The latest in the Disney+ string of Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) companion series to underexplored Avengers characters, Hawkeye, released its first two episodes for Thanksgiving week. Despite the titular character being arguably less popular than his predecessors (Wanda ‘Scarlet Witch’ Maximoff, Anthony ‘The Falcon’ Mackie, Bucky ‘The Winter Soldier’ Barnes, and Loki), the series is possibly the most hotly anticipated of the group due to the onboarding of brand-new superhero, Kate Bishop and the promise of incorporation of the film with the greater MCU and popular new character, Yelena Belova from Black Widow.
But is Hawkeye going to be the series we’ve all been waiting for? The Conservative Critic will ask: Is it entertaining? Does it have intellectual/artistic value? And is it liberal propaganda?
Conservative Critic Meter Check: Hawkeye
Overall Rating: Promising
To start with a personal note, I have not been a fan of any of the last Disney+ MCU series despite personally being a big fan of Marvel films and all of the featured characters thus far. Of all the characters Disney+ and Marvel has thus far sought to explore in a miniseries, I was the least interested in the Hawkeye character. That being said; the promotional leg work, casting and interweaving of storyline into the films really piqued my interest by the time the show was released.
Hawkeye has a lot of promise. Conceptually, the series seems to finally set-up a storyline that might be fun and exciting and fit nicely as a smaller scale MCU installment. Unlike all of its predecessors, particularly the absolutely dreadful Loki, Hawkeye does not feel the need to depart from character and story into a philosophical exploration of some esoteric concept through either tedious metaphor or heavy handed oration. Hawkeye is a fun breath of fresh air full of familiar faces and young talent. It has a lot of promise if the show continues along its current vein.
Is it entertaining?
Rating: Big Marvel Excitement
Hawkeye carefully balances high octane action with cheeky antics and witty banter. The main characters of Clint ‘Hawkeye/Ronan’ Barton and Kate ‘Also Hawkeye/Kinda Ronan’ Bishop fall from one crisis to another as the latter bites off more than she can chew stumbling into a life of crime fighting. Viewers will delight as Bishop finds her way with plenty of skills but not-so-much savvy and Barton is drawn back into a world he left behind to clean up her messes.
Packed full of bad guys, mysterious secrets and cute family connections including a one-eyed dog, Hawkeye suffers only from minor expositional delays and is overall constant entertainment.
Does it have intellectual/artistic value?
Rating: Succeeds in expensive simplicity
One of the best things about Hawkeye is that it isn’t so far up its own backside that it can’t find the light of sense. Unlike its predecessors, Hawkeye’s plot is easily connected to the main MCU and follows the formula that superhero film and series watchers are expecting. Hawkeye is a sort of advanced “buddy cop” (which is what I wanted out of The Falcon and Winter Soldier but did not get) with a clever front-man meets side-kick dynamic complete with a companion dog.
The studio spared no expense on the series which is to its benefit. The costuming looks better than even the latest feature film release, Eternals. The pyrotechnics and stunting is ample and better than another feature release, Black Widow. The Director, Rhys Thomas, and his team pay careful attention to visuals including a beautiful color scheme and use of light to promote artistry as well as aid in plot movement.
Jeremy Renner (Hurt Locker, Wind River) returning as Hawkeye does his part well and in fact with even more charm and intrigue than he has brought to the character in his past film forays. He brings an important quiet and maturity to anchor the story as opposite to Hailey Steinfield (Edge of Seventeen, Bumblebee) as Kate Bishop who gives the more chaotic and unbalanced energy of a 22 year old woman. Steinfield is a sensational and underrated talent who was nominated for an Oscar in her very first film, True Grit. One of the more nuanced in a field of young enginues, able to balance her approachability with emotional truth, Stenfield has always been able to capture humility along with charm and she does it again as Bishop. Viewers should be anxious to see her alongside another great young talent, Florence Pugh (Little Women, Black Widow) who is set to enter the series at some point reprising her role as Yelena.
Hawkeye’s quality suffers from only a few minor issues with stunted dialog and forced set-ups. Viewers will hardly notice if at all and it’s the biggest artistic success of any MCU Disney+ release to date.
Is it liberal propaganda?
Rating: No agenda
I can identify no traceable political agenda in the series so far. Its very superhero movie where there is some criminal bad guy underworld and they’re bad and the good guys are good. There doesn’t seem to be any hidden agendas either way.