Since his shadowy appearance in Thor (2011) Jeremy Renner‘s (The Hurt Locker) Clint Barton aka Hawkeye, has become a sometimes mocked but key member of the first six avengers. For some reason that didn’t warrant a solo movie but a series introducing his replacement Kate Bishop, portrayed by Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit, Dickinson). I’m not salty about, I like the character and the actrice but I feel the disrespect, am I alone in this? It was even more blatant after seeing the two episode premiere that were focused on Kate. That said the show has a solid cast; Alaqua Cox as Echo is phenomenal, Fra Fee (Les Misérables) as Kazi is striking, Tony Dalton (Better Call Saul) as fun and quirky Jack Duquesnes, and Mia Farmiga (Up In The Air) as Kate’s mother Eleanor. She is great casting but she reads shady to me so that doesn’t help the story, and there’s two more other phenomenal cast members but I won’t spoil it just in case.
Premise: The story is essentially how Clint Barton crossed paths with Kate Bishop while in New York City, and how they must work together to confront enemies from Clint’s past time as Ronin in order for him to get back to his family in time for Christmas.
Review: As I mentioned the show’s main focus is Kate and her introduction, although smart, is a bit slow going because quite a chunk of it is predictable. At the beginning I felt I was reading chapter two while the show was lagging behind. They’ve telegraphed so many plot points early on that waiting for them to come to fruition was a slight annoyance, more so if you became aware of rumors and leaks before hand. Thankfully by the half way mark everything starting rolling
The strength of the show is its casts, their characters and the relationships they have. The Christmas theming and the many references the show has from comics, previous MCU movies, and popular holiday movies is a nice touch – if you like Christmas movies – but the characters’ emotional arc is the meat in all that dressing. From a grief stricken Clint who’s trying to reconnect with his family while dealing with what he did during the blip ; Echo’s relentless fight for vengeance and how she opened her eyes to the bigger truth of her situation; the assassin who refused to believe the truth and how that was resolved, also their relationship with Kate is a delight. As for Kate, her eagerness to be a hero was great, it felt like she wasn’t just hoping to be one someday but worked hard to become one. And as skilled she’s shown to be, there’s still that rookie naiveté and a blind side that could have been annoying but it wasn’t.
In the first few episodes there were elements – LARPers *cough among others – I thought made the show feel a like downgrade and cheap, even for Clint who can kind of only be a street level hero when on his own. But I’ve come to like these elements because they add some levity to the show and sort of work with the theming.
Hawkeye works hard to be a holiday romp and succeeds but the cast elevated what could have been a meh overall story with a lot of action in the finale.
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