Hawkeye Review: Marvel’s Buddy Drama Offers Nothing We Haven’t Seen Already

The arrow completely misses the bullseye

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few decades, you have come across the countless Hollywood buddy dramas and have already encountered every possible troupe used in such films. This genre is so common that every new movie in this category has to be unique enough to stand out. But sadly Marvel Studios, which appeared to be a master at churning out distinct superhero movies, opts to blindly rely on its existing status with its tv series on Disney+ while the lack of an engaging script becomes glaringly obvious when what little is there is unnecessarily stretched across multiple episodes. And with the recently released Hawkeye, it brazenly repeats it all over again.

As Marvel fans know, past attempts by the studio to monetize its superheroes via television shows like Agents of SHIELD, Inhumans, etc, never worked. But this time, its shows are armed with the massive fandom brought in by the expansive Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and Marvel promised to give its previously overlooked (but still insanely popular) superheroes their own platform to tell their stories. And if that’s what had been done, these shows (now including Hawkeye) wouldn’t be the utter disappointments they are. 

Hawkeye sees Jeremy Runner’s Clint Barton spending time with his family and is still very much affected by Natasha Romanoff’s death in Avengers Endgame. But while he is planning to get some quiet time, separate himself from his status as an Avenger, and forget the crimes he committed as the ruthless vigilante, Ronin, trouble is already brewing on the horizon. Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), a 22-year-old girl who is a master archer (because Hawkeye is her idol) with a streak for heroics, gets her hands on the Ronin costume being sold at a black-market auction and gets tangled up in a few mysteries of her own. 

It is enough to catch Barton’s attention and he comes to her rescue, shares some pointless banter with her, and gets down to ending the chaos she triggered by wearing the Ronin costume in public. Yep, that’s what the dragged and dull storyline of the two episodes Hawkeye debuted with looks like. As we mentioned, there are barely a few mysteries strewn around the plot- one appears to be a mere MacGuffin, others aren’t just enticing enough to be solved. Yeah, Tony Dalton’s Jack Duquesne is definitely up to no good and the anti-hero revealed at the end is cooking up her own drama, but these storylines aren’t shaped to be compelling enough to hold our attention. 

But why is that you wonder? Well, like all the recent Marvel shows, Hawkeye is either busy answering questions left dangling by previous MCU films or is engrossed in setting up characters who are destined for cinematic appearances. Though that’s more than welcome, that is all the series does while dragging along a plot that stops being interesting after the first ten minutes. 

Hawkeye has a wafer-thin plot where no attempts are made to introduce an attention-grabbing element or dive deep into developing interesting characters, though opposed to Renner’s bland performance, Steinfeld perfectly carries her poorly written character. The action scenes are major meh while the abysmal visual effects make it hard to digest that the Disney+ series is a multimillion project. 

As stated above, the mystery object which sets off the story appears to be a MacGuffin at best, only present to drag in Kate Bishop’s live-action debut. While the scales are indeed tipping towards a future where Barton will meet his end (can we skip to Florence Pugh’s Yelena already?) following which Kate will pick up his mantle, it is a tough task to be bothered about his fate, not because he is the least interesting Avenger but because of 1) how he is playing the character now that he is somewhat getting the spotlight and 2) how middling his character portrayal has been for the show. Hawkeye appears to be Marvel’s way of teaching us to never judge a series by its promising star cast and MCU label.

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