By Janie Walenda
This review contains minor spoilers for the first two episodes of “Hawkeye,” as well as spoilers for the comics.
I should probably begin by apologizing to anyone who’s listened to me talk about “Hawkeye” within the past year. This was my most anticipated show from the initial MCU Disney+ lineup, and I had high expectations, and so far, “Hawkeye” has not disappointed.
One of the more surprising elements of “Hawkeye” is how heavily the show focuses on Kate Bishop, played by Hailee Steinfeld.. She is the character driving the plot, and Clint is reluctantly along for the ride. Now that Clint has been dragged into all of Kate’s problems, he’ll likely be around more. But similar to “Black Widow,” it’s rough to see a project that was supposed to be an old character’s time to shine turn into an origin story for a new character.
Clint still has amazing character development, beginning with the reveal that he’s gone partially deaf. This was one of his defining characteristics in the comics, and has been missing from the MCU for too long. I appreciated that they didn’t try to say that he’s been deaf all along; instead making it an accumulation of injuries over the years.
I also liked exploring his guilt over Natasha’s death and his reluctance to be a superhero. Clint wanting nothing to do with superhero idolatry while being the one who inspired Kate to become one is compelling, and leaves room for growth in both characters.
Watching Clint and Kate play off each other is the most entertaining aspect of the show.
While having Kate be the main character is a surprise, it’s not an unpleasant one. Hailee Steinfeld is perfectly cast. She manages to be both naïve and capable, and her banter with Clint feels like it’s ripped straight from the comics. The only way their relationship could be better is if they were to become equals, which will hopefully happen by the end of the show. I do think it’s important that she is starting off by making a lot of mistakes because otherwise, she’d feel like a “Mary Sue” (a female character who is perfect in every way.)
Rounding out our trio of main characters is Pizza Dog. While he doesn’t have a name in the show yet, Pizza Dog is called Lucky in the comics. While Clint’s the one who finds him in the comics, something that remains the same is Lucky defending Hawkeye from the Tracksuit Mafia. In the show, however, Lucky doesn’t get run over by a car, a change I’m thrilled with.
Another thing I did not expect going into this show was getting called out for being a theatre kid. “Rogers: The Musical” parodies both “Hamilton” and Broadway musicals in general, and it’s hilarious. It feels more like a Disneyland show than a legitimate Broadway show, but regardless, it’s an amazing premise that I’m glad got a full scene.
“Rogers: The Musical” is a hilarious concept that strikes all the right notes.
These first two episodes are full of fun easter eggs and possible foreshadowing. Grills, the LARP-er who stole Clint’s suit, was Clint’s neighbor and friend in the comics. He’s eventually killed by Kazi aka “The Clown,” a character who’s been in the background the first two episodes. He’s a mercenary with a tragic backstory, which I’m willing to bet has been rewritten to include Ronin.
An interesting change from the comics is the roles of Kate’s parents, Eleanor and Derek Bishop. In the comics, Eleanor was the one who died while Kate was young but was later revealed to be alive. Meanwhile, Derek raised Kate while working as a criminal. It’s likely that these roles will be reversed and Eleanor will become a villain, possibly taking the mantle of Madame Masque, one of Kate’s primary antagonists in the comics.
It remains to be seen whether Kate’s stepfather-to-be, Jack Duquesne, is a villain, or simply a red herring. He’s based on a comic book villain, Swordsman, who became an anti-hero, which is where I’d like to see the MCU version end up. This is only because I think the dynamic of Kate and Jack working together against Eleanor would be hilarious.
The biggest easter egg, however, isn’t even connected to Hawkeye at all. The last minutes of the second episode introduces us to Maya Lopez, aka Echo. She will likely serve as our primary antagonist for most of the series and already has a confirmed Disney+ show. She’s also the adopted daughter of Kingpin, an iconic Spiderman and Daredevil villain. While a new actor might be cast, there have been rumors that Vincent D’Onofrio, from Netflix’s “Daredevil” will appear in “Hawkeye,” officially bringing the Marvel Netflix shows into the MCU.
Janie Walenda is a freshman Global Business major and an A&E writer for Cedars. She enjoys watching musicals and movies as well as rereading the same books ten times over.