Hawkeye Review: Refreshing break from Magnum opus Avengers but a need to find its ground

Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfield's 'Hawkeye' isn't a show that will blow your mind in the first instant and it feels a bit awkward. It takes a while to not expect a magnum opus-level action or CGI from a Marvel outing.

Vaishali Jain Vaishali Jain
Updated on: November 24, 2021 19:58 IST
Hawkeye poster featuring Jeremy Renner, Hailee Ste

Hawkeye poster featuring Jeremy Renner, Hailee Steinfeld

Photo:INSTAGRAM/HAWKEYE
  • Movie Name:Hawkeye
  • Critics Rating: 3.5 / 5
  • Release Date: Nov 24, 2021
  • Director: Rhys Thomas; Created by Jonathan Igla
  • Genre: Superhero

There are no spoilers here and this is based on the two-episode premiere of Marvel’s 'Hawkeye', streaming on Disney+ Hotstar from November 24.

Marvel cinematic Universe' brand new web show 'Hawkeye', makes it a point to set apart its audience and goals. It's a show that scratches Martin Scorses's 'Superhero films are theme park' statement. 'Hawkeye' is anything but a template superhero gimmick. Away from blazing lasers, alien attacks and end-of-universe moments, it's has a low key vibe where our 'superheroes' are not popular, they are not hiding in plain disguise and they fight on the street blowing punches and kicking criminals.  

“Your problem is branding. Your whole thing is that you’re low-key. It’s a very hard brand to sell,” an unapologetic yet timid Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) blurts it out to Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) in the second episode of 'Hawkeye'. This is probably the most accurate thing about the titular character that first debuted a decade ago in Thor. Hawkeye is no tech giant like Iron Man, nor he's the muscle man like Captain America and neither he is a Norse God like Thor. His only qualification to be in the Avenger troupe is his archery talent.

It isn't a show that will blow your mind in the first instant and it feels a bit awkward. It takes a while to not expect a magnum opus-level action or CGI from a Marvel outing like 'Hawkeye'. From the first two episodes, the makers haven't been able to convince if this standalone story needs to exist but nonetheless, they do tease what our bowman is capable of. 

More so, 'Hawkeye' is platonically aware of the fact that Clint Barton doesn't fit in the traditional definition of a superhero since he's got zero superpowers. He's a skilled man to describe best. And the show doesn't make efforts to entitle him as one. 'Hawkeye' is the narrative of a common New York man, who wants a normal Christmas with his family. But is it really his story? We're unsure; because the shining star here is Kate Bishop. From the first two episodes, we recognise her more than the titular character. This college brat has a dramatic childhood, a suspicious family and a secret hiding place too. Doesn't that make for a more superhero-ish account?

However, coming from a fan like Kate, Barton appears almost snazzy and a hero who deserves similar attention to his counterparts. She aggressively tells us how cool he is and how he's probably the best thing in MCU. Except it’s Kate herself who is the authentic star of 'Hawkeye', and given the early reactions, she's already a fan favourite. After watching Renner's Barton for over a decade, Steinfeld is a refreshing force. She operates to Kate’s intensity bearing brilliance and determination. She’s particularly triumphing in her scenes with Renner. Their jabs at who's world best archer tickle some funny bones. 

In Kate, 'Hawkeye' brings the youthful humour to Clint's turmoil. He has become a man with no humour, you can't blame him. Hence, she gives us that break. She calls nearly everybody 'bro' and cares too much for a dog. She would even let go of criminals when it comes to saving the dog. Would the Avengers care about the pawed friend during an alien attack? She's that cool!

Anyway, with so many superheroes on the block, and more joining in do we need these skilled people? Probably yes. Because not every day Thanos snaps his fingers or Wanda gets trapped into an alternate dimension, there are plain simple days when we want someone among us to stand up and fight the street evil. On those days we need Clint Barton and Kate Bishop. They might not be the best duo to look forward to yet, but they have the potential and I for one cannot wait to see how this camaraderie develops in further episodes.