Hawkeye always felt like the most down-to-Earth of the Avengers. It’s not just that he feels the most human or has the best quips. He’s been able to accomplish the seemingly impossible by having a life outside of vigilante work.
Since the Age of Ultron, he’s been established as someone with a wife and kids. He keeps them off the grid and away from all the disasters of Avengers missions. Those dad vibes make him a character worth exploring more.
Back to the Family
Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) is perhaps the most fascinating figure to follow post-Endgame. He doesn’t have any lofty ideals to strive towards or mantles to maintain. He’s free to just enjoy Christmas with his kids.
That’s exactly what he plans to do on a trip to New York. He visits with his kids to attend a laughable Avengers musical set against the Kree invasion. It’s ridiculous but also triggers a bit of PTSD for the introspective hero.
Despite still being a good dad, the past still lingers. He can’t shake how things went down with Black Widow during their time-travel mission. He also can’t forget his time during Endgame as the anti-hero Ronin.
A New Archer Enters
The past comes back to bite him in the form of Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld). She has grown up idolizing Hawkeye and is hoping to be his successor of sorts. She is skilled with a bow and arrow, as well as holding her own in fights with criminals.
Kate finds herself attracted to the superhero lifestyle. She infiltrates a criminal underworld where components of the Ronin are up for grabs. Seeking to prove herself as a masked vigilante, Kate strikes hard to find out what’s going on.
The deeper Kate digs, however, the bigger the conspiracy she unearths. This eventually attracts the eyes of Clint who seeks her out. Realizing there may be a bigger plot at play, he agrees to work alongside this budding archer in a team-up of fellow arrow-slingers.
This tale doesn’t seem as grand compared to other MCU shows. And that’s actually a good thing. Hawkeye feels more like a crime-fighting outing than some segment of a larger timeline in the MCU.
It has more in common with the recent theatrical films than the shows. It exists inside the Marvel Cinematic Universe but doesn’t rely on it entirely. We get some relations to the first Avengers movie and Endgame but more as set-dressing than crucial plot points.
The detective narrative makes great use of Clint and Kate being bound by doing the right thing. They both realize that their lives could be in danger and work together surprisingly well. After all, this isn’t Clint’s first rodeo of teamwork.
There’s an ease to Hawkeye that makes him so charming to watch. He’s a good father as well as a no-nonsense hero when it comes to crime-fighting. There’s great weariness during fights but also genuine love during his family moments.
I particularly dug the open communication he has with his wife. When duty calls in the city, Clint keeps his wife informed just enough to make sure his family isn’t involved. Having been used to Clint’s many “business trips,” she gets this.
Kate, on the other hand, has some feuding going on with her single mother. She can sense that mom is being passive about something more dangerous than she has control over. A defiant Kate naturally denies her matriarch’s request to just stop snooping. How could she not dig now?
The first two episodes felt particularly grounded for the robust action present. Aside from the recap of the battle of New York, every battle is with fists and arrows. They’re staged well enough so that it’s not a blur and compelling enough to appreciate the choreography.
It’s a particularly hilarious scene in episode two where Clint has to enter a, well…competition. It’s not a no-holds-barred fight match like in Shang-Chi but it is a bit awkward. Let’s just say it may be the geekiest thing seen in an MCU series to date.
Conclusion: Hawkeye Episodes 1 & 2
The first two episodes of Hawkeye are light but a decent start for the show. Clint is still a low-key charmer and Kate is setup as an equally snarky archer worth watching. They have a dynamic that will hopefully develop into something great.
I’ve been cautious about the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far and it mostly had to do with the timeline adherence. Hawkeye feels more like a cozy series for being so off to the side. Maybe it’s the Christmas aesthetic, but there’s a more personal edge to such a show that it has a chance to stick the landing.
Have you seen Hawkeye on Disney+? What do you think of the show thus far? Is it holding up better than Marvel’s What If? Let us know in the comments below.