TL;DR – This is a strong foundation, with exciting characters and some nuanced acting.
Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ subscription that viewed this show.
Hawkeye Review –
To be honest, if there was one of the new MCU shows that did not interest me at all on the announcement, it was Hawkeye. I am not sure what it was that cooled my reception to the series, but it fell completely flat, that is until I saw the first trailer. In an instant, I got what the show was about and went from not interested to engaged very quickly and now, seeing the first episode. I think I was right in that assertion.
So to set the scene, it is 2012, and a young Kate Bishop (Clara Stack) is listening in on her parents because all is not right with money. But before she has time to process that, her world explodes as the Battle of New York is fought around her. It is here where she first sees Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and after the death of her father (Simon Callow), she convinces her mother (Vera Farmiga) that she needs to learn archery. Today, a now adult Kate (Hailee Steinfeld) is sneaking into Stane Tower for a bet … and accidentally destroys a bell tower in the process.
At the heart of it, this is an episode of set-up, and it has quite a lot to get through. We need to know both Kate’s backstory and her abilities. We need to know about her relationship with her family and the tensions around that. On the flip side, we need to get a sense of where Hawkeye is in his post-Endgame life and how he is adjusting to both losing his best friend and shifting back into the family life after years spent exterminating organised crime. Finally, after all of that, we need to introduce the mystery of the season that will complicate everything we have been told so far.
With this much plot to get through, I was afraid it would just settle for exposition dumps of dialogue, and there is a little bit of this. But thankfully, most of the story is told through clever dialogue exchanges, through subtle innuendo, things left unsaid, and through actions. This leads us to the action in the show, and the three scenes we got were quite good. I liked how they used wine bottles in ways rather than the usual smash on the head and glass shatters. It was also good in this episode to show in the action scenes that Kate has a lot of training but still needs a lot of refinement.
It is in those quieter moments where the show shines, and I think a lot of that goes into the acting. Hailee Steinfeld hits the ground running and is immediately charming and fun to watch on screen. Her character’s world is about to get flipped on its head, so I am glad that we get that connection instantly. Also, I want to give a shout out to Ava Russo, who plays Hawkeye’s daughter. She is playing this role where she is being strong for everyone but is also old enough to know how damaged, and fragile everything is. Finally, there is Jeremy Renner, who is giving a much more nuanced performance this time around, and I think that will be a great asset for the show.
In the end, do we recommend Never Meet Your Heroes? Yes, yes, we would. This is an excellent foundation episode that hits the ground running. But it is also an episode of odd juxtapositions, and also some interesting themes are starting to be developed. If nothing else, I would recommend it for how it perfectly roasts some Broadway adaptations.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Hawkeye
Directed by – Rhys Thomas
Written by – Jonathan Igla
Created by – Jonathan Igla
Production/Distribution Companies – Marvel & Disney+
Starring – Jeremy Renner, Hailee Steinfeld, Tony Dalton, Fra Fee, Brian D’arcy James, Aleks Paunovic, Piotr Adamczyk, Simon Callow, Vera Farmiga & Linda Cardellini with Carlos Navarro, Ben Sakamoto, Ava Russo, Cade Woodward, Clara Stack, Nichele Lambert, Regina Bryant, Brian Troxell, Aaron Nedrick, Avery Gillham, Harris Turner, Jason Scott MacDonald, Meghan Manning, Nico DeJesus, Tom Feeney & Jordan Chin