Kingpin Actor Reacts to Fan Backlash Against Hawkeye Scenes

By Richard Nebens Updated:
Kingpin MCU backlash

To finish off its 2021 slate of projects, Marvel Studios ended the year with the conclusion of Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye series on Disney+, and it came with some huge reveals in Episode 6. Much of this centered around the long-awaited debut of Vincent D'Onofrio's Kingpin, who is now officially MCU canon after the actor reprised the role he made so popular in Netflix's Daredevil from 2015 to 2018.

D'Onofrio spent the entire season subtly-but-not-so-subtly teasing that his Wilson Fisk was the man behind all the mayhem, which came as early as Episode 3 with Maya Lopez's mysterious uncle from the flashback sequence. Episode 5 fully revealed that the Kingpin existed in the MCU thanks to a grainy cell phone picture alongside Eleanor Bishop, and with that, the game officially changed.

In D'Onofrio's one episode where he got to shine as Kingpin, one aspect of his character that brought mixed reactions from fans was the incredible strength that he put on display, taking direct inspiration from his comic book counterpart. Recently, the actor addressed some of the negative reactions to this strength by comparing it to some of his past work with Marvel.

D'Onofrio Reacts to Backlash on Kingpin's Strength

Hawkeye Kingpin

In an interview with Comicbook, Vincent D'Onofrio addressed fan criticisms regarding Kingpin's increased strength during Hawkeye's finale

Specifically discussing the moment where he tosses Hailee Steinfeld's Kate Bishop like she was nothing, D'Onofrio looked back to Season 1 of Daredevil where he had a similar moment with Charlie Cox's Matt Murdock. He also credited showrunner/director Steven DeKnight for his work developing that particular scene and Fisk as a character:

"You know I learned recently, a couple of the fans, they were very excited about it, they were commenting about the strength that I have. Because I'm throwing Kate [Bishop] around and stuff. But, I totally forgot. I just saw a clip on Twitter of me and Charlie [Cox] fighting in [Stephen] DeKnight's first season. Obviously, he's an incredible director. He helped develop the character of Wilson Fisk."

D'Onofrio specifically looked back to a shot where Fisk is "literally throwing Daredevil...through the air," which happens more than once in that same fight. He made sure that fans understand that this version of Kingpin isn't lacking in strength for a moment:

"There's a scene that we shot on an alley, in a street in Brooklyn, where I'm literally throwing Daredevil (Charlie) through the air. Like, I'm picking him up and swinging him 15 feet into a garbage can. I do it a few times in that fight. It's no different, it's really not. So, I keep saying that it's the same Fisk that was in Daredevil. It's the same canon, but people get confused about things. I understand."

No Lack of Strength for the MCU's Kingpin

In Marvel Comics, Wilson Fisk is known as one of the most physically overpowering street-level villains in existence due to his enormous size and skills as a fighter. D'Onofrio got to show that strength on numerous occasions against Charlie Cox's Daredevil, and with his MCU debut, he didn't hold back for a moment against Kate Bishop in Hawkeye.

D'Onofrio makes it clear that he is not afraid to put his physical prowess on display against whoever stands in the Kingpin's way, both in Hawkeye as he did in Daredevil. Although this version of Fisk also took an arrow to the chest and seemingly shrugged off some explosive damage, the villain hasn't changed much in terms of physical intimidation.

Whether the strength levels for Kingpin changed upon his MCU arrival isn't easily quantifiable, but there's no denying that he's a force to be reckoned with.

All six episodes of Hawkeye are available to stream on Disney+.

- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.