by Chris Connor
Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton/Hawkeye has been a fixture in the MCU for a decade featuring in ensemble films like the Avengers franchise and Captain America: Civil War. The character finally gets his own vehicle in the shape of Hawkeye, the latest TV series in the franchise. The series also introduces the character of Kate Bishop who takes up the mantle of Hawkeye in the comics, Kate is the series’ co-lead played by Hailee Steinfeld.
Hawkeye picks up some time after the events of Endgame with Clint reunited with his family enjoying a Christmas break. When the Ronin seemingly resurfaces it is up to Clint to investigate, coming face to face with the Tracksuit Mafia and a series of adversaries. Kate who was saved by Clint in the events of the first Avengers film and who idolises him, is along as his partner. Kate is one of the most fun recent additions to the wider Marvel universe and it seems she will play a key role going forward. Steinfeld is clearly having a fantastic time in the role bringing the fan favourite character to life. The series succeeds as both a continuation of Clint’s storyline and an introduction to Kate and her family. Vera Farmiga is a great casting choice as the mysterious Eleanor Bishop who is seemingly involved more than she lets on with the New York underworld.
Jeremy Renner sells Clint here as a more rugged and rundown hero, with the knocks and fights taking their toll mentally and physically. He is hard of hearing and it is refreshing to see one of our heroes with a real obstacle to overcome. The chemistry between Renner and Steinfeld is very natural as their relationship develops over the course of the series and hopefully the two feature in further projects together. The one shame within the cast is the lack of screen-time for Linda Cardellini as Laura Barton who of course was introduced in Age of Ultron, here she is more a peripheral presence largely seen on the phone to Clint.
The more grounded street-level feel of the series is a refreshing contrast to some of the other MCU projects this year like Loki and The Eternals and makes the show feel more contained. The action is some of the best for some time from Marvel balancing fun with some harder hitting sequences, for all the trick arrows it does show the impact being a hero has had on Clint. The series gives more of a look at New York’s crime scene with a mysterious presence atop the tree running the legions of tracksuit goons.
Hawkeye succeeds as a festive project with a buddy cop vibe clearly a nod to Shane Black projects like Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. It is a fantastic introduction to Kate Bishop and a fine continuation for Clint Barton, giving his Ronin arc from Endgame more meaning. While the series juggles many narrative threads it mostly does so in a cohesive manner introducing the character of Echo for her recently announced spin-off series, while also continuing narrative threads introduced in Black Widow particularly for Florence Pugh’s Yelena and also with links to Marvel’s Netflix series Daredevil.
Hopefully, we don’t have to wait too long for further projects with Kate and Clint; whether or not this takes the shape of a season two remains to be seen.
Hawkeye appears on Disney Plus!