The new Disney + miniseries takes us to Manhattan among Christmas trees, archers and crazy thugs: protagonists, not one but two Hawkeye
Clint Barton, alias Hawk eye, in movies and partly even in comics, he has always been the most unlucky Avenger, at least until his film counterpart, played by Jeremy Renner, has not made him one of the favorite heroes of the fans. Kate Bishop, her pupil / apprentice, has also become indirectly, but her editorial history is much more complicated, so much so that she was also chosen by Crystal Dynamics as the first additional character to the Marvel’s Avengers roster. Being devoid of powers, these Marvel heroes represent the most human part of a team that faces unthinkable threats, and establish a particular empathy with the typical viewer.
And indeed it is precisely on this level that Hawkeye stands Matt Fraction and David Aja, an award-winning comic series that has garnered tons of international accolades, not least an Eisner Award for the extraordinary number 11, all about the dog Lucky. It was therefore logical that Marvel Studios decided to transpose this winning concept on TV with a miniseries that debuts today on Disney+. The first two episodes are already available, out of a total of six planned to be distributed weekly until Christmas.
In our Hawkeye review we will tell you what we think and we will tell you a little about the comics that inspired it.
Here comes Kate Bishop, bro
To be perfectly honest, it’s just the screenwriter Jonathan Igla put the payload of one hundred in these two pilot episodes, which perhaps were distributed together precisely because the first of the miniseries seemed a bit limp in terms of narrative. For now, the Disney + series is limited to basing the plot, introducing the character of Kate Bishop in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a traumatic prologue set in 2012 and, more precisely, during the battle of New York: it is in that moment that Kate sees. for the first time Hawkeye, the hero who will determine a real life path, leading her to study archery and martial arts.
In the present, Kate is played by the good girl Hailee Steinfeld, which we already saw in the great Bumblebee a few years ago and who, ironically, lent the voice to Spider-Gwen in Spider-Man: A New Universe. She is also the English voice of VI in Netflix’s Arcane event series.
Steinfeld is one Kate Bishop convincing, although it is less mature and experienced than that which appears in the comic series of Fraction and Aja. Here, little more than a teenager, Kate struggles between her stunts and family life: her mother Eleanor (Vera Farmiga) is about to marry an enigmatic character that Kate obviously can’t stand, and perhaps even with good reason. His path finally crosses that of Clint Barton when Kate stumbles upon his Ronin costume, triggering a real manhunt or, in this case, the prop.
As for Clint, we find him spending Christmas in New York, in the company of his children, until he finds himself forced to chase his old costume to deal with his past. For those who forgot, Clint had turned away from the Avengers following the Blip who had obliterated his entire family, assuming the identity of the bloodthirsty vigilante Ronin.
It’s almost Die Hard
The Disney + platform is enabling a Kevin Feige and associates to experiment with different formulas in television format, where on the big screen it would be more risky. In the first two episodes Kate and Clint still act separately, mostly, but the chemistry between the two is compelling: he’s disillusioned, bored and still mourning the death of the Black Widow, while she’s gritty, full of energy and charged as a spring. Hawkeye’s strength lies above all in the squabbles between the two protagonists, with a Jeremy Renner in a big way that sells well the idea of the babysitter hero who keeps getting in trouble in spite of himself.
It must be said that the fan of the more adventurous side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe may find Hawkeye far from his ropes: the new Disney + series is above all a comedy, and the Christmas context, both visually and musical, confirms this continuously.
Hawkeye, in this sense, represents the most ironic and satirical part of the Marvel film / television imaginary. It does so with some scenes taken from the Fraction comic, such as those in which the so-called “mafiosi in suit” appear who insert “bro” in every sentence, and with some completely new sequences, such as the hilarious LARP that Clint is forced to participate to recover the costume of Ronin. The first two episodes, however, rely mainly on these gags, delimiting the few – but well-shot – action scenes while Igla develops the main storyline with much, perhaps too much calm.
With a mystery already to be solved – who killed Duquesne? – and some previously laid out subplots still pending, the next four episodes will have to answer many questions, starting with the most obvious: who is the woman who appears briefly at the end of the second episode?
Musicals, villains and comics
We tell you: her name is Alaqua Cox and she plays Maya Lopez, alias Echo. If this nickname reminds you of anything, it’s normal. It’s the title of one of the recently announced Disney + miniseries, which suggests a positive or otherwise neutral role for this new character. In the comics, Echo is the adopted daughter of Kingpin, and for this reason she is more related to Daredevil than to Hawkeye.
Despite the villain parent, Echo has a friendly but complicated relationship with the children Avengers, having also assumed Ronin’s nickname sometime before Hawkeye did (who becomes Ronin in the comics only after being brought back to life and finding out that Kate Bishop had replaced him on the team). In short, the TV series plays with roles, factions and times, shaping the history of these characters while respecting their comic origins.
The fact that Echo is the daughter of Kingpin, however, is very interesting, especially because there is a persistent rumor that the famous villain is destined to appear in the next episodes, played once again by Vincent D’Onofrio. The actor played Wilson Fisk in the three seasons of Daredevil on Netflix, a role that fans have greatly appreciated. For some time it has been rumored that that part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe could converge on Disney + through Daredevil, so much so that many are hoping for a Charlie Cox cameo as Matt Murdock in Spider-Man: No Way Home (allegedly Peter Parker’s attorney in the Mysterio murder trial). Whether this is true or not we will find out in the coming weeks, but Echo would be the perfect bridge to bring Kingpin to Disney + in a kind of soft reboot starting with Hawkeye.
These first two episodes, however, have framed very few villains, if we exclude the ridiculous mafia in Russian overalls who seem to respond to Echo but who could also be connected to Yelena Belova: the Black Widow played by Florence Pugh in the recent Black Widow should appear in the course of the miniseries, as anticipated by the scene after the credits of the aforementioned film in which Valentina Allegra de Fontaine accused Clint Barton of causing the death of Natasha Romanoff. In short, the plot thickens a lot.
The first two episodes of Hawkeye, in short, do not give us much to work in terms of conjecture and hypothesis. For now, let’s put aside Jack Duquesne, Kate’s potential stepfather who is played by Tony Dalton in the TV series and is better known in the comics as the villain called Swordsman. Instead, it is worth focusing on the many gems that contribute to building that mosaic that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe: the Avengers tower sold off by Tony Stark, the graffiti “Thanos was right” that reminds us of the Flag-Smashers movement seen in Captain America and the Winter Soldier, the musical that ridicules the Avengers despite being written by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, two award-winning Broadway songwriters who worked on Mary Poppins Returns, among other things.
- The alchemy between the two protagonists
- Action comedy tones reminiscent of Die Hard
- The first two episodes struggle to fuel
- The light tone will not appeal to those who love more serious cinecomics