Hawkeye Misses its Mark

Disney+

*Contains Spoilers
Hawkeye is like putting a huge bow on a broken gift, it presents itself in glitzy shiny wrapping but the insides are shattered.

Hawkeye, The TV mini-series and latest installment of Marvel Disney+ dropped around Thanksgiving just in time for the holiday season. The 6-episode series is based on the Marvel Comics superhero Hawkeye, and centers around soon-to-be Young Avenger Kate Bishop, as the two archer masters are forced to work together to uncover a conspiracy and murder mystery. While it has a sensational cast and many joyous and charming moments, the half-decent Christmas action series was poorly executed and had no focus with too many inconsistent targets.

Marvel fans are split down the middle, as some fans are praising it, others consider it to be the worst of all the Marvel+Disney series. Why was the series so disappointing to so many fans? While Hawkeye, clearly adapts the critically acclaimed Hawkeye Marvel Comics (2012) run from Matt Fraction and David Aja, it didn’t know what it wanted to focus on, and shifted episodically. The only memorable moments are cameos, the plot was drastically rushed and erratic, and there were so many wasted character opportunities. Also where were the cops the entire series, larping?? There was no reason at all for all the excessive destruction and millions of dollars of damages Clint and Kate caused. 

Hawkeye insignificant/ Ruined Ronin

Considering the series was set up to introduce Kate Bishop to the MCU, Clint took a backseat in his own series but Kate doesn’t appear ready to take up the mantle. 

Hawkeye, picks up after Avengers: End Game with archer Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) dealing with the ramifications of his vigilante spree as Ronin, making him the target of many international criminals. It’s Christmas time in New York City, and all Barton wants to do is put the past behind him and spend the holidays with his family. That is until meeting his would-be-apprentice Kate Bishop, as they get caught up in a murder mystery and team up against an underground mob syndicate, and a much bigger threat later revealed to be Kingpin.

The series features a street-level Hawkeye dealing with low-level missions not needing the assistance or the assembling of the rest of his Avengers teammates. With Avengers tower destroyed, relics are popping up around NYC, and Ronins suit and sword show up at a secret auction. Clearly in a dark place, after losing his family in the Snap, Clint took on the alias of the bloody merciless assassin Ronin, now Clint must confront his Ronin past as a copycat is resurfacing. What the show does successfully is show Clint’s tremendous personal guilt and his reasoning for cleaning up his mess even though his family was restored in the Blip.

However, the show fails at showing the significance of the suit and all the damage and bloodshed “Ronin” caused. We briefly saw Ronin in Japan in Endgame but we barely got a glimpse of how supposedly deadly Ronin is in this series, or why it affected Clint so deeply.

(Bishop) Hailee Steinfeld, Disney+

Is Kate Really Ready?

Let’s move on to Kate. While, perfectly cast Hailee Steinfeld, was a fantastic Kate Bishop. She was quirky, naive and relatable. However, the fight scenes were not well-executed or believable. The fight choreography didn’t seem natural at all, as if the tracksuits were taking turns getting their ass whooped. It was beyond brainless for her to still be wearing the Ronin suit after being attacked and wearing it foolishly around the city. How could anyone mistake this little girl for Ronin? Have these men actually fought the real Ronin before? Although, this could just be a joke to emphasize how stupid the Tracksuit Mafia bros are. They really do say “bro” 50% of the time in the comics.

Kate has no powers, nor super strength; she went to Karate school, took fencing, won some trophies, and suddenly thinks she’s an avenger ready to take on a highly trained Black Widow assassin and lethal Kingpin. The series should’ve shown her being properly trained and Clint actually taking time to show her the ropes. The coin toss trick was not enough preparation. They should’ve teamed up together to take on Kingpin.

Are Clint and Bishop responsible for terrorizing the city?

Of course, not every superhero story has to be world-ending and Thanos level threat, but this series had no direct premise. Not only did they cause millions of dollars worth of destruction, nearly blow up the bridge and wreak havoc but no one is talking about how badly they ruined Christmas. They destroyed Rockefeller Center, they are absolutely to blame. Where’s Shield, where’s the lawsuits and the police? What was Kingpin’s plan because there was no actual reason for them to get involved, or anything legitimately justifying all the damage they caused. Where were the cops all series long? Clint is blowing up the bridge and terrorizing midtown and there are no cops on site, not until the end to conveniently arrest Kate’s mom. Also how many NYC police officers would actually larp. The larpers were embarrassingly cringy and unbelievable. Was this the backup Clint referred to? Fans do appreciate the nod to Clint’s classic suit, but did these officers really take time to change into viking costumes during a massive shootout, and did Clint think it was okay to risk all their lives?

DIY Trick Arrows

 They built intricate trick arrows in a couple of hours. This made no sense, this was so rushed, Clint should’ve just had a secret stash. While it was very cool to see these in action, some of the trick arrows were not worth all the trouble and completely pointless to immobilize when they could’ve just used regular arrows. Having Pym Tech Arrows readily available made more sense.

Downplayed Yelena

Yelena, (Florence Pugh) may have been the best part of this series. The dynamic between her and Kate was golden, and their comedic banter was a great addition to the series and actually enjoyable to watch. Some scenes were a bit overdone, like the macaroni and cheese, but Yelena was still charming as these two together were some of the stronger scenes. While the comedic part was well executed, the fighting between these two didn’t make much sense. Yelena could kill Kate with her pinky, so they should’ve emphasized that she was just playing around and going easy on her as Clint was her real target. 

Yelena and Clint had a Martha moment 

There was a brief moment where they connected reminiscing about Natasha, but overall the scene was wasted. The fight we were waiting for since the Black Widow end credit was a very underwhelming confrontation that ended with a “Martha moment” as Clint and Yelena whistled. This scene was rushed, and insignificant as it was public knowledge and the world already knew about Natasha Sacrificing herself. We find out that Eleanor was the one who hired Yelena to kill Clint, so there must be some connection between Eleanor and Valentina, who we saw hire Yelena in the BW post-credits scene. This brings me to other changes that weren’t clearly established.

The MCU made some significant changes to several origin stories in Hawkeye.

Swordsman/ Eleanor

The Irony of Jack Duquesne being innocent turned out to be the best part, initially the series tried to paint Jack aka the Swordsman as the villain. He was corny, arrogant and Kate had it in for him. In the comics Jack is both a supervillain and a superhero that has a long history with Barton and actually trains Barton in swordsmanship and archery. It worked perfectly for the tone of the series that he was devious yet naive and possibly completely innocent in all this. This made his character so much more enjoyable, that maybe he just really loves playing with swords. 

Eleanor is revealed to be the villain, which many fans were suspicious of since episode 1. The series completely changed Kate’s parents’ fates from the comics as her father is the one that dies. I had no issue with making Eleanor the villain, it was expected, however it was not well executed. In the last episode the scene between Kate and Eleanor was anticlimactic. The only reason she was involved was because of her husband’s debts? So essentially she was protecting her daughter, not to say murder is the way to go but what makes it any different from Clint’s transgressions. They did not establish how involved she was, what her husband was involved in, how she was threatened or forced to become a part of this enterprise. Kate showed no remorse or concern for putting her mother in jail so casually, yet she forgave Clint for Ronin without a question when Clint committed murder ruthlessly.

Ruined Opportunities: Kazi (Clown)/ Maya (Echo)

The tracksuit Mafia was supposed to be the most prominent threat throughout the show, while asinine they are extremely deadly. In the MCU, the group work for Fisk under the orders of Maya Lopez/ Echo and the highest ranking operative Kazi Kazimierczak. The series seriously misused Kazi AKA Clown, as he is supposed to be a lethal hitman who doesn’t miss with no form of morality. Think the Joker with Deadshot’s aim.

Clown AKA Kazi

Kazi is extremely skilled in firearm use, wears clown makeup and is very unsettling. The series lost the fear his character creates, there was no sense of threatening aura or even mercenary skills as he missed all his shots. The MCU completely misused this character and lost a great opportunity for a true villain as they downplayed him to merely a translator for Echo. His fight with Hawkeye was an embarrassing matchup.


Comic fans were ecstatic to see Echo on the big screen, as she is such an underrated character. Maya Lopez was actually the original Ronin, which was another disappointment to how little the show did for representing Maya. Alaqua Cox was perfectly cast as the deaf assassin, she brought so much strength, confidence and overall badassery to Maya, but was it enough? Bringing Echo into the show made perfect sense to tie her to Kingpin, who practically raises her in the comics. They changed a few things comic wise as she is led to believe Murdock was responsible for her fathers death, but this wasn’t a big deal as we are still getting these characters in the MCU!! The only issue is the show did nothing to develop her character. While the fight scenes with Maya were great she only appeared as an interesting henchman to non comic readers. The plot did nothing to establish what kind of relationship she had with Kazi, or even her close connection to Fisk.

Lopez (Alaqua Cox) Disney+ She’s a deaf hero with the kinds of photographic reflexes we associate with Taskmaster, and an expert fighter. Her father was a soldier for the Kingpin, and after he died, Maya was raised by Wilson Fisk himself.


If you aren’t already a fan of Maya Lopez or Echo from the comics, the show didn’t do much to entice viewers to want to see her in her own spinoff, is this just a placeholder?

Changed Kingpin

Which finally brings me to the biggest disappointment, Kingpin. While literally screaming and excited to see D’Onofrio return as the big bad bald it was definitely not the same Fisk we loved in DareDevil. While yes D’Onofrio is essentially playing the same character, and the studios confirmed he is the same Wilson Fisk, this version was clearly not the same iteration from Netflix. Kingpin felt completely different, similar to Nicholas Cage reprising his role in Ghost Rider, this can’t be the same guy.

This kingpin was a joke, he wasn’t serious, he wasn’t cultured or calculated. While yes, he did wear the Hawaiian shirt in the comics but he felt like a completely different character. The Kingpin we saw in DD was sharp, oozed wealth and class. He had refined taste, only wanted the most luxurious in every aspect of his life. Everything he did was calculated to perfection. The tracksuit mafia was a joke beneath his standards, he was tacky and not nearly as brutal as his first depiction, Kate should’ve been near death. Also this version was superhuman, he got hit by a car, and hit by arrows and explosives. With a comic-reference off scene it appears he gets shot by Echo, we know he’s clearly not dead so will we see more of them in the possibly happening Spin-off?

Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) Disney+

Also they never wrapped up why was the watch so important? Why did everyone want this watch? The show made a big deal for nothing with Echo stealing it, only to reveal Clint’s wife Laura may be shield agent 19, Mockingbird. I could go on with the inconsistencies.

Trust me, I wanted this series to be amazing, but it had way too many loose ends, and the 6 episodes really hurt the story progression. If it were 8 episodes it could’ve fleshed out the characters better and developed a much more thoughtful plot-line. The casting was phenomenal, the Yelena Blip scene was incredible, the home-alone comedy was entertaining, but it wasn’t enough to save this series. Ultimately, Hawkeye is my least favorite of all the Marvel series, even including Iron Fist. Conclusively, bad writing, a rushed finale, poor character development, rushed plot-lines and an excruciating and underwhelming end credit sabotaged this series. It started to pick up mid-way but didn’t stick landing. There were elements I enjoyed but overall it was very anticlimactic, and felt like watching Spy Kids. The post credit scene was not worth the wait, if they wanted to include the Roger Musical they should’ve still given an actual post credit scene.

Overall: 6.5

Disney+

 Half decent X-MAS action series
Style. Adventure. Humor. Fun
Home alone with trick bow and arrows
 

Every element wasn’t horrible but still failed to work. There were some cool moments, great cast dynamic, phenomenal casting and fun holiday humor, but overall it had no sense of identity, poor character development, the story was unfocused, and full of wasted interactions and inconsistencies. Not everything has to be world changing or save the universe but this should’ve been executed better.

One Reply to “Hawkeye Misses its Mark”

  1. You really went in I’m glad I’m not that much of a fan but yes I’ve heard lots of different responses …some praiseworthy others well not so much

    Like

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