Hawkeye

3 minute read

I started watching the 2021 Hawkeye tv series back when it came out in November, but only got a few episodes in before setting it aside.

Part of the reason for the stall was definitely because it was very Xmas themed and there’s only so much tacky American media portrayal of Xmas that I can stomach, especially at that time of year when it’s everywhere. Part was also because I don’t like Jeremy Renner or the way Hawkeye is written in the MCU.

However, I do have a fondness for Clint Barton Hawkeye in the comics, am a big fan of Kate Bishop Hawkeye in the comics, and also generally enjoy Hailee Steinfeld’s acting and the work of a number of the other actors in the show. So it was fairly inevitable that I’d come back and finish it eventually.

Overall thoughts – it was pretty good. I give it a 6/10. Don’t think I will bother to watch it again, but it was fun if you don’t look too close at the plot holes.

Some specifics (and many spoilers):

  • Barton’s family stuff was fine, I know why it was there, but didn’t do much for me. As a dad, if I was as beat up (historically and recently) as Barton and wanted to get back to my family, I would ask a favour from someone else in better shape/with less to lose (Winter Soldier is the first to come to mind) and go home - the toxic masculinity “nobody else will understand, I have to do it myself” stuff (and his wife’s passive acceptance) is part of what I dislike about the MCU Hawkeye
  • I liked Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez / Echo, and am happy she’s getting a series, and I really hope they actually consult relevant Indigenous groups about how to portray them properly
  • Barton’s hearing loss was an interesting mechanic, the taking out/loss of the hearing aid to put him in a silent mode focused things. But if he’s deaf in one ear and mostly in the other I’d think he’d be a lot more impaired in terms of situational awareness in combat? And less affected by sound-based attacks/loud explosions that seemed to affect him just as much as Kate? Dunno, I am not an expert in this area, would like to know more from actual disabled folks.
  • The LARPers were fun, though I wasn’t always clear was part of the group and lost track of them a few times, but generally the idea was amusing
  • Florence Pugh as Yelena was hands-down the best part of the entire show and remains one of the best characters in the MCU, and if she doesn’t get her own series and show up in future movies I’m going to be annoyed
  • I saw the twist coming very early (and/or remembered basics from the comics), and a lot of things about how it was handled and Kate’s family in general didn’t really make sense – Kate’s mom has been running a criminal enterprise for well over a decade but doesn’t seem to know how criminals work or what the impact of trying to exit that life will be? And runs a multinational security company but doesn’t seem to have any security staff attending her or at her parties, and doesn’t know how/when to get out of town or at least go into hiding?
  • The Kingpin continues to be badly handled in the MCU, though to be fair I still haven’t watched the last season of Daredevil or any of The Punisher, which I should also get on. To my mind, Kingpin is best as a criminal mastermind acting from the shadows (or hiding in plain sight in political office sometimes) – not constantly going to the scenes of crimes, not instigating fights with heroes, and not constantly having emotional outbursts.
  • The musical was an OK idea as part of the episodes, but I would’ve preferred some character building scene at the end instead of a full musical number (which was bad)

Hopefully this will be the last we see of Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton in the MCU (aside perhaps from flashbacks), and the first of many appearances of Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop.