Hawkeye episodes 1 & 2: Marvels gift to us all for the Holidays
Directed by Rhys Thomas
Stars Jeremy Renner, Hailee Steinfeld, Vera Farmiga, Tony Dalton, and Alaqua Cox
Disney+ has dropped plenty of Marvel Cinematic Universe-related content over the last year. Many of which landed, and I raved about, Loki, and Wandavision specifically. While I wasn't enthralled by What if.., or The Falcon and The Winter Soldier as much as the other two they were still enjoyable. Where Hawkeye will land on that list will be shown soon, but if its first two episodes which dropped yesterday are anything to go by- it'll be in the upper echelon along with Loki and Wandavision.
For starters, Hawkeye is a holiday show. Its set in New York, during Christmas, as if there could be anything more perfect than that for the location and setting. I'm a holiday suck, so instantly we've gotten bonus points for Rhys Thomas' entry into the MCU. The camera work is pretty nice, and we get some pretty good visuals of the city as our characters adventure through the freshly decorated exterior of the Big Apple. The fight scenes are well shot, and don't feel jumbled at all which helps in showing what exactly is happening as our characters fight the baddies of the universe.
The first episode is all about Kate Bishop, as it should be. We know that Steinfeld's Bishop is bound for a bigger role in the new phase of the MCU, so Hawkeyes first episode is all about introducing the broader fanbase to the character, her backstory, and why we should care moving forward for the one likely to take the Hawkeye mantle from Renner next. It's successful in doing so we understand her characters background how she came to love archery, and the attitude that she carries with her. I think many fans will be enamoured by the character much the way I was after these two episodes. Not only is Hailee Steinfeld one of the most likeable celebrities in Hollywood at the moment. Kate Bishop as a character feels a breath of fresh air, especially after much heavier implications were set up in our series that were mentioned above. Bishop is a human, not a greek god, or a witch with powers. She is a girl with a bow, who has natural human emotions such as likes, fears, and dislikes. Alongside, were introduced to the Track Suit Gang, which is the perfect first nemesis for the character- these guys are small scale underground gangsters, they aren't world enders or conquerors- they are just people that are making a profit by partaking in illegal things. It gives Bishop a friendly neighbourhood spider-man-esque feeling especially with the way she interacts with these bad guys, fans unfamiliar with her will love the smaller impact feeling and the sass that she provides.
The second episode is much stronger though because we finally get to see the interactions between Steinfelds Bishop, and Renner's Barton. They don't let us down either, the way that there's a clear generational gap and a clear gap in thinking is apparent. Barton is hardened and holding in tight the emotions of Natasha Romanoff's death in End Game. Where as Bishop sees the world far sunnier, and see's the idea of being a vigilante, a superhero, as something incredible not as a burden. Her far sunnier outlook on life clearly wears onto Barton as we see him start putting his guard down even a little during my favourite scene of both episodes, where he is participating in a LARPing event in a park. We see Clint finally put down the tough guy attitude, and show some fun and humanity that has been buried somewhat deep down after the tragedies he has witnessed as an Avenger. As well, Bishop's idolization of her favourite Avenger gives us the common comparison of Tony Stark and Peter Parkers relationship, she sees him as this great role model that's got potential to be as popular as his peers, and he sees her as a young girl that's naive and doesn't understand what she's getting herself into, yet he wants to protect her like she was one of his own kids. The second episode also pushes forward where we are headed in this holiday classic, we get our first look at Alaqua Cox's Echo, who is slated to get her own Disney+ show in the future. I'm very excited to learn more about Echo, as its a character I have zero familiarity with and will clearly play a big role moving forward in this Phase.
Other fun things that I would like to point out is the inclusion of Tony Dalton as Jack Duquesne, who comic books will know has a much larger impact on the Hawkeye story. Dalton does a brilliant job of showing how sketchy the character is, and i'm looking forward to finding out his true goals as he seems a character that keeps his thoughts and plans close to his chest. Vera Farmiga is good though she doesn't have much to do, it really shows how stacked the MCU is that we have someone as brilliant as Vera coming into the universe to play Bishop's mom. I am also very not used to her having dark hair. I'm holding out hope as well that we get the tie in of Florence Pugh's Yelena Belova sooner than later as we know she is coming after Barton.
In the end its a pretty solid first two episodes for the latest Marvel show on Disney+. Theres gonna be a lot of fun to be had for all age groups, and young girls everywhere can have a new role model to look upto in Katherine Bishop. In contrast to the rest of the released Marvel content on Disney+ this year, I would slate Hawkeye's first two episodes as the second best premiere episodes of the bunch- just behind Wandavision.