Find out whether the latest Marvel show on Disney+ hooked us in…
Hawkeye’s first two episodes came out recently. I don’t have much to say about them, but you can bet I’ll try. Here we go.
Hawkeye follows millionaire archery-whiz Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) as she gets herself embroiled in some shady rich-people dealings, and stumbles across the Ronin costume that Clint Barton / Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) wore during his post-Snap angsty mohawk period. This draws the eye of both Hawkeye and his enemies, leading to hijinks as he tries to clean up the mess and get back to his family for Christmas.
This is the first Disney+ MCU show to have the New York street-level style that the Netflix shows had, featuring the more low-key superheroes. Unfortunately, Hawkeye is lacking a lot of the elements that made that kind of show work.
For instance, the action sequences so far are a mixture of bland and frustrating. Trick arrows don’t show up just yet, though they’re mentioned, which means that they absolutely will later in the show. But still, for now the absence of cool arrow choreography is felt.
Hawkeye’s fights are shot and edited like the 2010s Marvel movies which means shaky, confusing, and rapidly edited. Sure, it’s a TV show, but it’s hard to forget the opening sequence of Falcon & Winter Soldier or the crazy production value of the first two episodes of WandaVision.
The cast are solidly OK. Renner doesn’t seem like he wants to be there, and I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that it’s the character. Perhaps I’m too cynical about all this – it’s hard not to find his ‘smile through the pain’ frustration charming, and the gruff mentor with a plucky newbie dynamic is always fun.
Speaking of, Steinfeld brings a lot of enthusiastic kid energy that I’m sure will be right at home in an inevitable ‘Young Avengers’. Tony Dalton is a lot of fun doing his best hammy Pedro Pascal impression, but I think Vera Farmiga is hampered by constantly playing concerned mothers (see Godzilla, Bates Motel, Conjuring, Many Saints of Newark and so on). I want to love Pizza Dog but he hasn’t done much yet.
A big part of the appeal for a lot of people will be the worldbuilding – Hawkeye is chock-full of meta-references, from toilet graffiti saying ‘Thanos was right’ to an extended Broadway musical sequence about Steve Rogers called ‘I Can Do This All Day’. More than that, Age of Ultron showed with its after-party scene and Barton farm detour that it’s rather delightful to see superheroes living real lives (or trying to).
The overall vibe of Hawkeye is that of a Disney Channel Original movie (that’s a compliment by the way) or a Home Alone sequel (decidedly not a compliment). I don’t think I’ll follow it week to week, but I’ll binge it over the holidays.