It honestly is still too early to tell if the show will be great by the end the season
‘Tis the season to be Hawkeye! Well, for Kate Bishop at least. Disney+’s latest Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) series doesn’t hold back on celebrating Hawkeye–both the MCU‘s and the comics’ versions. Finally placing the much-deserved spotlight on Clint Barton, the series also heavily homages the iconic and brilliant comic book run by Matt Fraction and David Aja.
Picking up two years after Endgame (setting it in 2025), the world Hawkeye occupies seems very different from everything else we’ve seen in the movies and shows post-Endgame–peaceful… almost. Where WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier dealt with the almost immediate fallout of the return of half the world’s population, Hawkeye seems to have distanced itself a little further away from the overall Infinity Saga.
And that’s a good thing.
Hawkeye makes it pretty clear that while this finally puts Clint front and centre without his super-powered colleagues, it also prioritises establishing Kate Bishop’s place in this rapidly expanding universe. Not only is Hailee Steinfeld is quite easily one of the best examples of casting pulled by Marvel in this phase, much of the show’s motivation is pushed forward by Bishop’s life, and resists conforming to drawing from the larger pool of characters and incidents of the MCU. If anything, Hawkeye almost fills the void left by the loss of the Netflix Marvel shows like Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.
Arguably, Hawkeye works better as a series than the previous live action MCU shows, especially when compared against the haphazard narrative flows of WandaVision and Loki. Where each of those shows chose to resort to a “mystery cliffhanger” structure, resulting in more of an “extended film” feel, Hawkeye very organically fits into a television show format. It’s almost a tragedy that it’s only six episodes (but let’s see if we continue to feel that way).
The action in Hawkeye is also unique given the lack of more “grounded” heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While we’ve seen glimpses of his skill in combat across Avengers, Age of Ultron, Civil War, and Endgame (and, to an extent, Thor) this is the first time the writing has offered villains catered to Clint’s special set of skills. Also pretty interesting is the combat choreography for Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop. While she is established to be an athletically gifted and skilled character early on, her skirmishes never simply give her an upper hand in combats against bigger and more experienced opponents.
And, remarkably, these opponents may steal the show for fans of the aforementioned Hawkeye run by Fraction and Aja. The tracksuit-clad gang members were a recurring staple in the comic run, quickly carving themselves a special place in the hearts of readers with their petty “big picture” plans and their questionable use of the English language. The entire gang of them have been masterfully adapted to the series, setting up what could be the most unique aspect of Hawkeye, that it is a faithful adaptation of the comics without having to enslave itself as being accurate to the events of the comics.