Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop Shines As Marvel’s ‘Hawkeye’ Hits The Mark – Review
Adapting Matt Fraction and David Aja’s character-defining run of Hawkeye is no easy feat, but in the new Disney+ series, it’s clear that Marvel understands the assignment.
I was graciously given the first two episodes to review, many thanks to Disney for the opportunity. In this two-episode premiere of Hawkeye, Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Kate Bishop’s (Hailee Steinfeld) tale opens in 2012 New York during the first Avengers film. What follows is an awesome sequence we won’t spoil here, but it is always great to see more sides of iconic MCU moments; think Monica Rambeau during The Blip.
Two hours into the adventure the most surprising part is how much screen time Kate Bishop has. She is front and center in this story. It would have been easy to sideline Steinfeld at the start, make her the Robin to Jeremy Renner’s Batman, but this series is shaping up to be just as much Kate’s show as it is Clint’s. They are truly co-leads, and Steinfeld is holding her own. Kate’s scenes are bursting with energy and make you want to see more.
After the opening of episode one, we are treated to a stunning title sequence in the style of David Aja, Javier Pulido’s art from the sacred text. This might be the best-constructed opening credits since Netflix’s Daredevil. The incredible visuals illustrate Kate’s achievements and show her growth as a “waiting in the wings” hero. On one interesting note, the first set of words we see on screen during the intro is “A Kevin Feige Production”. This is new, Kevin put his stamp on it. What a flex from the Marvel boss.
Switching over to Clint, it might surprise you how little time he appears on screen in the initial episode. The first piece of solo Hawkeye content does a great job giving context to key character changes to Clint from Matt Fraction’s comic. There are light references and then a deeper dive into his hearing problems after many years of “Avenging”. Clint also appears to have learned sign language to connect with his youngest son Nathaniel. Don’t let any of those facts go unnoticed. There is a lot of world-building going on here, and it’s great to arrive at his new normal with little exposition.
In this large cinematic film and television mega-franchise, the stakes are often world-ending. Bringing things back to the street level is a welcome return and Renner shines as an audience avatar. Before the series, Clint’s main source of comedy was calling out the absurdity of the situation he finds himself in. However, in this tale, he’s connecting with the audience on a different level. When Thanos, his family, The Snap, or Natasha Romanoff are referenced, we understand that sting. We’ve been on this journey so long and just like Clint, we lost Nat too. Many of the series-opening moments shouldn’t hit as hard as they do, but they succeed because of our years invested with the most relatable Avenger.
Let’s talk about some of the new additions to the MCU. First, Tony Dalton is a real standout as Jack Duquesne. He oozes charm in a very devilish manner. Time will tell what his true intentions are but Dalton’s villainous achievements in Better Call Saul as Lalo Salamanca make it hard to believe he’s an ally of our heroes. Look at that mustache, it’s all you need to know. That’s a “Muah-ha-ha” mustache right there.
It’s a crime that we’re almost five paragraphs into this Hawkeye preview and we’ve yet to mention the real star of the show. Comic readers rejoice. Lucky the Pizza Dog has arrived to the MCU. Goose, Rocket, pack up your things and move aside. The best Marvel animal is here for the crown. Is it just a dog that eats pizza? Yes. Is this pup the best thing on any streaming service? Also yes. Protect Pizza-Dog!
Rounding out the new cast is the one and only “Bro” slinging Tracksuit Mafia. By my count, the crew says “Bro” no less than thirteen times in the two-part premiere. It’s hard to express how fun it is having a set of manageable and doofy villains in the MCU. To an Eternal, these are tracksuit toddlers and Shang Chi would certainly wipe the floor with them. How about Clint? He’s probably got this, but it’s still more enjoyable to have human stakes again. The Tracksuits are gems and the funniest bit Marvel has pulled off since Ben Kingsley returned in the Legend of the Ten Rings.
One thing the show didn’t pull off was “Rogers: The Musical” or maybe they did exactly what they wanted. The entire sequence is perfectly (purposely?) whack. “I Could Do This All-Day” is way too corn-nay! You might wonder if the on-the-nose badness of the fictional musical is a subtle shot at the writer of Hamilton? Do they think Hamilton is overhyped/cheesy? What does an entire 2.5-hour Avenger musical look like? Release the Miranda cut!
In two hours, Marvel will make you want to spend twenty hours with the Hawkeyes. There are so many things to love from the Christmas setting to the LARP adventure to the pizza-loving pup. Disney+’s latest series has all the DNA from Fraction’s comic to be successful and two leads are crackling with chemistry.
Their quivers are packed with potential and this series is on target to be one of the best Disney+ has created so far. Grab one of Herman’s Hearty Slices, sit back and enjoy. Marvel’s Hawkeye is a can’t miss.
Please Note: Clint has a flip phone and the new Quinjet password is: Oldest Avenger.