In the thirteen years since Iron Man in 2008, all the original Avengers have received their own solo films and even the newer ones have received their own films. However, Clint Barton/Hawkeye never got one. Even in the production dedicated to him, it largely felt as though he was there to draw eyeballs to a few more characters. That is the Marvel way as they use pre-existing characters to serve as launchpads for future characters- in this case, Echo and Kate Bishop. One can say that Marvel is renowned for this as they used Falcon and The Winter Soldier for the same thing, but at least there the entire series was focused on the setup of Sam Wilson as Captain America.
Despite having to share the spotlight, Hawkeye manages to have a few scenes that hit the bullseye and give us a fond farewell based on his primary motivations. The added play on the theme of I’ll be home for Christmas is another good touch here, as it keeps to the theme that Barton has had throughout his time in the Avengers saga.
Clint prefers to stay closer to his family and just pops up when he needs to do something. This is seen as he is kind of retired after Age of Ultron ends. A year later, he returns to help Captain America in the Avengers clash at the airport before coming back to the team for the Battle at the Avengers compound. It is clear that he prefers to stay under the radar and he sort of just does that in this Disney+ miniseries as well. Ever wondered why he doesn’t have a costume like his character from Marvel Comics?
In Hawkeye, Clint Barton leaves his vacation to find out the identity of who is running around New York in his old Ronin costume. He finds out that it is college student Kate Bishop, who has attracted the attention of the tracksuit gang and could be close to the situation on a personal front.
This is a smokescreen that manages to blind us for a while, but it does have a good payoff. Kudos to the writers in that one for managing to create and come up with so many situations that could keep the viewers on the edge of their seats across five weeks and wonder who is the hidden bad guy.
Credit must also be given to the action sequences, especially the chase scene in episode three, where Kazi, Maya, and the Tracksuit gang pursue Clint Barton and Kate Bishop. The final episode’s action is also brilliant, and it incorporates the tree and the snow to great effect. However, the best fight scene has to go to the simultaneous battles involving Maya, Yelena, Clint, and Kate in the penultimate episode.
The producers and editors may have made an oversight with the shoot and cuts. New York’s winter setting had some trees with no leaves and only lights. That is what would be expected. However, in some scenes, the city is decked with snow, and in others; it seems as though Hawkeye and Bishop are teaming up in midsummer. Were we in summer or winter? This is a tad bizarre and the Snow Wonders background theme felt out of place.
Also, the Christmas theme felt forced with the weekly episodic format. The classic Christmas carols (Sweet Gingerbread Man and You’re a Mean One Mr Grinch) playing during the end credits really didn’t feel right on a weekly basis, especially as it was positioned as a Christmas show.
It may not be that noticeable as the lack of inbuilt superpowers ensured that the characters needed to plan and strategize to pull off humanly (im)possible stunts. This is quite nice as we finally get to view how Hawkeye is some sort of an arrow whiz. Although we don’t get to see how he has an endless supply of arrows whilst in battle, the arrow whiz part sheds light on how he overcomes insurmountable odds with a limited arsenal.
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As Hawkeye, Jeremy Renner is the Avenger that audiences loved in the Avengers series. In his run, he even managed to draw comparisons with himself and DC’s Oliver Queen a.k.a. Green Arrow. Barton wins hands down because of how the Emerald Archer tailed off. He even managed to give a sufficient enough rub to his successor from the comics. i.e. Kate Bishop. A.k.a. the girl in the Ronin suit.
Bishop is a 22-year-old woman who was inspired by Barton’s feats in the Battle of New York. She falls into the category of those who got inspired by the Avengers and not in the Vulture and Helmut Zemo category. Bishop comes across as confident and clumsy, though mercifully not at the same time. We see her destroy a bell tower and learn that she can be a female Hawkeye (all her suggestions in this regard are turned down though).
The evolution of their partnership is something that makes Hawkeye tick. The chemistry between the duo is amazing, as Barton comes across as dismayed and reluctant to work with a child. Meanwhile, Bishop, who appears eager to prove her worth, manages to just fumble. Her scene, where she fell through the roof while trying to stealthily sneak in, drew a bemused reaction from Clint.
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She earns his trust as the episodes go by and their Christmas movie marathon is quite a delightful sight. The duo even goes through a rocky phase when Barton’s past catches up with him, but they get back on the same page with them following the Cobra Kai battle in a circle technique to good use at the Christmas party battle.
Regarding Barton’s past, we all knew she was coming. Yelena made it and stole the spotlight with her scene in Kate’s charred house. It was amusing to watch Florence Pugh go on saying, Kate Bishop. Also, Pugh and Hailee Steinfeld’s scenes both in the living room and in the Bishop party made us want more scenes with the two of them together.
The supporting cast of Vera Farmiga, Alaqa Cox, and Tony Dalton did their parts to enhance the series. Cox, in her debut role, really excelled as the girl out for revenge. Vincent D’Onofrio got an episode, but we really hope that that wasn’t that for Wilson Fisk.
This show has tidbits of all Marvel lore. The play on a Disney musical poster from Hamilton, replaced with the word Rodgers- a musical focusing on the Avengers battle of New York is like a close to Clint Barton’s story as he was first credited with an appearance in that film. A musical end credit is like the closing of a chapter.
Furthermore, the scene with the LARPers is quite a tribute to the aura of the archer. It showed how the world is grateful to the Avenger and could be construed as fans being represented on the screen.
Hawkeye’s six-episode run was something that really felt compact overall with light-hearted content, action, and crossovers. However, it doesn’t serve as an exclusive swansong for Hawkeye: his story does get a fitting end, but there is no grand farewell. Perhaps that is another take on how he has always stayed under the radar.
Marvel fans will enjoy it as the references are scattered throughout. You may enjoy this series even more if you have watched Spider-Man: No Way Home.