By Valeri Guevarra, Editor in Chief, (‘22)

Spoilers for all episodes!

Overshadowed for the entirety of his existence in the MCU, Hawkeye finally is under the spotlight in his new self-titled Disney+ series. The holiday season set show premiered on the streaming platform on November 24, 2021, debuting two episodes to kick off this year’s festive season. 

The opening of the series is one of the best character introductions in the MCU to date. Although Kate Bishop’s introduction has the cliche of parental death, the fast-paced revisit to the Battle of New York where Hawkeye indirectly saves Kate is a wonderful sequence. The animated series intro that follows that highlights Kate’s success in martial arts and archery, inspired by her dad and Hawkeye, is a visual delight. The series starts off slow similar to its MCU Disney+ predecessors, but once Kate and Hawkeye meet up, the show picks up speed quickly. 

Similar to Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the show follows Kate and Hawkeye as a duo, and their banter is as enjoyable as Bucky and Sam’s. Newcomer to the MCU, Hailee Steinfield, who was the fan-favorite for the role of Kate Bishop, does not disappoint. Her charisma and young charm contrast well with the survivor-guilt-ridden Clint Barton, who is anything but excited to spend the 6 days before Christmas with Kate. Kate and Clint are a refreshing superhero duo as both are humans who are very skilled at archery. Kate connects with Clint for a brief moment when she realizes he now has a hearing aid (a nice realistic touch as Clint is human and has survived too many explosions unscathed).

In addition, the series features antagonist Maya, or Echo, who is deaf and after the man who killed her father: Ronin (Clint’s murderous alter ego during the Blip). She is a part of many action scenes, which are exciting to watch. Her following comments after Clint says he’s “hard of hearing not deaf” about relying too much on technology are interesting.

Another antagonist (by the end of the series, antihero may be a better word) featured in the show is Natasha Romanoff’s sister, Yelena Belova played by Florence Pugh. It is revealed that she was hired to kill Clint and is especially determined to as she blames him for Natasha’s death. Pugh’s performance is excellent in the few episodes she was in. Yelena’s interactions with Kate Bishop are very entertaining, and their hand-to-hand combat scenes at the Rockafeller center in the finale were engaging and thrilling. I’m excited to see what she does next and if the duo reunites in future projects. Hawkeye had some high expectations after previous popular MCU series that have even become awards nominees, and it does not fall short. Although the series is on a smaller scale than the world-building of Loki or Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the Christmas in New York theme and delightful new characters make the show satisfying differently. The series brings a sense of comfort through the subtle family themes sprinkled in through all of the characters: perfect for this time of year. Similar WandaVision, the show focuses heavily on its characters. Hawkeye only continues to prove that the MCU has a bright future with its new venture into streaming shows, where instead of epic Avengers level team-ups, there is a new focus on character development and exploration.