Hawkeye, Disney+, review: Hailee Steinfeld shines, but Marvel’s latest series misses the target
The Marvel Cinematic Univers- – referred to by those in the know as the MCU – has become so massive and so complicated that any new series feels like an undertaking. Hawkeye, the latest addition to the canon, which takes place in the world of the Avengers,is no different: I would advise swatting up on the story so far before jumping in.
Jeremy Renner reprises his role as Hawkeye, the Avenger known for his skill with a bow and arrow rather than any superpowers, though spends most of the first two episodes as Clint Barton, family man.
Barton is clearly uncomfortable with the fame being an Avenger has brought, zoning out during a schmaltzy Broadway musical about their achievements, and freezing up when someone recognises him in public.
But surprisingly for a series named after him, Barton is not the main character here. Instead, we spend most of our time with Kate Bishop (a buoyant performance from Hailee Steinfeld) who we first meet as a child sheltering in her Manhattan penthouse from the wreckage caused by the big fight at the end of 2012’s The Avengers.
Having witnessed Hawkeye’s skills in action, she grew up to become a sharpshooter (with an equally sharp tongue), just like him. Through a convoluted series of events, the pair end up working together to uncover a criminal conspiracy.
There’s a lot to like here, most of it coming from Steinfeld. It feels like a superhero movie from the 2010s, all snarky quips and bombastic fight scenes – though it is strange neither Hawkeye nor Kate use their famed arrow skills in such action sequences.
But the storyline is complicated, and you have to deeply care for Marvel lore to be invested in the mystery of Ronin’s suit and his missing sword (told you to swot up).
The problem with Disney+’s MCU series is that its best, January’sWandaVision, was the first out of the gate. Emotionally gripping and mind-bendingly fun, every series that comes after will be compared to it – I’m afraid Hawkeye misses the target this time.
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