Marvel’s Hawkeye – Episodes 1-2
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Hailee Steinfeld, Vera Farmiga, Alaqua Cox, Tony Dalton, and Jolt the Golden Retriever
Written by: Jonathan Igla & Elisa Climent
Based on the Marvel Comics by Matt Fraction, David Aja, Matthew Hollingsworth, Javier Pulido, Annie Wu, Steve Lieber, and Clayton Cowles
Directed by: Rhys Thomas
“That ninja saved that dog!”
Bros and bells ring merrily in Disney+’s series Hawkeye! Following the former carnie-turned-Avenger, this new Christmas-themed miniseries finds Clint Barton (a FINALLY warm and funny Jeremy Renner) trying to catch up on the time he lost with his family during and after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Clint is pulled back into costumed life when he is face to face with his checkered past. New archer on the block Kate Bishop (the scene-stealing and near-feral Haliee Steinfeld) interrupts his holiday plans wacky world of superheroics. He’s armed with only a CVS rewards card and his droll experience as the “heart” of the Avengers.
Hawkeye puts its characters forward right from the get-go — much to the opening episodes’ benefit. By laser focusing on both Clint and Kate, who is given a harrowing origin story tied to 2012’s The Avengers, Hawkeye finally puts Clint in a fun, slightly battered preferred position. Better still, Steinfeld’s Kate and all the elements the show imports from the page (like Clint’s hearing loss, the Tracksuit Draculas, and even another street-level anti-hero) enhance the experience.
Obviously, the show doesn’t have the same pop-art panache as the comic series. But honestly, it gets pretty damn close by simply by being funny and thrillingly directed! While we have seen flashes of “fun” Clint in a few films, Jonathan Igla and Elisa Climent’s scripts lean into this affability. This shift pushes Renner out of the dour doldrums of his Avengers efforts and into warm hilarity.
A warmth that gets further tempered as Kate and Lucky, the Pizza Dog, make the scene, pulling Clint (groaning the whole time) into the mentor role. All across two snappily directed opening adventures.
I am loathed to spoil some of Hawkeye’s better feints in the opening episodes. But rest assured, the Hawkeyes and their adventures here shine. All with the support from other game performers like Lorraine Warren herself, Vera Farmiga, and Better Call Saul breakout Tony Dalton. Who possibly is playing a figure from Clint and The Avengers’ past! Oh, and someone from the Roger Stern era making their MCU debut!
All told, thanks to sparkling writing, down-to-earth performances, and rousing fight choreography, Hawkeye makes a compellingly fun argument as the possible breakout of the Disney+ MCU shows. Not only is it bringing better things out of an established Avenger. But it provides a super fun proof-of-concept of what future MCU solo shows could look and feel like.
In summation, you’re gonna love Hawkeye, bro.