Hawkeye S1E1-2 TV REVIEW: A solid start to a promising, action-packed series

The Barton family

At least within my own circle of friends, half knew Hawkeye would be about the introduction of Kate Bishop, and the other half thought it would be a deep dive into the past of original MCU Hawkeye, Clint Barton. For a year now, I’ve been following Grace Randolph (of YouTube’s "Beyond the Trailer") as she provided her opinions and revelations from Hollywood contacts on what the show would be about. After watching Episodes 1 & 2, Randolph has been correct in citing the Matt Fraction and David Aja Hawkeye comic series as the clear source material. How exactly I cannot say, without revealing spoilers. Do keep in mind that the way Fraction’s story begins is not the way the tv series does. If you haven’t already, I would strongly recommend getting the first trade of the series which covers issues #1-22.

In an interview with Executive Producer Trinh Tran, Randolph was informed the original plan was for this to be a feature film, but Tran’s concern about gutting Fraction’s comic into a 2 hour movie was eased by Kevin Feige. He recommended the project be created for Disney+ and turned into a series so that there would be more time for the story (this was pitched around the time the streaming app was launching).

Kate takes her bets seriously

Off the bat, I am stoked over the casting of Hailee Steinfeld. She IS Kate Bishop. Steinfeld’s physicality leaves something to be desired in her action sequences, however. Oh yes - not a spoiler - but there is a ton of action right from Episode 1. I mean, Kate Bishop’s fighting skills are likely realistic for someone going from competition fighting to fight-for-your-life fighting. It just sometimes seems like the sound effects don’t match with what we’re seeing on screen and it takes you out of the moment for a bit. Vera Farmiga as Kate Bishop’s mother Eleanor Bishop is very interesting and a little suspicious. “Just what exactly is going on with Eleanor” is the question that is constantly coming to mind whenever she is on screen. The Conjuring films queen is hopefully going to evolve into a pivotal character rather than play a plot device from which the story unfolds.

Clint in a "catch & release"

Jeremy Renner is back as Clint Barton, after his last appearance in Avengers: End Game. He is primarily focused on reconnecting with his children over Christmas after the Blip reversal, until a ghost from his past reappears. There’s something new about him that you learn about very quickly into the premiere episode, which honestly I’m glad to see that there is some lasting hardship that he faces from his line of work. Though, it would be great to explore his mental and emotional scars, specifically the survivor’s guilt regarding Natasha Romanoff. Fingers crossed we explore more of that or catch a glimpse into their Budapest adventure, which we unfortunately didn’t get included in Black Widow. What else is there to say about Jeremy Renner? It’s just so damn good to see an Avenger back in action.

Pizza Dog!

As far as who the series antagonist is, that seems quite obvious at first, but there is some hesitation on my part to confirm it here. Come Episode 3 I believe that will be made clear. This aspect of Hawkeye reminds me of Wandavision, another Disney+ series, where there was more than one antagonist and it took several episodes for this to entirely develop. In a related note, Episode 2 ends with a good enough cliffhanger. It isn’t exceptionally jaw-dropping, but it does a fine job of keeping your curiosity piqued and interest intrigued. Thankfully this is taking place during the holiday season in New York City, as without it Hawkeye would feel like it was taking place in the New York of Jessica Jones.

The quality of production is a definite step down from the other MCU series, including Loki and Falcon and the Winter Soldier. In those shows you actually see where the money has gone. Even if you wanted to argue that the Wanda and Loki shows were magic focused, which required a significant amount of CGI, take another good look at Falcon and the Winter Soldier. This didn’t deal with magic per se, but you can see the cinematic quality punched into nearly every aspect of it. Hawkeye is sorely lacking this cinematic touch when Kate’s and Clint’s stories need them the most. Hopefully this changes as time goes on, but I have a feeling fans will be left underwhelmed in this regard. Next time, we’ll be able to discuss more about the plot lines of both the series and source material. For now, be sure to get your hands on that comic and tune in for Episode 3 coming out later this week.

Hawkeye is a 6-part series that can be streamed now on Disney+ with new episodes premiering every Wednesday at 3AM EST.


Ruth Kotsalos spent her Saturday mornings as a kid fully invested in Batman: The Animated Series. Since then, she has been a fan of all DC animated cartoons and movies. Ruth currently works in the nonprofit sector, has a masters degree from The New School, and lives in New Jersey with her husband John, and their German Shepherd puppy, Athena.

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