level superhero show than the Disney+ Marvel series that came before it. The stakes are low making it the first Disney+ series to feel similar to the Netflix series. The action scenes feel like they are ripped right from the source material. Clint isn’t trying to save the world. He’s just trying to get home to see his family for Christmas. What helps Hawkeye feel more like a Netflix series is the return of Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk/Kingpin. Feige has not revealed whether the series shares continuity with the Daredevil or if those series take place in a different timeline but it is great to finally have confirmation that Fisk is in the MCU. Marvel also brought back Charlie Cox’s Daredevil in Spider-Man: No Way Home so hopefully, we see those characters cross paths soon.

Now that we are further into Phase Four, viewers no longer need to ask why other heroes aren’t showing up to help Clint. A lot of things are happening in the MCU and other heroes could be tied up with their own problems. Also with this show being more street level, it’s obvious Clint doesn’t need help from any other heroes. Although, Clint using items such as the Pym tech giant arrow should draw the attention of some hero to show up. Even if only for a small cameo. (Looking at you Spider-Man)

D’Onofrio looks bigger as Fisk on Hawkeye than he did on Daredevil. It’s not that the actor has gotten bigger but more so the character is shot from lower angles and placed with smaller actors to make it look as if he’s taking up more space. Fisk is also less intimidating and somewhat stronger. He is shown to survive a small explosion and rip a car door off with ease. His mannerisms, facial expressions, and the cadence of his voice are the same as before. Fisk is not shown killing anyone which can be tied to the fact that all content on Disney+ is at most TV-14 while Netflix series are typically TV-MA. So far nothing Wilson Fisk has done contradicts the events of Daredevil but we will see what happens with this character in his next few appearances.

Jeremy Renner is great as Clint Barton/Hawkeye. This feels like his best role as the character since he’s getting so much to do. It’s great that the studio decided to tell this story over multiple episodes as opposed to a film. The season is majorly influenced by the Matt Fraction and David Aja Hawkeye comic run and the writers made subtle changes to Clint’s character to line up with how he is portrayed in the comic but it doesn’t deter from his experiences within the MCU. Clint is now deaf from all the damage he has taken during his outings with the Avengers. The story allows viewers to see the more human side of Clint. He’s not a powerful alien, he doesn’t have a fancy suit of armor, magic powers, etc. He’s just a highly trained man who is really good with a bow and arrow. The interesting thing is that while Clint does get into a tight spot now and then, it never feels like he’s in danger. Throughout the show, it seems as if he is holding back. At any time Clint could wipe out the entire tracksuit mafia but chooses not to and I think that says something about his character. All he wants to do is help Kate and get back home to his family. It’s also interesting that we get to see Clint make many of his trick arrows where before it was assumed that they were provided to him by S.H.I.E.L.D.

Hailee Steinfeld is just amazing as Kate Bishop. She is funny and energetic and friendly and is the perfect sidekick to go along with Clint. Her relationship with Clint works because they play off each other like a father and daughter. Kate is the one to make the meta-commentary about Hawkeye not being the most liked Avenger because his branding is terrible. Her fascination with him and wanting to be just like him is something that we have not seen from other pedestrians in the MCU. Why she idolizes him over the other Avengers is solidified in the opening scene. She is shown to be highly skilled at archery and hand-to-hand combat although not on the same level as Clint or Yelena. What she lacks in skill she makes up for in ambition. Kate has a great arc throughout the show and Steinfeld does a great job at showing the various emotions that go along with a person in her position.

Alaqua Cox is also great as Maya Lopez. Cox is the second deaf actress to appear in the MCU after Lauren Ridloff but she is the first amputee to appear. Maya is shown to not think of her deafness as a weakness and has overcome many obstacles to become the skilled fighter that she is. Cox plays Maya with a swagger not seen in other female antiheroes as she shows no fear when challenging the more skilled Hawkeye. Maya’s origin is changed somewhat from the comics but it is revealed that she still works for the Kingpin. Her mimicking abilities are downplayed during the show but seeing as she will be getting her own spinoff soon, we’ll probably see her establish that ability more.

Hawkeye does have some small issues. Clint’s fear of Kingpin getting involved is never substantiated as they never interact by the end of the season. More so, it’s strange to hear this coming from a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who has fought against aliens and robots. A person like Fisk, no matter how connected he is, should not be a person for Clint to fear in any manner. There’s also the out of nowhere connection between Clint in the Yelena. Clint mentions that Natasha used to talk about Yelena all the time. Yet, she’s never come up in any previous MCU films prior to Black Widow. This is an obvious retcon to make that film make more sense within the MCU. Lastly, all the storylines seem to be wrapped up by the final episode, which feels a bit rushed. They could’ve squeezed in a couple more episodes into the season to make it feel more even. Similar to the nine episodes WandaVision had.

Overall, Hawkeye is a pretty good show. It’s a gritty, yet fun, street-level story more in line with what Netflix was doing. I give Hawkeye Season 1 a Good 4.5/5. There could’ve been more exploration into Eleanor’s relationship with Fisk, Maya Lopez’s backstory, and Clint’s wife. Hopefully, we get some of this in a second season because Tony was kind of right about Clint’s family.


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