Even though it’s not the finest Marvel series, Hawkeye manages to hit the bullseye!
Ever since Spider-Man: No Way Home has become the latest entry into the top 10 highest-grossing movies worldwide, the audience’s interest in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has increased. With the arrival of Hawkeye, that interest has doubled, for it answers many questions the curious MCU fans had about the blip, or the resurrection of all the victims of Thanos’ Snap, in simpler words.
The six-episode miniseries Hawkeye revolves around Clint Barton aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) who is hoping for a quiet life with his family, after the shenanigans of Avengers: Endgame. However, just ahead of Christmas, his happiness is cut short when a youngster Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) fights bad guys while dressed up as Ronin, without realizing that her impulsive act might attract those who want Ronin dead. Clint Barton (who used to be Ronin) saves Kate from being ambushed by the bad guys, only to realize that she has all the ingredients to become his protégé.
Intelligently, Hawkeye refuses to let her follow him, and tries to handle things his own way, but the protégé is there, whether he likes it or not. In the six episodes, they encounter many hardships and find people who don’t like either of them, such as Echo, Kingpin, and others. However, when the two become close as any mentor-protégé would, it becomes interesting, since Hawkeye finds out that she has idolized him ever since she was a kid. It was because of his fearless style of fighting that she decided to emulate him, and evolved into an expert marksman, second only to Hawkeye.
The series might be titled Hawkeye, but it is Hailee Steinfeld who dominates it. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that while Clint Barton might be bigger in films, Kate Bishop takes over when it comes to the smaller screen. She plays an impulsive youngster who wants to be there where the action is, even if it meant endangering herself and her mentor. The audience gets to know what made her become a Hawkeye fan, what triggered her second coming, and how she evolved from an annoying teenager to a Young Avenger in these six episodes where Jeremy Renner’s character takes the backseat, and rightly so.
While Clint is seen as a worn-out Avenger who doesn’t want to return to his old life, Kate is excited to just be with an Avenger, making their relationship all the more interesting. He might be the most boring Avenger for others, but for his number one fan, he is the best there is. Jeremy Renner plays the second lead perfectly, allowing Hailee Steinfeld to evolve into a Young Avenger while teaching her the tricks of the trade. The hearing-aid angle humanised him, while his personal issues further lent credence to the fact that he is a superhero, without anything super about him.
And then there is the connection that was teased last year in MCU flick Black Widow. Since Clint Barton was there when Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanov gave her life so his best friend could live, Natasha’s sister Yelena (Florence Pugh) thought he was the reason behind her death. She vows to avenge her sister’s death by killing Clint, without realizing that he was always prepared to die himself, and that would have made that arc interesting. Sadly, it didn’t since Florence Pugh made a mess of it all. While her acting was marginally believable in the movie, here she came across as an immature person and an amateur killer who herself had no clue what she was doing. Her scenes with Hailee Steinfeld were good but she failed to deliver when it mattered the most – in front of Clint Barton!
Unlike other Marvel shows, this one doesn’t have a mid-credit or end-credit sequence for a change, proving that Hawkeye doesn’t take itself too seriously. That’s what makes it stand out; that and the twist in the penultimate episode that linked the show with the other Marvel TV shows. No, the Daredevil doesn’t make an appearance but if three Spider-Men can appear in a frame, who knows what Marvel has in store for its audience.
On the whole, it might not be as grand as WandaVision, pleasantly-confusing like Loki, or even action-oriented like Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but Hawkeye is closer to reality than all three live-action Marvel series. It stars the only Avenger who doesn’t have superpowers, and that’s the superpower of this series! Add to that some detective element, a Christmas scenario, and a buddy-cop kind of relationship, and you get a series that is for audiences of all ages and can be viewed any time of the year.