Review by Sean Boelman
The crazy thing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that it was essentially kickstarted by a series of unexpectedly successful comic book movies featuring B-list superheroes like Iron Man and Thor. It’s only fitting that this new phase of the series, dominated by Disney+, is led by some of the more obscure properties, although Hawkeye may be pushing the limit a bit too far.
The series follows Clint Barton as he takes a young, skilled archer under his wing when his dark past begins to catch up with him and finds her in the crossfire. Many wondered how they were going to pull off an entire show based off of the Avenger who is generally considered to be the lamest, and the first two episodes don’t make it clear that they did.
There is something to be said in the series about accountability for one’s past actions, but this isn’t anything that hasn’t been explored better in the past (specifically in Captain America: Civil War). It’s also very clear from the beginning that this is a passing-the-baton arc, which is frustratingly bland.
Kate Bishop ranks among the middle of the new Phase Four MCU protagonists so far. She has a slightly arrogant and entitled attitude to her that makes her a bit difficult to approach. What the series is doing with Hawkeye, turning him into an unwilling mentor of sorts, shows a lot of potential to add depth to a previously uninteresting character.
Jeremy Renner is at his best in the show when he is able to flex his comedic chops. One of the issues with the show is that it is trying to be both a serious crime drama and a campy show about people running around in spandex shooting bows and arrows. And Renner seems to be much more comfortable with the latter.
Avengers: Endgame gave us a brief glimpse of Barton picking up the Ronin mantle, and while those events have a direct influence on the plot of this series, the action here is nowhere near as inspired as that one fight sequence. Although there isn’t much action in these first two episodes, the little which there is doesn’t have much creativity in the choreography.
And then there’s the fact that this is also a Christmas show. This may not serve too much of a purpose other than to allow the series to be set in winter in New York City, but that does make for a gorgeous background. And it’s definitely one of the more restrained series in terms of execution, but that’s because it’s one of the smaller-scale ones.
More so than the other Disney+ series, it’s hard to figure out what’s going on in Hawkeye with just the first two episodes. However, if it doesn’t pick up the pace (and soon), the result will be one of the most forgettable entries in the MCU.
Hawkeye streams on Disney+ beginning November 24.