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Marvel’s Hawkeye Hits the Mark on Disney Plus

Kate Bishop (Hailee Stanfield) and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) in the new Disney+/Marvel Studios mini-series, "Hawkeye."
Kate Bishop (Hailee Stanfield) and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) in the new Disney+/Marvel Studios mini-series, “Hawkeye.” Marvel Studios/Disney Plus

“This is the first Christmas we’ve had together in years,” Ava Russo as Lila Barton tells her father Clint.

“I love you guys. I’m making up for some lost time,” Jeremy Renner says as Clint, aka Hawkeye in the Marvel Universe.

Similar to the police officer promising his family he’ll finally be home that night, Hawkeye may never be able to keep this pact. For a superhero who is frequently called on to save the world, there’s not much balance between family life and protecting humanity. 

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Following the mind-bending, genre-mashing WandaVision and the loopy Loki, Hawkeye delves into the ‘normal’ life that a superhero might try to lead and the almost impossible nature of that quest. Streaming now on Disney+, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s new Hawkeye miniseries presents the archer’s attempt at a quieter, family-centric existence that’s interrupted by the perpetual demand for justice and the rounding-up of bad guys. 

In Hawkeye’s case, it’s not a supervillain, but young archer Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) who almost certainly is going to make ‘Clint’ (as the Hawk now wants people to call him) miss his promised family Christmas after she steals the superhero’s Ronin suit.

“When I wore this suit, I made a whole lot of enemies,” Clint/Hawkeye tells Bishop when he catches up with her. 

And now, of course, those enemies are back. With the nascent archer Bishop in tow, Hawkeye is trying to wrap up several loose ends “in a day or two,” so that he can return to a bucolic family life.

Without revealing too much (but yes, spoilers very much ahead), we learn that Hawkeye saved Bishop when she was a kid. In a quality callback to MCU events of almost ten years ago, we find out that Bishop was in New York City when Loki and the Chitauri attacked in 2012. Using footage from The Avengers, we see that the little girl lost her father (Brian d’Arcy James) and could have lost her own life had it not been for a single arrow shot by an Avenger named Hawkeye. 

This gives instant credence to why Bishop picks up a bow and arrow in the first place. In Hawkeye’s opening credits, we find Bishop training to be the superhero who avenges her father’s death, practicing fencing and martial arts in addition to archery. At the same time, Hawkeye is able to mix some levity and reality into this action. Even though Bishop has trained her entire young adult life for this moment, she’s still a kid, so the aspiring hero applies her skills to pranks like destroying a priceless clock tower. Now, however, after stealing Hawkeye’s suit, she’s got the Russian mafia after her, along with the recently retired Clint.

Reviews for the first two episodes have been very positive, with the affable, exuberant Bishop playing well off the stoic and somewhat grumpy Hawk. The story only ratchets up the tension, portending an excellent story arc through the next four parts. New episodes will be released every Wednesday through the series season one finale on Dec. 22. 

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