Hawkeye – Season 1 Review

Twas the morning before Christmas and… I thought I’d upload the review of the just-finished Hawkeye series before the holidays, given its so heavily tied to it. A series based solely on Hawkeye may not have been the most obvious idea to pick but as per usual in the MCU they knew what they were doing as it was a real fun series to follow, with newly minted hero Kate Bishop being well handled and a return I have been quietly hoping for finally becoming reality. Let’s take a look!

Synopsis:

Former Avenger Clint Barton has a seemingly simple mission: get back to his family for Christmas. Possible? Maybe with the help of Kate Bishop, a 22-year-old archer with dreams of becoming a Super Hero. The two are forced to work together when a presence from Barton’s past threatens to derail far more than the festive spirit.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Clint thinks back to the good old days of fighting aliens and killer robots.

I think what I liked most about Hawkeye was the tone, it had a very American Christmas movie vibe that really blended well with the MCU’s mix of action and quippy comebacks. Jeremy Renner is at his best as Hawkeye here as well, playing him very much as a “too old for this shit” jaded version that really just wanted to spend time with his family at Christmas but ends up stuck in New York due to his past catching up to him. This is because he sees on the news someone dressed up as Ronin, his kill-happy vigilante identity he used during the years half of the population of Earth was wiped out, including his family, and this brings some old grudges out from under the woodwork. Clint finds the person responsible and it’s a young girl who found the suit at a shady underworld auction that her mother’s boyfriend was attending and decided to use it to fight back against an invading gang of Eastern European people in tracksuits, as you do.

Her name is Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) and she soon begins freaking out at the sight of Clint as she was inspired by the hero randomly saving her during the Battle of New York ten years ago, an event that we see in a flashback resulted in her father’s death and her concentrating on becoming a super athlete so she can protect her family and be more like Hawkeye. It’s a nice continuity tie in and I loved seeing the events of the first Avengers film through the eyes of a regular citizen. The two become a forced-together duo when the Tracksuit Mafia and their leader Echo (Alaqua Cox) attack Kate and Clint obviously feels responsible. Echo is deaf (as is the actress herself which is always nice to see… as in deaf actors/actresses getting roles, not people being deaf in general…) but has learned to cope with it well, something that plays into the story as Clint is also losing his hearing due to the many loud explosions he’s been involved with over the years and is now reliant on a hearing aid. After an exciting getaway car chase involving trick arrows Clint and Kate end up in a safehouse together and bond over pizza, a one-eyed dog that Kate saved, and some Christmas movies, as well as Kate’s theory about her aforementioned mother Eleanor’s (Vera Farmiga) boyfriend Jack Duquesne (Tony Dalton) and his possible involvement in the murder of an business associate of her family.

Two Hawkeyes for the price of one!

As they soon begin investigating deeper they’re attacked by a mysterious woman who turns out to be Yelena (Florence Pugh), Black Widow’s (sort-of) sister who believes Clint was the one who killed Natasha, as we saw at the end of the Black Widow film (and technically that’s correct…ish) They escape but Clint tries to ward Kate away from the hero game and goes for a showdown with Echo, trying to convince her that the Ronin is dead or at the very least didn’t kill her father like she believes and that it was probably an inside job. Meanwhile Kate is visited by Yelena, who acts all buddy-buddy but refuses to believe Clint is innocent. Clint and Kate soon meet back up and trade notes, including Kate receiving a message from Yelena that her mum isn’t as innocent as she seemed as she’s pictured with none other than Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin! Yes, at last the Netflix side of the MCU begins to bleed into the MCU proper. Hawkeye identifies him as the man behind the Tracksuit Mafia and that leads us into our finale.

At just under an hour the final episode manages to tie everything up nicely, even if some bits are a little rushed. A major showdown where all the characters gather results in another quick and funny showdown between Kate and Yelena, a great scene of the two Hawkeyes using trick arrows to take down large swaths of Tracksuited goons, Kingpin trying to kill Eleanor only to be pestered and then eventually K.O’d by Kate, Clint and Yelena fighting until the original Hawkeye manages to get through to her about the Black Widow’s sacrifice, and then Echo, who figured out that Kingpin was behind her father’s death, confronts the fleeing villain and shoots her gun as the camera pans away, meaning thankfully they didn’t bring back D’Onofrio just to kill him off and I assume that plot thread will be picked up in Echo’s own TV show. We then get a lovely Christmas family gathering at the Bartons, with Kate and Lucky the dog along for the ride. Oh and Clint’s wife was appartently the MCU version of Mockingbird, which confirms that Agents of SHIELD is a different strand of the multiverse in the same show that the Netflix shows are seemingly confirmed to be canon. Ouch for AoS fans! (which includes me, but after the season that was supposed to be post-snap had no mention of it I saw the writing on the wall. The team already passed through alternate universes anyway, so no big deal)

The Bad:

Yelena goes for payback, but ends up with closure. A classic character arc!

Honestly, not much at all. At just six episodes it didn’t drag and also managed to have some great humanising moments alongside plenty of action. Sadly by teasing Kingpin for five episodes it meant he made his big appearance only to be immediately defeated, twice. This is a bit of a step down after his two Daredevil seasons allowed him 12 episodes of being on top before being taken down, but hey-ho. I’m just glad he’s back!

Some scenes at a local LARP gathering (that’s live action role playing, for the record!) were quite cringey but they did serve a purpose in giving us some comic relief and showing Clint that being a hero is something to be proud of as most people only get to pretend to do it. I certainly didn’t hate the scenes like some seem to, anyway…

Overall Thoughts:

Echo smiles safe in the knowledge she has her own series still to come.

Hawkeye’s first and possibly only series (that’s the problem with reviewing these as they come out, I’ve decided to play it safe and put “Season 1” on the thumbnail and headline…) was a great journey with plenty of Christmas warmth, action, humour and some good character development for Hawkeyes both old and new. Add in the return of Kingpin and I was a happy viewer the whole way through!

One thought on “Hawkeye – Season 1 Review

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s