Hawkeye Review: Hailee Steinfeld makes an impressive MCU debut; Strikes an oddball equation with Jeremy Renner

Updated on Nov 26, 2021 02:46 PM IST  |  128K
Hawkeye Review
Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld star as Clint Barton and Kate Bishop in Hawkeye.


Hawkeye Cast: Jeremy Renner, Hailee Steinfeld

Hawkeye Creator: Jonathan Igla

Hawkeye Streaming Platform: Disney+Hotstar

Hawkeye Stars: 3.5/5

Hawkeye Review 1

From powerful immortal alien species to the cataclysmic multiverse, MCU has walked into unchartered territories ever since Avengers: Endgame. Hence, Hawkeye comes as a 'grounded' breath of fresh air amid the always flying superheroes as it not only gives the overdue spotlight to the most overlooked OG 6 Avenger, Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), but it also humanises the MCU narrative as much more than just having superpowers.

"With great power comes great responsibility," and when you've been bruised and battered for aeons, while losing your best friend, who sacrifices her life so you can stay alive, the scars within play an obvious toll on you. That's a prominent plot point in Hawkeye as we see the after-effects of Thanos' snap on Clint, in particular, who juggles between his Avenger identity while trying to establish a more intrusive family life with his always supportive wife Laura (Linda Cardellini) and their three fiery kids; Lila (Ava Russo), Cooper (Ben Sakamoto) and Nathaniel (Cade Woodward). In what was nothing short of a 'Broadway' highlight for MCU fans, Clint's trauma is shown impeccably by a hilarious Rogers: The Musical, featuring the OG Avengers recounting their previous hard-fought battles. Jeremy, who has lived as Clint for a decade and counting, seamlessly immerses himself in Clint's conflicted state of mind between a joyous family man and a wrecked soldier. Props to Hawkeye creator and head writer Jonathan Igla for including Clint dealing with hearing loss as an important personality trait.

Hawkeye Review 2

However, Clint's past as vigilante Ronan comes back to bite him, thanks to a young, feisty though very privileged Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), who after a traumatic childhood encounter finds solace in her hero's weapon of choice, a bow and arrow. After a series of unfortunate events and an adorable dog named Lucky, who loves his pizzas, Clint is able to capture Kate and is quite easily persuaded to solve a jumbled mystery together as an unconventional duo. Since Hawkeye is set on Christmas in New York, Clint has a six-day deadline before he reunites with his family for Christmas.

The first episode starts off on a nostalgic note, which is sure to leave MCU fans ecstatic, making it a killer opening in recent times. We see a good buildup into the character sketch of what makes Kate Bishop as eccentric as she is. Particularly, it's her twisted relationship with her overbearing mother Eleanor Bishop (Vera Farmiga) and a pure hatred equation with the mysterious Jack Duquesne (Tony Dalton) that sets to stone as to why Kate is forever looking for trouble, even when it doesn't particularly come knocking at her doorstep.

Marvel hits the arrow right on target by casting Hailee as Kate Bishop. Steinfeld has steadily made a name for herself as a versatile actress and in Hawkeye, she's nothing short of spectacular. From the get-go, you'll be convinced (I was!) that she was tailor-made to play Kate Bishop as she makes a very impressive MCU debut. Moreover, it's the generational gap between Clint and Kate that makes way for the patented MCU humour that we've grown accustomed to love as their oddball equation is consistently entertaining. When Kate tries to up Clint's PR game, it's hysterical!

Hawkeye Review 3

What is also starkly admirable is how, in Hawkeye, Hailee's Kate is given her own time to shine but without overpowering Renner's Clint, unlike in Black Widow, where Florence Pugh's Yelena Belova quite literally overshadowed Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff. This is why it was a smart move by Marvel to make Hawkeye a series rather than a movie as it gave considerable time to establish both characters justly.

Given how Hawkeye takes time to build Clint and Kate's equation, over the span of two episodes (Note: Only two episodes were provided for review!), certain MCU fans may not be too ecstatic about the slightly slow burn to the eventual action. However, as I mentioned in the beginning, humanising these characters (similar to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier!) is sometimes excruciatingly necessary because one needs to understand the repercussions of the magnanimous battles and the lives lost amidst the superhero thrills and frills.

ALSO READ: Hawkeye: Kevin Feige discusses the epic Avengers musical & why the Jeremy Renner show is set on NYC Christmas

When it comes to Vera and Tony, there's a delectable conundrum in trying to figure out their characters, especially if you aren't well versed with the comics. While Farmiga's powerful aura is a sight to behold, particularly, her scenes with Steinfeld where the question of privilege is constantly challenged, Dalton impresses most in a harsh fencing battle of not just the body but also the mind against Hailee. What is also refreshing is the use of real life New York locations, with minimal CGI, with the authentic Christmas feel, which add more spirit into what will definitely be a hellish battle to the finish line for both Clint and Kate.

With the revelation of a major character in episode 2, Hawkeye promises a power-packed four more episodes of Avengers proportion. As for the fight sequences, Clint's exceptional fighting style was always underappreciated in previous outings and in Hawkeye, it more than makes up for it, in double company with Kate. After watching the first two episodes, this reviewer is anxiously waiting for the remaining four episodes to find answers to various puzzling pieces and to that, I say, mission accomplished!




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