“Hawkeye” delivers some festive, albeit, familiar Marvel fun.
By: Adam Beam SUTV News
2021 certainly has been an active year for the MCU. With a whopping nine new entries into the franchise, fans had plenty to dive into. Surprisingly however, despite “Spider-Man: No Way Home” or “Loki” being the biggest game changers for the franchise moving forward, the year wraps up with the smaller scale, down to earth “Hawkeye”.
Taking place a few years after the events of “Avengers: Endgame”, Clint Barton is simply trying to adjust to having his family back in his life after being dusty for five years. All he wants is a good ol fashioned family Christmas, but the plans get sidetracked when Kate Bishop enters the picture. A young master archer, Kate becomes intertwined with a criminal conspiracy that Clint has some kind of connection to, so he decides to help sort out this new mess. Can the duo take down a criminal empire all the while getting home for Christmas on time?
Not since “Spider-Man: Homecoming” has there been an MCU outing that has been this small of scale, but to be honest, that’s what makes “Hawkeye” the series so charming. While the other MCU films and shows this year have ranged from okay to great, the timeline of the MCU has become a tad confusing. Each of them takes place either right after “Endgame” or years after, with flashbacks to before the events of “Endgame”. On top of that, each entry this year has been in service of setting up the greater story of the MCU, which is nothing new, but with nine projects back to back, it’s a treat to have a far more self-contained adventure. Not to say that “Hawkeye” doesn’t lay the seeds for future stories, but this series is happy being a much more stand alone story. As well as being much smaller in scale, the Christmas setting allows for some great set pieces and settings, especially in the final battle set to the backdrop of the Rockefeller Tree.
Kate Bishop played Hailee Steinfeld is a delightful new addition to the MCU and is a perfect foil for the more seasoned and gruff Clint Barton. Right from the first episode you completely understand her motivation and her personality, and watching her grow to be a competent hero is what helps elevate the series overall. Jeremy Renner is still great as our titular hero and he’s given some great dramatic moments as he still struggles with Natasha’s sacrifice in “Endgame”. Going into the series, I expected Renner’s Hawkeye to get quickly swept under the rug for our new hero to take his place, but it’s a lot more entertaining that they work more as a team rather than Clint working as a mentor in the background. Another standout character is Echo played by Alaqua Cox. The MCU introduces another great deaf character (Makkari from “Eternals” played by Lauren Ridloff) and she gets to shine and establish herself as a force to be wreckin with before her own Disney+ series in 2023.
Now while the series overall was another strong outing for Marvel, it does fall victim to the MCUs usual trappings. For starters, the series has a lot of that quippy dialogue and comedic moments that for the most part work, but the LARPing stuff overstays its welcome. “What If…?” introduced a solid MCU murder mystery in its third episode, so it’s really disappointing that this series also has a mystery but a super weak one at that. Right from the get go the show beats you over the head with the “culprit”, but if you’ve ever seen a Scooby-Doo mystery, you know that the red herring is never behind it all. However, the biggest disappointment of the season has to be the finale. So far, “Loki” is the only one of these Disney+ shows to stick the landing in the end. “Hawkeye” had a lot of loose ends going into its final episode and a lot of them are resolved in the most underwhelming ways. Once again, the promise of a major character in the MCU leaves little to be desired once they enter the picture. You could argue that these unresolved plot points can continue in season two, but since there has been no word on another season, the finale will leave a lot of fans feeling unsatisfied.
Overall, “Hawkeye” may not be a massive game changer for the MCU but it’s clear it’s not trying to be. What the show wants to be is a fun self contained adventure with a festive twist and it succeeds at doing so. The action is top notch, the characters are delightful and layered which helps elevate the story’s weaker elements. If you’ve enjoyed the other Disney shows you’re bound to enjoy yourself here.