Hawkeye review: Hailee Steinfeld shines in Marvel’s festive new series

Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop and Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye in Marvel Studios' HAWKEYE. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. © Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop and Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye in Marvel Studios' HAWKEYE. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. © Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

Marvel’s Hawkeye debuts on Disney Plus’ streaming service but is it worthy of its critically-acclaimed company?

Hawkeye kind of came out of nowhere. We knew it was coming to Disney Plus at some point, but it wasn’t initially expected to arrive until sometime next year. So when fans found out that it would be replacing the incredibly mysterious Ms. Marvel (which has now been moved to summer 2022), most of them were less than thrilled. That is, until the fun and festive trailer premiered and basically changed everyone’s minds.

Hawkeye is set at Christmas and it explores a different side to Clint Barton’s story; one in which he is actually at the center of it. But what’s most interesting about it is that this doesn’t last long, as he finds himself having to leave his family before the holidays to tie up the darkest part of his life, only to discover the young woman who might just present him with one of the greatest adventures of it.

Two heroes; two different stories

Hawkeye is essentially a tale of two stories. On one hand, you have Clint Barton; a retired, aged-beyond-his-years Avenger still wearing the wounds of a war he stopped fighting two years ago and unable to fit into a world that sees him as a hero. On the other, you have Kate Bishop; a quirky, young archer who lives for the thrills and unwittingly finds herself caught in the middle of a murder investigation and becomes a target for a former vigilante’s greatest enemies.

But there are similarities to Clint and Kate’s stories, as both of them are living in worlds they feel out of place in. And when Kate discovers the darkness underneath the bright lights of the rich world she had grown weary of, she dons the Ronin outfit (which she found at a black market auction), drawing all the wrong kinds of attention.

Naturally, it’s up to Ronin himself (or, sorry, uh Hawkeye) to get her out of harm’s way, and for Clint, that means putting the exciting Christmas he had planned with his family on hold and bringing back the Avenger one more time.

Hawkeye is festive fun at its finest

We’ve only seen the first two episodes of Hawkeye thus far and the result is interesting, I’ll give it that. Is it the best of the MCU shows we’ve seen this year? No. Does it have the potential to be? Perhaps, but it’s definitely on track to being one of the most enjoyable.

Hawkeye has done a great job thus far of setting up the stories of both protagonists. We know Clint better so he has taken something of a back seat so that Kate can shine, and that might seem frustrating to the Hawkeye fans (because he yet again has to share the stage with another hero), but it’s definitely the right choice.

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Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop and Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye in Marvel Studios’ HAWKEYE. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. © Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. /

Kate is written with such heart and depth, imbuing the show with an overwhelming sense of youthful exuberance that it’s really easy to get drawn into her world and attached to her character. She’s full of life and Hawkeye needs that because it is a little slow-moving at the start, making the most of that six-hour-movie philosophy, but it never drags because Hailee Steinfeld is a joy to watch, capturing the essence of Kate Bishop with such ease.

On the other hand, Clint has some really powerful stories to work with, as he is still experiencing the grief, loss and guilt that has haunted him since those years before and after the events of Avengers: Endgame. His reserved persona and tainted view of the world is a nice contrast to Kate’s abundant enthusiasm and this has set the stage for what will no doubt be a learning curve for the both of them.

All in all, Hawkeye starts slow but well, laying the groundwork for a festive adventure that is shaping up to be a lot of fun. With the second episode already upping the ante, here’s hoping it continues to reach those heights that it’s capable of, because the potential is definitely there. And the Christmastime in New York setting adds a welcome dose of nostalgic festivity to it that makes it an incredibly pleasing watch regardless of what’s happening on-screen.

Hawkeye. B+. <em>Hawkeye</em> may start slow but its enjoyable leads, light-heartedness and festive setting offer up more than enough promise of an entertaining new chapter in the MCU story, and by the time the credits roll on the second episode, it’s clear that’s exactly what we’re getting.. Never Meet Your Heroes + Hide and Seek.

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The first two episodes of Hawkeye are now available on Disney Plus.

What did you think of Hawkeye‘s premiere? Did episodes 1 and 2 live up to your expectations? Let us know in the comments below!