The Marvel Cinematic Universe has gotten so vast and varied at this point that it’s kind of like the weather in Florida – if you don’t like it, wait a few minutes. On the heels of Eternals‘heavy cosmic shenanigans, here comes Hawk Eye, a stripped down street level adventure full of wise heroes and full comedic backdrops.
It finally gives the sixth member of the original Avengers team – Jeremy Renner Hawkeye’s archer ace – his own solo showcase, while simultaneously featuring a new hero to share his codename: Kate Bishop, played by Hailee Steinfeld. In Marvel Comics, Kate takes on the role of Hawkeye as a tribute to Clint Barton after his death. (It got better; they’re comics, they’re like that.) In this TV series, Kate is featured in a Battle of New York flashback from the original. Avengers film, where she is saved as a little girl from a doom by – who else? – Renner’s hawk eye. Can you blame her when she immediately decides to take up archery?
About a decade later, Kate has grown into a tough young woman and an absolute scholar with a bow and arrows. However, she continues to get into trouble, both at school and with her mother Eleanor (Vera Farmiga), who was widowed during the Battle of New York and now runs a high-tech security company. Trained to one of her mother’s charity events, Kate stumbles upon a secret black market auction for high-priced superhero memorabilia – including the Ronin costume and sword worn by Hawkeye during her time. dark in Avengers: Endgame. Through a series of somewhat roundabout events, Kate finds herself in the Ronin costume and performs a few heroic activities in the process.
While his Time like Ronin, Clint Barton has made a lot of enemies, and when someone appears in New York in this costume, those enemies go hunting. Clint, who is in Manhattan with his family to celebrate Christmas, feels responsible; whoever wears this costume, he thinks, is going to be injured or killed because of something he has done. And so he has to reluctantly give up his vacation plans with his kids – including a hilarious Broadway show called Rogers it’s a musical version of The Avengers – to protect Kate from the mess he made years earlier.
That’s the basic premise of this series, which was created by Jonathan Igla and will run for six episodes on Disney + until the end of the year. (The first two episodes, which were made available to critics before the show began, both air this week.) Granted, some mechanics of the story are a bit wobbly, like why Kate ends up in this. Ronin’s costume, or why no one can tell the difference between her or Clint Barton when they’re wearing it. It’s also a bit odd that Clint is celebrating Christmas with his family without his wife Laura (Linda Cardellini), who calls Clint on the phone about once per episode to check in. A line of dialogue provides an excuse for its absence, but it still looks like a cover for some sort of scheduling problem. (Cardellini is only featured as a “Special Guest Star” in the series.)
This stuff becomes mostly nit-picking, as Renner and Steinfeld are both very watchable in this series, and they quickly make a nice pair of mismatched buddies in the mold of a Lethal weapon-style action comedy. Steinfeld is instantly at ease in the role of Kate Bishop; it’s natural to that Marvel mode by default of dry, witty banter amid outrageous action and stunts. If this show is designed to set her up as Renner’s eventual replacement as the MCU’s main Hawkeye, she’s off to a good start.
As the couple’s more serious and classic hero, Renner’s role is a little less flashy, but he has some lovely moments himself. The Ronin costume ultimately ends at a Larp convention, forcing Clint to investigate it “in costume,” which leads to one of the funniest sequences Marvel has produced in a very long time. (These and other quirky moments are influenced by comic book writer Matt Fraction, who wrote the best Hawk Eye comic never released by Marvel a few years ago and serves as a consulting producer on the TV series.)
A third of the way through the series, Hawk Eye is still in the process of establishing key members of its core cast. Eleanor’s new boyfriend Jack (Tony Dalton) seems like bad news – and he definitely shares a name with a relatively obscure member of the Avengers – but how he fits into Clint and Kate’s story. remains unclear. The show will also feature another Marvel hero, Alaqua Cox’s Echo, who would go on to become his own Disney + series, and his role in the first two episodes is minimal as well. Still, what’s here so far is a light, entertaining action comedy with a very solid use of real New York locations. Eternals maybe a little missed the mark, but so far Hawk Eye gets much closer to the target.
Hawkeye premieres on Disney + on November 24. Sign for Disney + here.
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