Let’s get something out of the way first – this review was written after watching the entire show, so there might be some spoilers. If you haven’t watched the show in its entirety, please proceed at your own risk, bro. 😉
If there was one member of the “OG” Avengers I couldn’t care less about, it was Hawkeye. Yes, he’s alright with bows and arrows, but does that make him an “Avenger” level superhero? And this show takes it time to address that question…? Complain? Call it whatever you want, but there is a scene where Hawkeye himself is talking about him being an Avenger without any superpowers. And that, among many other tiny yet delightful scenes throughout this show, made me appreciate this character more (dammit, Marvel has done it again, those bastards!)
Hawkeye is by far the “most chill” Marvel show to date (disclaimer – I still haven’t watched The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021), but from the little I know about that show, it is more action-packed), and more importantly, Christmas is almost a character in this show. Don’t worry, the creators behind this show won’t let you forget it, but at the same time, it helps to drive the point home about it. And this is where I can see certain people being disappointed with the entire show – it’s definitely more light-hearted fun than your average Marvel property. There are more jokes and quips sprinkled with some heartwarming scenes about family, and when you think it will be all just jokes, then all of the sudden – bam. Suddenly, the show discusses coping with sadness, loss, and dealing with your past.
That is one aspect I appreciated about this show – they didn’t shy away from Hawkeye’s Ronin past. You remember how he became a ninja assassin, going around killing lots of people when the “blip” happened? Oh yeah, the show goes there and is not afraid to address it. What I liked about this was how nobody was trying to justify it. Even Hawkeye himself knows he was wrong, and that is “the thing” for him throughout this show – dealing with consequences of his own actions, being celebrated as “the hero who helped to save New York”, knowing very well he’s done some bad things, alongside another “simple” thing he’s going through – his guilt for Natasha aka Black Widow sacrificing herself instead of him. So we get Hawkeye feeling extra guilty for living instead of her. And this is how you make us, the viewers, care about a character like him – give him something to chew on. I feel like ever since he became the go-to joke (as the character), we often forget that Jeremy Renner, who portrays Hawkeye, is more than a capable actor, and he sells us all these moments. But for me, the real star of this show (except the dog with one eye, who was just pure adorable) is Hailee Steinfeld.
Firstly, we all have known for a while now, Hailee is a talented and charismatic performer; after all, she was an Oscar-nominated actress at age 14! And not only is she physically fit (she works out hard, and it shows) she is the heart behind this show. She is the much needed human element, somebody who is kind of like Hawkeye but not really as she has her past to deal with, and towards the end of this show, you will discover that her family situation is not easy either. But talk about a multi-talented individual. She can be funny, charming, charismatic, and throughout the series, she goes through believable growth where I want to see more of her. I know (well, suspect) this will be a springboard for her character to appear in more movies and TV shows, and honestly, I can’t wait, especially if paired up with another talented actress – Florence Pugh.
I liked they brought her into this show not only because of her obvious Natasha connection but thanks because of her; we get a new, unique view of how would it feel to be one of the people who “blipped”. We have seen it once or twice now, but in this instance, it was shown so well because it was all sudden – what feels like a few seconds for her character turns out to be five years and what’s more devastating than that is discovering your sister is no longer alive. And a huge reason you are back living. Her need for revenge and dealing with that pain/guilt was also an intriguing part of this show, and her genuine great chemistry with Hailee makes me wish we would get a show or movie where these two would be our main characters.
Also, I need to give a special shoutout to Alaqua Cox – a real-life deaf actress who has done an incredible job with her character of Maya. I loved how this show didn’t make this into a big deal, and she wasn’t great because she was deaf. She was great because they gave Alaqua a pretty decent backstory to her character, and she nailed it while kicking a lot of asses. I would love to see her again in future films or shows, and something tells me we will.
And here’s the thing – remember when I said this is a light-hearted show? And now, I’ve spent most of my review talking about these “deeper” things? That, for me, is the ultimate reason Hawkeye worked. Marvel found a perfect way to make these characters deal with complicated emotions in a pretty fun, entertaining way for us, the audience. So you are having fun, sometimes certain lines/situations might seem a bit too cringy, but then stuff like this hits you out of nowhere.
For example, I can see how the “bros” moving company might not be everybody’s cup of hot cocoa. For example, some fights are stagged more like a comedy routine (villain stop fighting, simply to compliment Hailee on the advice she gave him before that and how he and his girlfriend sorted things out because of her). Or the entire sub-plot of LARPers and how they ultimately helped Hawkeye and Kate. And this is what I mean by “the most chill” show/movie Marvel has made in a while – they are known for quippy, witty characters. But Hawkeye takes that concept into overdrive. And it’s only up to you and your sense of humour, whether you will find it funny or not. Once I understood this show is not to be taken too seriously and Marvel is here, just trying to create some Christmas show, I had more fun with it. I am guessing if you approach this show like that, it might work for you too?
Overall, Hawkeye is not a perfect show by any means. But it’s still very enjoyable entertainment, something simple to watch, where there are some stakes but it’s nothing “world ending” you’d have to worry about. What Hawkeye has done well is simple – it made me actually like Hawkeye’s character, and it sold me on Kate Bishop/Hailee’s as the newest addition to the MCU. I can’t wait to see more of her. If you feel like watching something new for Christmas, something Marvel-related, but you don’t want something too heavy, you might try to give Hawkeye a chance. It’s not flawless, but it’s charming and funny at times, with great casting and some surprises along the way.
That’s all for this one! Did you see it? What did you think about it? Let me know!
Until next time,