“Hawkeye”: a disappointing entry in the Marvel Universe

Do not expect much out of this mini-series.


Disney+ has struck again with a new piece of Marvel content in the form of a mini-series about no one’s favorite Avenger, Hawkeye. If Hawkeye is your favorite Avenger, I have to ask, “Why?” What has he done and what do you know about him that makes you like him? Well, I thought “Hawkeye”  would make me form an opinion on Clint Barton. But no, this series is not even about Clint Barton, at least not to the extent I wanted and expected. While “Hawkeye” does add depth to the character, it feels too little too late, and I think this series has wasted potential. 

Warning: This next part is going to contain spoilers for the entire Marvel universe up to this date and especially the series “Hawkeye.”

Summary: At the start of the series, we see a young Kate Bishop and her family as the attack on New York commences from Marvel’s “The Avengers” movie. In it we see Hawkeye shoot arrows at technologically advanced aliens and somehow stay alive (which I think it is pretty cool that a guy with a bow and arrow is wrecking aliens), but we see it from Kate’s perspective, which portrays him as a hero. This is rightfully so, as he saves her life, which inspires Kate to be a hero herself.  

After this introduction and a really freaking cool animation sequence which outlines Kate Bishop being good at everything archery and martial arts related, Kate goes to a charity event where she sees her mom doing some suspicious things and spies on her soon-to-be step-dad in an underground auction while he tries to buy a sword. The underground auction goes wrong and Bishop ends up stealing a suit, which happens to be the infamous Ronin. After making a public escape from the auction on a busy New York street in costume, the world believes Ronin has returned from his hiatus. Crime lords, as well as Clint Barton, who used to be Ronin, start to track her down. After fighting some of these crime lords’ thugs, Barton saves her and takes Kate under his wing as he tries to rescue her from all the thugs coming after Ronin. One of the characters coming after Ronin is Maya Lopez, who had her father killed by Barton during the blip. 

Despite what I said earlier in this review, I really like this premise. It has the potential to showcase a theme about accountability for Barton and also effectively introduce a new character into the Marvel universe with Bishop. Let us say that these thugs come after Ronin and hurt Bishop. That sequence would portray a theme about responsibility for Barton’s actions, and it is also a great way to improve their relationship as mentor and apprentice. There are numerous other ways to go with the show that I think would also be entertaining themes. Unfortunately, we do not get that. 

Instead, the mini-series focuses on Bishop’s character and her family’s plot. As the show progresses, we see Bishop go from suspicious of her step-dad to being suspicious of her mom, which brings a good twist towards the end of the season. On Barton’s side of the plot, however, we see Yelena Belova (Natasha Romanoff’s sister) seek her own revenge on Barton for the death of her sister, who Barton tried to save. And, Barton convinces Maya that her dad’s death was caused by Kingpin (Maya’s boss), not Ronin. The final battle wages and Bishop ends up beating Kingpin and finds out her mother has been working with him ever since her father died. Barton faces down Belova, who is blaming him for her sister’s death and Barton also ends up convincing her it is not her fault. After Bishop beats Kingpin, we see Maya confront Kingpin, and at the end of their encounter, the camera pans away and a gunshot can be heard off-screen, leaving some mystery as to whether Kingpin is alive or not.

Review: While I did not enjoy this show, I think it is only fair that I talk about the good as well as the bad. My favorite part of the show was Bishop’s character; her story is well thought out and her motivations make sense. Hailee Steinfeld also does a great job with the character, and her charisma really carried the show. The only problem I have with Steinfeld’s character is that she is a bit overpowered. This is becoming a theme in Marvel content, where they do not properly train and develop the hero’s skills. I understand that she won a big martial arts trophy and is on the college archery team, but in my head, while that stuff is a good starting point, she should not be able to shoot as accurately as Barton. We can allow Barton to be a good shot and expert martial artist since his origin story is never concretely established in the movies, and so we can not draw his skills back to anything in particular. But with Bishop, we know her whole origin. I am sorry, but shooting a diving shot with any accuracy should not be possible for a college archery team member. 

I also really like the art at the end of each episode; it was honestly more entertaining than some of the episodes themselves. 

As far as the good from the show goes, that is about it. The twist about Bishop’s parents is mediocre, not really predictable but nothing special. The show looked fine besides those dumb slime arrows. The villains are pretty bland. They are goofy but have no excuse to be because they are not funny. I did not like the whole Christmas theme either. It did not fit the other themes of the show. The plot was about a bunch of bad guys trying to get revenge on a guy who murdered much of the criminal underworld and a girl being trapped in the middle of it. While it was tackling those, it was also trying to be a fun Christmas show. That is not what a Christmas show should be about.

Now it is time for the bad. To start it off, I thought the soundtrack was terrible. I get they wanted to make it Christmas-themed, but even then they could have made it a little more upbeat for the action sequences. The action scenes were not terrible, but compared to what we get from the rest of the Marvel universe, it was not great. And, the whole trick arrows thing makes me want to shove an arrow through my eye. 

As I already said, the villains in the show were not great. I liked Maya in the first episode she was in, but after that, she was not as threatening and eventually tossed aside to allow Belova’s character room to fight Barton. Also, what was the whole thing with Barton’s hearing aid? That never came up in the show again and had no impact on the story. Kingpin was also disappointing; a menacing crime lord should not be able to be beaten by an inexperienced Bishop. That whole fight scene did not make sense. Why would Kingpin put himself in danger like that? I do not know, but this also follows the goofy villain’s problem I talked about. They made him menacing in one episode, then just disappointing in the next.

On a more important note, my main gripe with the show is the handling of Barton. I think that he should have had more of the story focused on him. I understand Marvel was trying to introduce a new character with Bishop but first you need to pay respect to the original character. There were so many good themes surrounding him too, like facing the consequences of his actions from his time during the blip. If handled properly, the insertion of Belova could have been a really good way for us to learn more about Barton and how he was handling Romanof’s death. Instead, the show decided to focus on the new character. While disregarding the story of a long-running character in the Marvel universe. They could still give Barton plenty of screen time while also effectively introducing Bishop for future Marvel content. 

Overall “Hawkeye” is a show with wasted potential and is one of my least favorite chapters of the post-”Endgame” Marvel era. It is fine if you are just looking for an enjoyable experience with some funny moments, but do not expect much out of this one. 

For me, this show gets a 6.5/10.