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Disney+ Review: Hawkeye (First Two Episodes)

November 24, 2021

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Hawkeye, the first two episodes of which premiered today on Disney+, is Marvel’s fourth television series this year, and it’s somewhat of a departure for the studio in terms of how grounded it feels. Following on the heels of WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki, in some ways this feels like the most conventional show of the bunch, but this isn’t a bad thing.

Set in New York City at Christmas, which comes to be one of the show’s best and most enjoyable features, with Christmas music incorporated into the soundtrack, Hawkeye follows Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) as he teams up with a young archer named Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld).

Clint is in New York with his kids for the opening of Rogers: The Musical, a cheesy Broadway show about the Avengers saving the city that brings back painful memories, and he just wants to get home to his wife (Linda Cardellini) in time for the holidays.

When Kate ends up getting ahold of Ronin’s old suit, she inadvertently draws out much of the city’s underworld, and attracts the attention of Clint, who happens to be her hero. Clint feels an obligation to protect her, and from here they became an unlikely duo (along with an adorable dog). While Hawkeye sets up a murder mystery and an organized crime ring for the two to get tangled up in, the series has more of a low-stakes feel to it so far compared to most Marvel movies and the studio’s other shows.

This show instead aspires to be something more akin to a Shane Black buddy comedy (right down to the Christmas setting), and the first two episodes work well on these terms thanks to the strong chemistry between Renner and Steinfeld. The two actors do a good job of playing off each other, bantering back and forth as a weary Clint reluctantly takes on the role of mentor to the impulsive Kate.

Clint is shown to be understandably worn down this time around. He’s still working through the trauma of what transpired with Thanos, and ready to take a break. Meanwhile, Kate is presented as a wide-eyed young adult who looks up to him and wants to learn everything she can, a dynamic that allows for both entertainment value and character development. While the story still sort of feels like it is getting started by the end of the second episode, the show has a breezy, enjoyable feel to it so far that has me looking forward to the remaining four episodes.

The first two episodes of Hawkeye are now available to stream on Disney+, and new episodes will be released every Wednesday until December 21st.

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