Review: ‘Hawkeye’ series a Flawed but Wonderful Way to Close Out the Year

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With the holiday season in full swing, Marvel Studios is closing 2021 with a bang. If the one-two emotional punch of Spider-Man: No Way Home wasn’t enough, Marvel Studios snuck a peek at your Christmas List and delivered a heartwarming present that is Hawkeye. The six-part series served as both a holiday celebration and the first solo outing for our archer in purple. While the show did have some hiccups as Marvel learns how to grow its television projects, Hawkeye was a wonderful way to close out the first very full year of new Marvel properties on Disney+. 

Warning: Spoilers from Hawkeye are below!

At the core of the holiday season is about the time shared with family and friends, a sentiment that is reflected in Hawkeye. The emotional push from episode one was Clint Barton’s (Jeremy Renner) desire to be with his family on Christmas. After 5 years of mourning them due to their disappearance in the snap, Clint had a lot of lost time that he wanted to make it up to his children and wife. This drive was felt in almost every moment of the series, as fans watched Clint not only attempt to make it home for the ugly sweaters and movie marathons but also in his need to protect his family from his terrible past as Ronin.

However the series also showed that it’s not about the family we have, but those who join our family on the journey back home. The relationship between Clint and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) grew from unlikely and unwanted partners to a family with a bond that would take more than a sonic arrow to destroy. Throughout the series, we saw Kate yearn for a functional relationship with her mother, after the shocking death of her father in the opening moments of the show. While that relationship may still be repaired in the long run, her relationship with Clint showed Kate that people could still be inherently good. The two balanced a mentor-mentee relationship well, though it tipped more towards a father and daughter relationship in the closing moments of the series.

One of the best twists and shocks that everyone saw coming was the re-introduction of Kingpin into the MCU proper. The last time we saw Vincent D’Onofrio in the role was back in season three of Daredevil, which fans have long since thought erased from canon. D’Onofrio brought the same excellent performance and energy he had in Daredevil, even in the short amount of time we saw him. I look forward to a long and prosperous future with the kingpin, one I have laid out in Macro Marvel Part 1. It did feel odd to see him interacting in the larger MCU without Charlie Cox as the devil in red, but it seems to be leading to something bigger.

Hailee Steinfeld is exceptional as Kate, my personal pick from the moment they announced Kate’s arrival in the MCU. She embodied the character both physically and through her witty nature. Seeing her feed off the comedic energy of Renner and Florence Pugh, who returns as fan-favorite Yelena, was something special. The vibes between Pugh and Steinfeld were electric, perhaps hinting at future crossovers for our two heroines.  As well, Vera Farmiga dazzled as Eleanor Bishop. The way she balances protective mother with the sinister villain role that came out later in the series.

While the show is high up on my list of Marvel Studios projects from 2021, that doesn’t mean it didn’t have its issues. The show suffered from too much story in not enough screen time. The story that was set up in the first half of the season needed a few more episodes to reach proper conclusions. Instead, the ending felt rushed in many different ways, with some of the storylines left hanging. 

The one that felt egregious the most was the story involving the mysterious watch. In episode one, the Tracksuit mafia exploded into the black market auction looking for a watch. While it ended up belonging to Laura Barton (Linda Cardellini), seemingly linking her to the character of Mockingbird, viewers never got a reason why that watch was so important to Kingpin. Perhaps we will get closure on this story in another project, which I hope so because I would love to see Cardellini flourish in a role like Mockingbird. However, the twist felt just thrown in there in relation to the overall story of Hawkeye.

In addition, I found myself pondering the re-watchability of the show a few times throughout its run. Specifically, would the Christmas vibes and backdrop stop me from watching it at any other time except Christmas? I don’t have an answer for that question yet, I hope that it doesn’t happen that way. 

Regardless of the couple of issues that it did have, Hawkeye gave me the story of one of my favorite Avengers and the new generation of heroes that he has and will continue to inspire. But what do you think? Did you enjoy Hawkeye or did it leave you wanting more?

Hawkeye is now streaming, exclusively on Disney+.

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