Another Disney + show that makes you need to buy into its service so that you can stay caught up to the Marvel Cinematic Universe canon. While the MCU has struggled with their TV show add-ons they have been mostly enjoyable. Hawkeye is the latest outing and so far the best. With the last episode just airing last week, we thought it would be a good opportunity to give those yet to jump on a recommendation for Hawkeye. While it might not be the most emotionally impactful or that important to the MCU canon, it’s a fun experience thanks to humor, action, and some of the best casting in the MCU. With all that said, it still falls for similar shortcomings that all MCU shows have.
There isn’t that much to shout out about when it comes to Hawkeye’s story, but there’s still a lot to like about it. The show’s story takes place not long after Avengers: Endgame, following Clint Barton and newcomer Kate Bishop as they have to deal with Clint’s crimes during Endgame. The story sets up for some pretty fun action set-pieces, has some great humor that doesn’t bog any story (unlike some other MCU projects), and has some amazing characterization. It does a better job approaching Clint’s past than any of the movies have, while also better honoring the Black Widow character than her own movie did. Though the show might seem unimportant with it’s additions to the MCU being negligible, I would argue this works in the show’s favor. The only concerns to the larger canon have to do with the introduction or reintroduction of certain characters which I’m sure won’t be that complicated in the future. But the show is also not tied down by any obligations to the larger canon. This makes for a more loose and enjoyable viewing experience without having to worry about how it’s going to tie into the next movie. Hawkeye isn’t about adding to the larger canon, it’s about having its own fun.
Hawkeye is the first MCU show to have more than one director and I consider it to be the best directed of the shows. There isn’t anything technically impressive about the direction, but it has so much character. There’s a certain excitement in the way that the show is directed with bright colors and lively editing.
By far the best part of this show is its two leads. Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld as Clint Barton and Kate Bishop are incredible. Their chemistry is on point, they feel like equal leads, and they both have strong arcs. I’m especially happy to see Hailee Steinfeld nail my favorite version of the Hawkeye character. If anything, this show is worth watching for Hailee Steinfeld alone.
I will complain about the villain, the show builds up to one big bad with a mystery. The problem is that who the real villain feels very obvious. Because of this, it can feel like the show is playing up a mystery that isn’t actually important.
Supporting characters can also feel short-changed. The show’s approach to characterization is so strong that I couldn’t help but feel like I wasn’t seeing enough of the supporting cast. This might actually be a compliment to the overall writing of the show because it left me wanting more. Still, it’s hard not to feel like Hawkeye couldn’t have benefited from another episode or two.
Lastly, Hawkeye has the same issue that has plagued most MCU shows. This show does not work in a weekly format. Granted, this will be an issue that gets better after the show is completely out, but it’s also a mistake that Disney keeps making. This show was made to be binged with a story that just feels like a really long movie, but you are forced to wait weekly. I think that Disney + just wants to fill out time between shows but it’s hard not to feel like the pacing is killed by this move. Again, this will become less of an issue with the show being over, but this is worth stressing because this is an approach that the service will likely continue using. MCU shows continue to work best by just waiting until they’re over and then watching.
If you haven’t jumped on board to Hawkeye now is probably better than any other time. While not perfect, the show’s worst flaws will likely not exist by the time you start watching. This is my favorite of the MCU show offerings just because of the fun factor. While it doesn’t make any big moves for its larger universe, Hawkeye is one of the most fun viewing experiences on MCU television.