While the recent MCU films have been moderately successful, earning either modest profits or getting close to making a profit (though it looks like “Eternals” might end up falling a bit short), Marvel has dominated with its streaming shows on Disney Plus this year, with “Loki”, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” “What If … ?” and “WandaVision” having a large footprints in popular culture. I wasn’t necessarily excited about their “Hawkeye” series when it was announced, but Jeremy Renner is a fantastic leading man, and his portrayal of the character in the MCU has been great, so why not?
“Hawkeye” stars Renner as Clint Barton, whose days as fighting as the titular Avenger appear to be over, with him enjoying some Christmastime festivities in New York City with his family. That comes to an end though, when 22-year-old college student and archery/combat protégé Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) stumbles upon a shady auction involving Hawkeye’s old Ronin suite and sword, as well as her soon-to-be stepfather, Jack Duquesne (Tony Dalton), and his uncle, Armand (Simon Callow). The event gets broken into by criminals, resulting somehow in her donning the infamous costume. When Clint sees footage of her in the suit on television, he knows he has to retrieve it, and when he eventually tracks her down, he realizes she’s in immediate danger because of the enemies the Ronin made.
Each episode is roughly 50 minutes each, and it does suffer from a common problem a lot of these live-action MCU shows share: Despite being full of plenty of fight scenes, not a lot happens, and it’s slow to get started. We get an idea as to what Kate’s relationship with her mother, Eleanor (Vera Farmiga), is like and how she grew up rich, naturally talented, and presented with bountiful opportunities to hone combat skills she’ll need as a superhero, but she’s not very developed as a character at this point, and her and Clint don’t really have any chemistry yet. I don’t think it’ll de-rail the show, but we’ve already seen the equivalent of a short feature film’s worth of footage with these two, and given that the series is only going to be six episodes long, I feel like the show really needs to pick up pace.
It’s no secret that a Hawkeye show is a hard sell for many viewers given that he has always played a secondary role in the MCU, and I’m not entirely convinced that these first two episodes will sell people on the series who are on the fence. They are pleasant to watch, and I have no doubt by the end of it, Renner’s Hawkeye and Steinfield’s Kate Bishop will come into their own, I just don’t know how long it will take to get there.
“Hawkeye” Season 1: Episodes 1 & 2 get a 7.5/10