‘Hawkeye’ review: Marvel’s jaunty Christmas series hits the bullseye

Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld have a crackling chemistry, and the action sequences have the right amount of zip in this mini-series

Do they know it is Christmas? Disney sure does, but that is no reason to dislike Hawkeye, the mini-series following Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) after the horror, grief and loss of 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. Barton is in New York for the holidays with his children, Cooper (Ben Sakamoto), Lila (Ava Russo), and Nathaniel (Cade Woodward) when he runs into his biggest fan, Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld).

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Kate lost her dad in the Battle of New York and in the mayhem, saw this lone superhero fighting off the Chitauri with a bow and arrow and was impressed. Now 22 years old, Kate idolises Hawkeye. While winning every archery and martial arts trophy, she is the despair of her mother, Eleanor (Vera Farmiga), for her habit of hurling herself into trouble, unmindful of the consequences.

At a posh party, Kate finds out Eleanor is engaged to marry Jack Duquesne (Tony Dalton). She also stumbles on an underground auction of items found in an Avengers compound. A Russian gang, the Tracksuit Mafia, break up the auction and Kate defeats them while wearing the Ronin suit (uh-oh).

Barton is meanwhile trying to keep it together while watching Rogers the Musical, where the Avengers sing and swing from the ceiling, while saving the world.

Hawkeye

  • Creator: Jonathan Igla
  • Starring: Jeremy Renner, Hailee Steinfeld, Tony Dalton, Fra Fee, Brian d’Arcy James, Aleks Paunovic, Piotr Adamczyk, Linda Cardellini, Simon Callow, Vera Farmiga, Alaqua Cox, Zahn McClarnon, Florence Pugh, Vincent D’Onofrio
  • Episodes: 6
  • Run time: 40 to 62 minutes
  • Storyline: With a persistent fan, an unsolved murder and a vengeful assassin, will Hawkeye be able to make it home for Christmas?

Seeing the Ronin suit back in circulation, Barton, who was the Ronin in reaction to losing his family in the blip, figures he has to help Kate as there are people after her seeking vengeance for his deeds as Ronin.

A murder, a dog called Lucky who loves pizza, a mother who might be hiding significant details from her daughter, a missing watch, LARPers, an assassin, a daughter seeking avenge the death of her father, a crime lord called Kingpin (Vincent D’Onofrio) are the many obstacles Barton has to hurdle to get home for Christmas.

Cheery, even though the peace and goodwill take some time to get through the mayhem, Hawkeye is engaging. Renner and Steinfeld have a crackling chemistry and the action sequences have the right amount of zip — fun with lovely pops of colour.

In keeping with the festive season, the opposition, Maya Lopez (Alaqua Cox) and Yelena/Black Widow (Florence Pugh) are highly trained and very competent, but in the final count, noble antagonists. New York during Christmas is expectedly pretty, and the giant glittery sparkly tree with a wise owl has a guest appearance in one of the fight sequences.

All the Christmas carols, mistletoe and ornaments do not feel cheaply manipulative. They add to the celebratory feeling of applauding an everyman hero, who even when his hearing aid is smashed, bashes on regardless. And then there is Lucky—order that pizza for him already!

Hawkeye is currently streaming on Disney+ Hotstar

 

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