I don’t mind admitting, when Hawkeye was first announced as an addition to Marvel’s TV line up, I was more than a little skeptical. Having an entire TV series devoted to a character that until now has gotten precious little development compared to his Mighty colleagues. Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) has always been given glimpses of character development that have arguably never been fully realized.
Right from the beginning, it was a powerful reminder of the actual effects of the events of The Avengers. Although Iron Man 3 started showing the impacts on Tony Stark as an individual, Marvel has never really subsequently addressed the fact that New York was absolutely wrecked, and that came with a cost. It was heartrending to see how these events became an origin story for Kate Bishop (Haliee Steinfeld).
What can be said about Steinfeld that hasn’t yet been written about. Coming off of her success in Dickinson, Steinfeld is exactly the hero we need to take us into Marvel’s next phase. While a Young Avengers project has not been officially confirmed, her character’s leadership skills are obvious and Steinfeld has more than enough presence and charisma to carry this and future Marvel entries. The trailer for Hawkeye made her look so impressive as a character, and she absolutely delivered from the series’ first episode. She will no doubt lead a new generation of young women and girls to take up archery, continuing in the long line of fictitious archers before her.
It must also be said that it was commendable storytelling to finally see the incorporation of Clint Barton’s hearing aids, an unmistakable part of the character in the comics in which he appears. This has been brought up by so many members of the disability community who are Marvel fans, and it was definitely a step in the right direction to incorporate disability into mainstream franchises like Marvel.
Hawkeye also had the introduction of what will hopefully not become a forgettable villain in Jack Duquesne (Tony Dalton), the evil fiancé of Bishop’s mother Eleanor (Vera Farmiga). The Tracksuit Mafia seems set up to join the long list of Marvel villains and groups of villains destined to make essentially no impact and become a faceless hoard for the heroes to overcome.
Hawkeye, right from the first episode has established itself as very much a street-level superhero story. With its slower pace, it’s very much a Daredevil-esque origin story of a hero facing shadowy underworld figures that impact the lives of ordinary, everyday people. It even has early renditions of an iconic suit, with Kate Bishop suiting up in Barton’s Ronin getup.
It’s also impossible to talk about Hawkeye’s first episode without talking about ‘Rogers: The Musical”. First of all, we all need more Adam Pascal in our lives, and that’s just a fact. ‘Rogers: The Musical” is cringe in the best possible way, and fans have already been clamouring to have a full length version released immediately. If this actually were to happen, fans might join Hawkeye in turning down the volume completely to tune it out. Maybe it’s best left to the merchandise, which fans will no doubt revel in purchasing in multitudes.
If there has to be one complaint to be made about Hawkeye’s inaugural episode, it was that there was not nearly enough screen time for Pizza Dog. We can only hope the rest of the season, all five remaining episodes involve Pizza Dog teaming up with our human heroes and taking lots of bites out of lots of bad guys. He deserves all the treats immediately, and we can only hope he finds his forever home with our titular heroes.
Hawkeye established itself as a curious and intriguing entry as Marvel expands its repertoire into stories made for television. Hopefully Hawkeye will not be subject to the backlash WandaVision was for being a slower-paced, more drawn out story than Marvel fans are used to. In Hawkeye’s case, patience may very well be worth it.
New episodes of Hawkeye air Wednesdays on Disney+.