The chemistry between Hawkeye’s leads is great, the pacing is brisk, and the humour is top-notch, something Marvel occasionally struggles with.
‘Hawkeye’ episode 1, 2 review *SPOILER ALERT*
By Joseph Agosti, Contributor
After the first two episodes of Hawkeye, I can say without hesitation, that it is shaping up to be the best of the Marvel streaming shows so far. Marvel, in my opinion, has had a spotty record with its 2021 Disney+ shows, with solid but unspectacular efforts including WandaVision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (FATWS), and Loki. All of these shows have had mainly positive reviews, but I felt on the whole they had been inconsistent.
WandaVision started strong but faded in the last few episodes before delivering a clunker of a finale. FATWS, while having strong performances and narratives, struggled with pacing and poor villains. Loki, I felt had been the strongest show so far, with a compelling new threat along with excellent chemistry between leads Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson. However, Loki struggled with too many filler episodes and would have benefitted from fewer episodes overall.
All of the flaws stated above have been addressed in the first two episodes of Hawkeye. It maintains the high intrigue and suspense of WandaVision, the lead actors Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), and Hailee Steinfeld (Kate Bishop) have excellent buddy chemistry, and most importantly the two opening episodes have a brisk pace, without feeling too rushed.
The story centers around Clint Barton, struggling with the death of Natasha Romanoff, whose death he feels responsible for. Clint ends up leaving a stage production of the events of the first Avengers movie, after seeing Romanoff on stage bringing back feelings of guilt. Combining this with a recent loss of hearing, Clint is struggling to find a balance between his former superhero life, and his old Avengers days. This brings us to the other main character, Kate Bishop. Kate is a 22-year-old college student who after her father was killed in the events of the Avengers, takes up archery after being saved by Clint as a young girl. Bishop is struggling with her mother, now engaged to Jack, someone who Kate doesn’t trust. At the engagement party, Kate, suspicious of Jack, follows Jack and his uncle Armand to an underground black market weapons auction. During the auction, the wall explodes and members of what we find out to be the Tracksuit Mafia emerge and steal the weapons. Kate, having been lurking in the background, uses her martial arts training, as well as a samurai suit to conceal her identity, fight off the mafia. Kate narrowly escapes to her apartment, while Clint watches the newscast showing the battle.
Clint recognizes the samurai suit as his old Ronin disguise he used while driven by the death of his family in Avengers Infinity War. Meanwhile, Kate, having been tracked to her apartment by the Tracksuit Mafia, is outnumbered and trapped, until Clint rescues her and takes her to safety. Turns out Clint has experience with the Tracksuit Mafia from his days as Ronin and advises Kate to stay out of the way. Clint then goes back to Kate’s burning apartment, where he realizes the Ronin suit has been stolen. Kate, looking for her mother, finds Armands dead body, further raising her suspicions about Jack.
Episode 2 picks up with Clint, forced to postpone his Christmas trip with his family, tracking down the Ronin suit at a cosplay event. This is one of my favourite parts of the show so far. Jeremy Renner, finally in the spotlight after so many movies in the background, can show off his comedic chops in a hilarious duel for the suit. After putting the suit in a safe location, Clint intentionally gets himself captured by the Tracksuit Mafia, intending to talk to their leader. Kate, meanwhile, has been meeting with her mother and Jack, intending to find Jack’s true intentions. After a not so friendly fencing duel, Kate storms off after seeing Jack with a candy bar she found by Armand’s corpse. Kate, after leaving her mothers tries to contact Clint, who is not answering her calls, so Kate uses her mother’s tracking technology to locate him during his interrogation. In the middle of the interrogation, Kate barges in through the roof, getting herself captured; the leader of the Tracksuit Mafia then emerges from the shadows with Clint and Kate at her mercy.
All in all, I really enjoyed the first two episodes of Hawkeye, the chemistry between its leads is great, the pacing is brisk, and the humour is top-notch, something Marvel occasionally struggles with. The element of Clint’s trauma from Natasha’s death is well handled and the incorporation of his hearing loss will be interesting to monitor throughout the series. Hopefully, the series continues the hot start and continues throughout its run.