When Hawkeye was announced at SDCC 2019, I really didn’t know what to expect. Even as a fan of the Matt Fraction and David Aja run, I had no interest in the show. The trailer was intriguing but after having seen the first two episodes, I can honestly say that this show has been the biggest surprise of the year. I was not expecting to enjoy this show as much as I did. Hawkeye‘s first two episodes introduce us to new characters and set up a mystery that needs unraveling while retaining the quirks and hallmarks that make the Marvel Cinematic Universe great.
Firstly, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. This show is, at times, a carbon copy of the beloved Matt Fraction and David Aja Hawkeye run. While that might sound like a bad thing, I think it works in favour of the show. Fraction worked as a consultant on the show and his influence is obvious. The inclusions of aspects from the run never feel forced and are very cohesive and natural to me. Fraction and Aja’s run is one of the most beloved comics runs of the 21st century and adapting it to live action is something that fans have wanted for years. Seeing things like the Tracksuit Mafia and Lucky the Pizza Dog (who is SUCH a good boy) made me giddy with excitement and I cannot wait to see what else they decide to incorporate in the next four episodes.
Jeremy Renner reprises his role as Hawkeye/Clint Barton and does a great job. His character is portrayed in a more paternal way as he is depicted finally trying to be a good father to his children. I think audiences will enjoy his portrayal and the fact that he is not the star of the show. If I am being honest, the real standout for me was Hailee Steinfeld’s performance as Kate Bishop. Steinfeld brings the charm and wit to her character that comic-book readers loved when she was first introduced in 2006. She perfectly encapsulates everything Kate is as a character and is easily the standout performance of the show. I have a feeling she is going to become a fan favourite very quickly as a new hero for the next generation of MCU fans. Steinfeld is perfectly cast and I think she will have a VERY bright future in the MCU for many years to come.
With all of that already going for it, the story is still the best part for me. Without giving away too much, it revolves around Kate Bishop learning some secrets about her family and life that will eventually intertwine with Clint, who is in NYC with his children. This is the heart of the show and even though we are just two episodes in, we can already tell that someone bigger is pulling the strings. It’s only a matter of time before we find out who it is and the story cranks up to high gear.
If you couldn’t tell by now, I loved Hawkeye. I was blown away by how much I enjoyed it. The characters, the acting, the story, the action and of course, the Christmas setting all add up for a low-stakes MCU adventure. This show hits the mark (pun intended) and I genuinely cannot wait to see more of Steinfeld as Kate Bishop because she really is one of the best additions to the MCU in years. For all these reasons, I give the first 2 episodes of Hawkeye a 9/10.