Love them or hate them, one of the biggest strengths all the Marvel Universe properties all seem to share is impeccable casting. There is only one Iron Man, Marvel finally figured out Spiderman for Sony, and the list goes on. And with the debut of the newest Disney + series this week, Hawkeye, there’s yet another example to add to the list. Having the first 2 episodes to review also showed that this series will be just as or even more ambitious than the rest of the series on Disney + by the time it’s all done.
Hawkeye opens with a young Kate Bishop (Clara Stack) getting a front-row seat to the Chitauri invasion from the first Avengers film as her family’s penthouse is destroyed around her. Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), aka Hawkeye, saves Kate’s life unbeknownst to him during the course of his fight with the invaders, which set Kate upon her life’s mission. Fast forward to the ‘present’ (which is apparently 2025 in Marvel time- if you listen to enthusiasts) and we catch up with a college-aged Kate (Hailee Steinfeld), someone who has devoted her life to endless training, a black belt in multiple martial art disciplines and an extremely talented marksman with a bow, like her hero.
We catch up with Clint and his children as they are in New York on a trip to see the insipid stage play “Rogers: The Musical”, which only seems to exist to pester Barton and stir up memories of his fallen friend Natasha Romanov. During Kate’s time away at school, Kate’s mother Eleanor (Vera Farmiga) has become engaged to the mysterious Jack Duquesne (Tony Dalton), whose decorating addition to the Bishop penthouse is a collection of swords displayed prominently throughout. Sparking Kate’s suspicions, combined with her constant ability to jump directly into something without any thought given to repercussions, leads Kate directly into the ire of the “Track Suit Mafia” and forces the need for Barton and Kate to meet face to face.
Hawkeye‘s greatest attribute is the abundance of chemistry between its leads. Renner and Steinfeld are so evenly and playfully paired it’s a shame they haven’t worked together more. Even with only 1 episode of them together (they don’t really meet until episode 2) audiences will immediately catch the effortless charisma between the pair, as Renner’s Barton almost takes on a de facto father figure role for Kate, after losing her father years ago in the events of the first act. Not to be overshadowed is the relationship between Kate and her mother, as Vera Farmiga takes on a role in Eleanor that could have easily been nothing in the hands of a lesser actor and shows us just how talented she really is. These relationships will be fascinating to watch as they develop through the series.
The spectacle of the series is evident immediately as the attack on New York is retold using a mixture of existing and new footage and looks just as impressive as it did when it came out. Setting the film in New York at Christmastime also adds grandeur and a larger budget to the series as it truly captures the spirit of the city, though they clearly dint spend any funds on the intentionally horrible Steve Rogers musical. Even with it being fictional, Broadway has not been treated this badly since Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. With the Bishop family being amongst the highest in society in Manhattan, the apartments, accouterments and the like are top of the lone elegance. Even Kate’s personal loft apartment would make most New Yorkers green with envy, the set decoration on the series is top-notch.
With the episode’s directorial duties split between veteran Saturday Night Live director Rhys Thomas (who did both of the first 2) and indie darlings Bert & Bertie, the season is certainly shaping up to be an interesting watch for audiences. And the first 2 episodes released do a lot to set the foundation for what’s to come. All of this adds up to a great start to a new series for Disney +.
- Rated: TV-14
- Genre: Action + Adventure, Comedy, superhero
- Release Date: 11/24/2021
- Directed by: Bert & Bertie, Rhys Thomas
- Starring: Alaqua Cox, Brian d'Arcy James, Clara Stack, Florence Pugh, Hailee Steinfeld, Jeremy Renner, Linda Cardellini, Simon Callow, Tony Dalton, Vera Farmiga
- Produced by: Jonathan Igla, Kevin Feige, Rhys Thomas, Trihn Tran
- Written by: Don Heck, Heather Quinn, Jenna Noel Frazier, Jonathan Igla, Katrina Mathewson, Stan Lee, Tanner Bean
- Studio: Disney, Marvel Studios