HAWKEYE Review: Jeremy Renner & Hailee Steinfeld Are Phenomenal In The Most Fun Marvel Adventure Of The Year

HAWKEYE Review: Jeremy Renner & Hailee Steinfeld Are Phenomenal In The Most Fun Marvel Adventure Of The Year

They say you should always save the best for last, and Marvel Studios is back with its final Disney+ outing of the year, Hawkeye, which stars Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld. Come see what we thought!

This holiday season, gear up for the final small-screen MCU adventure of the year as we reunite with Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), the sixth and undoubtedly most underrated member of the original Avengers. Hawkeye, a six-episode Disney+ miniseries that sees the beloved archer land himself in an interesting new predicament (that he may inadvertently be responsible for), finds the Archer crossing paths with his soon-to-be new protégée Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld).

**This review contains mild spoilers from the first two episodes of Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye**

The last time we physically saw Clint Barton was at the end of Avengers: Endgame, when he was finally able to reunite with his resurrected family. Fast-forward about a year, and we get to catch up with him a few days before Christmas 2024 while he’s happily spending some quality time with the people he moved heaven and earth to snap back into existence. Unfortunately for Clint, once an Avenger, always an Avenger, so when he spots someone running around in his old Ronin suit, he’s forced to cut his family time short and go back to work, leaving his kids with the promise that he’ll be home in time for Christmas.

As revealed in the trailers, when Clint tracks down this mysterious new vigilante, he finds himself face-to-face with his #1 fan Kate Bishop, and while we won’t get into how she acquires the Ronin suit, let’s just say she’s in a lot of trouble and desperately needs his help. From this fortuitous moment on, Clint reluctantly takes the young heroine under his wing in an effort to protect her and show her what it truly means to be the world’s greatest archer.

Director Rhys Thomas (Saturday Night Live) sets the stage exceptionally well in the premiere, paving the way for a transformative journey that should open the door for a plethora of new street-level MCU stories in the years to come. Hawkeye is probably the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s lightest (and arguably most fun) offering this year, more in line with Die Hard than anything we’ve seen from Marvel Studios previously. At its core, this show is ultimately Ronin’s reckoning as Clint is forced to face the fallout of his ruthless actions during the blip. He's setting out to clear the red in his ledger, but that’s going to be a lot easier said than done, especially when he’s also trying to hide his past from his present. Then, we add Kate Bishop to the equation, who brings an unexpected wrinkle into his life with a little bit of murder mystery and potentially the entire criminal underworld.

Considering he’s always played the most human Avenger, Jeremy Renner is often overlooked for his consistently stellar performances as Clint Barton, but Hawkeye finally allows him to show a side of Clint we’ve only caught glimpses of in the movies. He’s still the family man and hero we’ve come to know and love, but the show also delves into his inner struggle, as he does his best to recover from his increasingly insane exploits as an Avenger, which have recently resulted in him losing his best friend and is now causing him to slowly lose his hearing. It hasn’t been an easy couple of years, but Clint being Clint, he continues to just roll with the punches, getting up after every blow he’s dealt. Renner continues to play the character with such sincerity and earnestness that it's impossible not to root for him, and you just want him to make it home for Christmas - maybe with Kate Bishop in tow.

Speaking of Kate, Hailee Steinfeld (Bumblebee; Dickinson) makes one of the MCU’s grandest debuts, giving her most effortlessly charming performance to date and becoming an instant fan-favorite that fans will want to see a lot more of as soon as possible. Kate’s an easy character to get wrong, especially in live-action, since she’s basically a wealthy socialite who has a bit of a rebellious streak, but Steinfeld plays her with such an infectious energy and makes her as relatable as her namesake. The moment she becomes enamored with Hawkeye’s heroics is the same exact moment the entire planet became a Hawkeye fan in 2012, so it’s easy to step right into her shoes and ride shotgun as she tries to get to know her favorite hero and make it out of this fun-filled holiday adventure in one piece.

Renner and Steinfeld’s mentor/mentee chemistry is easily the highlight of the series and their scenes together, especially in the second hour, unsurprisingly feature some of the show’s strongest moments. This should make the later episodes all that more exciting as they continue to establish their relationship. Castmates Vera Farmiga (Eleanor Bishop) and Tony Dalton (Jack Duquesne) are sufficiently intriguing in their roles, while newcomer Alaqua Cox (Maya Lopez) makes a strong first impression, although it feels like we’re only at the tip of the iceberg with all three.

While Marvel has dabbled with a Christmas setting before in 2013’s Iron Man 3, this is the first time they fully embrace the holiday cheer as the series picks up six days before December 25th, which gives the story a real sense of urgency as Clint races to clear Kate’s name as quickly as possible so that he can fulfill that promise to his daughter. Obviously, whether he’ll succeed or not remains to be seen, but it’s an exciting change of pace that keeps things moving briskly since there’s very little time to waste.

Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye is a phenomenal entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the perfect showcase for Jeremy Renner to finally give us the full Clint Barton experience, while aided by a show-stopping performance from Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop, who will quickly become your favorite new addition to the greater MCU. Its light-hearted tone will get you in the holiday spirit, while the darker undertones look to open up the Marvel underworld like never before and keep you fully engaged for the epic ride that awaits.

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