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Hawkeye: Never Meet Your Heroes

“A ninja saved a dog.”

I've never really been a fan of the MCU's Clint Barton. He was always the least impressive Avenger, both in terms of the character's skill set and Jeremy Renner's performance. So when it was first announced that he'd be getting his own Disney+ show, my reaction was "Mmm, I think I might skip this one.” But I'm glad I didn't because Hawkeye could potentially end up being one of my favourite Marvel series, although very little of that had to do with Renner's Barton.

This series takes a lot from the classic 2012 run by Matt Fraction and David Aja. So much in fact that they should really both be getting full upfront credits and a cut of the money, but you know Marvel and Disney, if they can find a way to screw creators out of what they are entitled to, they will. But that's a rant for another day. The Fraction/Aja run was like Daredevil if, instead of a brooding Catholic, it starred a chaotic duo with one brain cell between them and it belonged to their dog. Although we didn't get the two Hawkeyes together until the very end, this episode still managed to capture so much of what I loved about that comic, mainly Kate Bishop and Lucky the Pizza Dog.

If the first episode is any indication, this series is going to be more about the new Hawkeye than the old one. This was The Kate Bishop Show with special guest star Clint Barton. Even the title sequence was dedicated to her, showing her training like Batman so she could grow up to be a hero like Green Arrow. I'm all for this because Kate is undeniably the superior Hawkeye. I fell in love with her after reading the comic and I'm falling in love all over again watching Hailee Steinfeld play her. And Lucky is just sheer perfection that I too would jump into heavy traffic to save.

With all the focus on the Kate, we only got a few scenes with Clint. He's in New York for some quality time with the kids and to catch a Broadway show, the hilariously terrible Rogers: The Musical (featuring the showstopper 'Save the City).' Since Clint's still haunted by the death of Natasha, as well as his murder spree as Ronin, this ended up being deeply traumatic for him, but he's trying (and mainly failing) to hide it like the repressed hero he is. He's also going deaf and now needs a hearing aid. It's great that this key part of the character is finally being incorporated into the live action version and I hope the show is able to portray it well. It was also nice to see the Barton kids getting to do more than just be extras on the farm.

This was the most street-level story Marvel has done since all the Netflix shows were cancelled. While Wanda, Sam, Bucky, and Loki have been dealing with witches, super soldiers, and time cops, Kate and Clint are bothered by the Tracksuit Mafia, a group of Russian gangsters who all buy from the same shop and begin and end every sentence with “Bro.” I love those dumb Bros and I'm so happy to finally see them on the screen, even if they are clearly just henchmen for some other villain. One thing all the Marvel shows have shared this year is a fondness for a surprise villain who is either hiding in plain sight or lurking in the shadows. Jack and his Dick Dastardly moustache is looking like the obvious suspect since he stole the sword, but he feels like too much of an obvious suspect.

Which brings us to Kate's mother, Eleanor.

There is definitely something off about Eleanor. Kate thinks she was being threatened by Simon Callow, but watching the scene with subtitles, he was confronting her about something he'd discovered and that her “empire was built on lies.” Saying that he “has powerful friends too” strongly implied that Eleanor has powerful friends of her own to threaten him with. And then there is Derek's death. Whenever a character dies off-screen it is always a sure sign that something suspicious has happened (or an actor has been fired). There's also the fact that Kate couldn't find him or her mother when the attack started and they didn't answer her cries for help. What parent doesn't go looking for their child when the building start shaking and things are blowing up outside? Did Eleanor kill Derek and use the attack to cover it up? Their argument seemed to be putting the blame for whatever financial trouble they were in on him, but what if it was because of something Eleanor did? That is very likely the case since Marvel parents only ever come in three forms: loving, dead and villain.
Slings and Arrows

--Dude, there is a time and a place to ask for a selfie and it is never while standing at a urinal.

--What is so special about this watch the Tracksuits are after? Does it do anything or is their boss just really into Avengers memorabilia?

--Kids who hate their step-parents is a tiresome trope I wish more writers would avoid.

--This has to be a few years after Endgame because the Barton kids look a lot older.

--'Save the City' was written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who adapted Hairspray for Broadway, and performed by Adam Pascal, Ty Taylor, Rory Donovan, Derek Klena, Bonnie Milligan, Christopher Sieber, and Shayna Steele.

--Love that 'Choir of the Bells' was incorporated into the score.

--Of course there are people who think Thanos was right.

--Kate really did look damn good in that suit, so good in fact I'm willing to overlook the massive coincidence that it was exactly how the waiters were dressed which allowed her to sneak into the secret auction.

Lila: "Dad? Did you turn your hearing aid off?"
Clint: “No, honey, I know what happens. I was there. You know who wasn't there? Is that guy. Ant-Man.”

Jack: “What an unexpected surprise.”
Kate: “All surprises are unexpected.”

Three out of four Bros.

Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011 More Mark Greig

3 comments:

sunbunny said...

Lucky the Pizza Dog for President. Great review for a strong premiere. Thanks, Mark!

Josie Kafka said...

I loved how the Tracksuit Mafia called everyone "bro" or "guy" regardless of gender, too. It was like the gangster version of woke.

Kids who hate their step-parents is a tiresome trope I wish more writers would avoid.

This was actually my only complaint about this episode, since Kate's resentment felt very juvenile. Don't get me wrong, Jack seems like an untrustworthy jerk who is intentionally pushing her buttons, but this is a holiday TV series. Aren't the holidays all about repressing how we really feel about family?!

I hadn't expected to like this show very much, and was pleasantly surprised. (An unexpected surprise, I guess!) This is the first time I've seen Hailee Steinfeld in anything, and she's awesome.

An Honest Fangirl said...

Once upon a time, Hawkeye was my absolute favorite MCU character. He was my favorite part of the first Thor movie, and his relationship with Natasha was just fascinating to me in Avengers. And then AOU happened and I lost basically all interest.

But I really liked this premiere and I think I like Hawkeye again. I absolutely loved Kate and everything to do with her. I'd be curious how old she's supposed to be. Obviously college so 18-22 generally speaking. If she's on the younger end there, then her resentment towards Jack feels slightly more reasonable. I don't think that Jack is a bad guy, though. (I wonder if he's Armand's son? Just going off of the inheritance comment.) All the focus was on Momma Bishop and her being sketchy. She's def sketchy.

Lucky the Pizza Dog is great.

Hot damn Kate looked gorgeous in that suit.

Great use of opening credits for storytelling. A+

Something definitely happened to the Dad. We didn't see a body. Never trust anything if you don't see a body.

Love love love that Clint has a hearing aid.

Very weird to think that Nathaniel is now not an infant. Time passing is scary.