Review: Marvel’s “Hawkeye” misses the mark

Long-time Avenger Hawkeye trains a protégé in the new Disney Plus series. Picture courtesy of IMDb

In 2015, Jeremy Renner went on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" in character as the Avenger Hawkeye. In a parody of the song "Living Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran, he listed all the powers that make the archer just as impressive as characters like Captain America and The Hulk, such as being able to get free guacamole at Chipotle and being really good at Mario Kart. The point of the joke, of course, being that the Hawkeye character just isn't as exciting as his colleagues, which may explain why he is the only original Avenger to not have his own film. Thanks to Disney Plus's new 'Hawkeye" series that debuted on Nov. 24, audiences finally have the chance to see what the character is all about. Unfortunately, the show makes him even more uninteresting than in the song.     

“Hawkeye” is the newest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The show sees Jeremy Renner reprise his role as Clint Barton, better known as the bow and arrow-wielding superhero Hawkeye, as he confronts his past and tries to make it home to his family in time for Christmas. Whether he likes it or not, Hawkeye is forced to partner with Kate Bishop, an impulsive college student who is his near-equal when it comes to archery and who has her own demons to confront.

The story is told across a six episode miniseries, the first three episodes of which are currently available to stream on Disney Plus. One of the nice things about Marvel’s foray into television is that it allows some stories to play out in a longer format than if they were made into films. Six hour-long episodes allow Hawkeye to stay in the spotlight roughly three times as long as a traditional movie, which would typically run two hours or so. This means the show should have the chance to give the character his due after largely being relegated to a role as a minor character in the Avengers films, but “Hawkeye” the show doesn’t seem to have to actually say about Hawkeye the character. With his series half over, audiences have learned nothing new about Hawkeye other than he’s a weary guy and now he wears hearing aids. Ultimately, there’s a sense of disinterest in who Hawkeye is from the writers that makes it clear Renner will shuffle off into the sunset by the end of the series in favor of Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop.


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