'Hawkeye' Is Off to a Festive Start, Despite Overlooking Jeremy Renner

Created by Jonathan Igla

Starring Jeremy Renner, Hailee Steinfeld, Tony Dalton, Linda Cardellini, Vera Farmiga

BY Alex HudsonPublished Nov 24, 2021

Hawkeye is the latest entrant in the "Die Hard is actually a Christmas movie" canon of on-screen works that take place during the holidays but aren't necessarily about the holidays — a valuable commodity for bah humbuggers looking to indulge in some seasonal cheer without setting off their gag reflex.

As a frivolous bit of festive fun, Hawkeye is off to a nice start. The beginning of the MCU's latest Disney+ series sets the stage for Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye to have his moment in the spotlight after being a supporting character in numerous films over the past decade.

Hawkeye begins with its title character in normal-guy Clint Barton mode, as he's taken his kids for a trip to New York at Christmastime to see an Avengers-themed Broadway show; this tells the superheroes' story in rousing song and dance, and leaves Barton cringing in the seats.

Barton gets overshadowed, spending most of the first episode being a sulky dad and getting uncomfortable when he's treated like a hero by well-meaning admirers.

Instead, the real star of Hawkeye is Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), who — spoiler alert, kinda — will be next to take up the Hawkeye mantle. We learn about how she lost her dad in the Battle of New York (from 2012's The Avengers), witness her talent for archery, and watch her get tangled up in Hawkeye's shady past by donning the Ronin suit.

As has been the case for most of Marvel's Disney+ shows, Hawkeye isn't particularly well suited to the episodic format. This beginning feel more like the first few scenes of a movie that have been chopped off. But it absolutely breezes by, and the Christmas angle — plus the cute dog — are a fun holiday twist on what might otherwise be just another Marvel vehicle. It's a promising start for a character who has always felt a bit like an afterthought compared to more memorable MCU stars.

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