Disney+ has allowed Marvel Studios to take supporting characters from the MCU and launch them into superstardom.
So far, each live-action Disney+ series has had a unique way of telling its stories, and each style is tailored to the characters they are about. The episodic nature of Disney+ allows Marvel Studios to not just expand the MCU but the characters within it like never before, pinpointing what makes these heroes tick and putting that under a microscope.
WandaVision dove into the grief and loss of Wanda Maximoff through a series that is one part sitcom homage and one part SWORD mystery. This propelled Wanda from a member of the team to the face of the franchise as the Scarlet Witch. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier followed Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes through a post-Steve Rogers world, showing fans what it means to be Captain America and what Sam needed to do to take that step. Each show uniquely highlights these title characters in a way that grows the seeds planted for them in the Infinity Saga.
Loki turned up the scale with a story following the titular character as he discovered the secrets of the universe within the TVA. Questioning things like fate, choice, and existence, this series was more of a commentary on the MCU than it was the God of Mischief himself. This was a deviation from WandaVision and TFATWS as character studies, but it still gave fans more time with Loki than they have ever had before.
And now there is Hawkeye. Marvel Studios is returning to character studies and taking the intimacy one step further with the most grounded MCU Disney+ series yet. Heavily influenced by the iconic comic book run of the same name, this is a show that die-hard fans have been waiting for. In a world of multiverses, new Captain Americas, and dragons, this is the show that brings the MCU back to the universe outside your window.
Getting To Know Clint Barton
This series will mark the most screentime for Clint Barton in his decade-long tenure in the MCU. With everything that Clint has gone through in his superhero career, Hawkeye provides a look at how he deals with that past while trying to focus on his future as a father of three. Of course, things get in the way of this retirement dream once again, but this feels like Clint really cleaning up his mess following Avengers: Endgame.
In Endgame, it was revealed that during The Blip, Clint took on the persona of Ronin to take down the worst of the worst that survived Thanos. This made enemies for anyone who wears the Ronin suit, and Clint needs to ensure that the past never comes back to haunt him or his family. This is a dive into what it is like to be a veteran superhero on the ground. Fans will appreciate how lived-in Barton feels as the last original Avenger to receive a title project.
This is also a great way to explore the nuances of the character for Jeremy Renner, expanding on the small moments he had in the Infinity Saga that made him such a key piece to the puzzle. The mentor mentality he has in Avengers: Age of Ultron is really the crux of his attitude toward Hailee Steinfeld's Kate Bishop and the upcoming superhero class. The first two episodes also introduce Clint as a hearing-impaired individual. After years of battle with Earth's Mightiest Heroes, the everyday Avenger has seen the repercussions.
These types of character traits being fleshed out will not only make this show great for Hawkeye fans but also retroactively build a character that is such a key part of the MCU. Moving throughout the series, look for Clint to use his vast experience as an Avenger to clean up the mistakes of his past.
Renner gives an incredible performance as the grizzled veteran who is looking to live his life. You can take the man out of the fight, but Hawkeye looks to explore if you can take the fight out of the man.
Introducing Kate Bishop
Along with diving into the character that is Clint Barton's Hawkeye, there is also the duality of introducing the next generation sharpshooter, the new Hawkeye in the MCU, Hailee Steinfeld's Kate Bishop. This is a character that fans have been calling for ever since that first circle-up shot back in 2012. If there is one consistent takeaway from Hawkeye after early reviews, it is that Steinfeld is the perfect casting for this iconic hero.
Hawkeye puts just as much focus on introducing Kate Bishop as it does on expanding Clint Barton. The MCU version of Kate Bishop is Hawkeye's biggest fan and has trained her whole life to be the next great arrow-wielding superhero. Steinfeld brings vintage MCU charisma to the role and has fans gripped at her every word. This is the character fans have been waiting for and the future of this IP for years to come.
This show is about balancing the old with the new, the past with the future, and the grumpy with the hungry. At the end of the day, it will essentially be the story of Kate Bishop becoming the next Hawkeye and learning what it means to become the everyman superhero. Having this contrast of a young up-and-comer paired with the MCU veteran is the highlight of the first two episodes.
The chemistry between Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld tells the story. The characters blend together in a great way that not only supports the plot but creates a dynamic that leaves viewers wanting more. The characterization of Clint Barton in the MCU has surprisingly molded perfectly with the tone of this show, and it is a great wall for Kate Bishop's character to bounce off of.
Street Level Superheroes
Fans of the Netflix Daredevil series will be pleased to see the return of Marvel characters to the streets of New York. There are a handful of pieces at play surrounding the Hawkeyes, with a family drama angle for Kate and a red in his ledger situation for Clint Barton. They come together because of Kate's desire for the superhero lifestyle, and it plays as the perfect short story that is focused on these characters.
A touch of mystery goes a long way when the charm and charisma are coming at every turn. The Tracksuit Mafia are the lovable jobbers everyone was hoping for with a more serious vibe behind their operation. Ronin seems to be the concept of pulling everything together, and it makes for a great build to what is sure to be a climactic event on a street-level scale.
In an MCU with Multiverse shenanigans, Celestials popping out of the ground, and magic rings creating new heroes, it is a breath of fresh air to return to the small story and unlock a level of world-building fans may have not seen before.
Christmas in the MCU
The Christmas vibes are all over the marketing for this series, and two episodes in, it feels like one of those Die Hard vibes that just has Christmas in the background. The biggest advantage to a Christmas-themed show like this is the music that comes along with it, and Hawkeye uses that to perfection. There is something special about Christmas in New York, and this series seems to be capturing that essence throughout the first two episodes.
This also gives fans something they have not seen in the MCU Disney+ series yet: a clock. It was recently revealed that this series has six episodes covering six days leading up to Christmas. The first two episodes blend perfectly together where the end of Episode 1 is where Episode 2 picks up. Following that day-by-day story is a true tribute to the comic book run this is based on and makes for holiday hijinks to ensue.
Matt Fraction & David Aja
This series is heavily influenced by, arguably, one of the greatest comic-book runs of all time, Hawkeye, written by Matt Fraction, art by David Aja. The tone of this show is a perfect replica of the dry and witty dialogue in the comic book run. The production does a great job bringing the storytelling to life with, once again, great focus on the characters. Keeping this story so small has allowed director Rhys Thomas to let the audience get to live in this world with these characters, and that is the feeling you get when reading the comic.
The art styling of David Aja in Hawkeye is a marvel of contemporary visual storytelling. This show does a great job bringing that to live-action in both subtle and obvious ways. There is a motion graphics sequence pulled straight from the page to fill in the gap in the story with style and grace. Marvel Studios has made a name for credit sequence magic, and this is no different from the amazing source material in Hawkeye.
A Kevin Feige Production
One of the first things fans will see in the opening title sequence of this show is "A Kevin Feige Production." This is the first time in the MCU the leader of the pack, the president of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, has gotten this type of treatment. This show is a perfect capsule of what Feige has done for this universe and these characters. The ability to tell so many stories in so many different ways is what makes the MCU special, and, more than that, the ability to bring those stories together seamlessly.
Hawkeye is a product of world-building, allowing Clint Barton to be the seasoned Avenger and Kate Bishop to be the rookie class simultaneously. It is because of the universe built around them that a small story feels so important. And that is truly a Kevin Feige production.
Hawkeye Hits Its Mark
From the style and tone to the characters and dialogue, this show has everything fans can want out of a Hawkeye series. It is time spent with a character they have known for a decade and an introduction of a character that will soon be everyone's favorite hero. It's all wrapped in a charming, mysterious, and grounded story that will keep fans both on the edge of their seat and sitting back satisfied.
Hawkeye is both a tribute and a launching-off point, and two episodes in, it is already hitting its target.