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5 Things Marvel’s Hawkeye Did Right and 5 Things it Didn’t

by Faridah Giwa 5 months ago in superheroes
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A Review of Hawkeye Season 1

image from techradar.com

At first, Marvel’s Hawkeye progresses leisurely, taking its time to establish Kate’s life and surrounding influences, namely, where her love for archery originates and the disdain for her mother’s relationship with Jack. After meeting Clint and getting roped into the Tracksuit Mafia’s hunt for the Ronin, things pick up, and what we have is a Christmas-feely and twist-filled adventure (although we all saw that big reveal coming from a mile away).

Today, we’ll be highlighting the 5 things Hawkeye did right and 5 things it didn’t.

image from thedirect.com

1. Right: Illuminating Clint and Laura’s relationship

There’s an undeniably enormous amount of trust between Clint and his wife, Laura. In Episode 1: Never meet your heroes, he calls to let her know he has an urgent situation with Kate and won’t be coming home from New York with the kids. Laura understands. Even though he divulges information in bits and pieces, she can read between the lines, she speaks his language fluently. You can also tell there’s no one he trusts more.

As a former S.H.I.E.L.D agent, her position helps them have open and sincere conversations about his missions. And one might say it’s why they don’t keep secrets from each other. Laura understands the possible extremes often necessary to eliminate threats and keep order when it comes down to it. She knows that there will be instances where Clint will need to use unorthodox methods in his line of work, and she doesn’t judge him for that or his past.

In Episode 4: Partners, am I right? when Clint calls her hoping she’ll dissuade him from going to extremes to protect their family, she does the exact opposite and instead reinforces his need to do so.

It’s worth noting that Clint and Laura have the largest family and most stable relationship out of all The Avengers.

Wrong: Lack of individual backstory for Clint and Laura

As much as we get to see the mutual respect and trust Clint and Laura have in bountiful amounts for each other, we don’t see much else. There’s no backstory to Laura’s time at S.H.I.E.L.D as Agent 19, save for a Rolex watch she’d been issued, or how she and Clint started their family.

As for Clint, we’re not shown anything about his past before S.H.I.E.L.D, nor do we dive deeper into his journey after The Blip and into retirement before he passes on the mantle to Kate. For a show based on his alter-ego, it sure misses essential aspects of his persona that could have easily been fleshed out. Instead, we’re treated mainly to his reluctance in accepting Kate as his protege.

image from polygon.com

2. Right: Having a realistic explanation for Clint’s use of hearing aids

In this TV version of Hawkeye, there’s an intriguing new development to his persona — hearing aids. This is probably the most relatable feature of the esteemed archer. No one expected him to have perfect hearing after being close to so many explosions, and this new detail provides a great deal of depth to his character.

In many scenes, we see him take his hearing aid out or turn it off, and in those brief moments, we see the world as he does — quiet, still. His vulnerability in such instances adds an extra layer of suspense to scenes where he’s off guard. The fear when an unknown assailant approaches him and humor when he does so while Kate talks are unparalleled.

Wrong: Absence of unseen flashbacks of Natasha

Considering that Natasha and Clint’s friendship is an integral part of Hawkeye’s foundation as a character, it was anticipated that she would turn up a few times through flashbacks during the show. However, it was disappointing to see that only clips from The Avengers: End game were used to substitute her presence.

If Hawkeye had used unseen footage that never made it into the movies, it would’ve added a fresh perspective to Natasha’s character and revealed a more personal side to her friendship with Clint. Also, it honestly would’ve just been fantastic to see Nat again.

image from decider.com

3. Right: Pairing Kate and Yelena

Most of Hawkeye’s stand-out scenes remain indubitably between Yelena and Kate. If you watched the show, you know their good-natured bantering and battles, though brief, were significant highlights of Episodes 4, 5, and 6. Pairing them up was the best decision Marvel made in the latter part of the season.

Both Hailee Steinfeld (Kate Bishop) and Florence Pugh (Yelena Belova) have excellent on-screen chemistry. Both of their characters are headed in a direction that more or less mirrors Natasha and Clint’s friendship, and it is exciting to watch that unfold.

Wrong: Lackluster CGI effects

This point is probably not on everyone’s radar. But in certain scenes, such as the coin toss trick or the use of the Putty trick arrow, it was incredibly distracting and hard to miss (almost felt like I was watching a C.W show).

Considering the quality of effects Marvel is known for and that this was the Entertainment Company’s 4th T.V show in its 2021 lineup, it was a bit of a letdown. Mostly because predecessors like Wandavision and Loki had incredible visuals. So it felt like Hawkeye was made a lesser priority, hence the smaller CGI budget, which dampened the show’s feel.

image from cinemaexpress.com

4. Right: Exploring The Blip’s aftermath

So far, none of Marvel’s T.V shows have addressed The Blip quite as Hawkeye has. In Wandvision, we get a glimpse of life after Thanos’ snap through Monica Rambeau’s eyes. But Hawkeye adds more depth to what we already know.

Through its 6 episodes, particularly Episode 5: Ronin, we see how a victim of The Blip deals with and adjusts to the changes that have occurred during their absence. Yelena’s backstory brought a refreshing perspective that Monica’s lacked.

Although we’d seen Monica when she was little in Captain Marvel, we hadn’t connected with her as an adult. Yelena, on the other hand, was recently introduced in 2020’s Black Widow, and her story in Hawkeye resumed barely months from its last scene in the movie. This made audiences more invested and affected by Yelena’s journey than any other victim of The Blip.

Wrong: Slow plot pacing

Hawkeye’s debut episode was captivating enough to reel in 1.5 million viewers. However, by the second episode, the mundaneness and mediocrity of Clint and Kate’s adventures became tiring.

After all, most people tuned in to see cool archers battle bad guys with bows and arrows. The 2nd and 3rd episodes failed to deliver that excitement at times it needed to and was unable to optimally maximize the show’s limited episodes (why waste almost half of the season to show New York in winter?)

image from wegotthiscovered.com

5. Right: Introducing new trick arrows (who knew you could make more?)

Since The Avengers debuted on-screen in 2012, Hawkeye has been known as the man with the arrows. Specifically pointy and explosive ones. But, during the Hawkeye T.V show run, we were introduced to a whole new world of trick arrows and even got to see how they were made.

In Hawkeye, fans finally get to see their favorite archer up close, as well as a glimpse of his less famous arrows, such as Putty/Play-doh arrow, Spider-web grapple arrow, and most impressively, the Pym arrow.

Bonus: Not enough scenes with Lucky the pizza dog

Wrong: Not enough arrow fight scenes

For a show based on two master archers, you’d expect arrows flying past every other scene. Instead, Hawkeye chooses to dumb things down (maybe due to the budget I mentioned earlier). At times, the show felt like a drama or soap opera, instead of the superhero show, and dragged on with pointless and filler conversations.

It was pretty different from the pace The Avengers movies and Falcon and the Winter Soldier had introduced. And even though Wandavision was slow-paced, at least it served a purpose.

Bonus: A great musical! (Rogers, The Musical slaps, need I say more?)

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As the show progressed, it was easy to see where Hawkeye’s strengths lay — fight scenes, comedic relief, and the love of family (and Christmas). But as much as watching Clint and Kate team up against enemies was fun, there was no doubt that a few things were amiss in the show’s plot, script, and execution. All in all, it was enjoyable.

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Writing can be pretty exhausting, so if you’d like to buy me a coffee, be my guest and click here.

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Faridah Giwa

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