The next era of Marvel is beginning to unfold. The multiverse is breaking, time travel caused time itself to unravel, the threat of intergalactic beings loom, and the world is still recovering from Thanos wiping out half of existence with the snap of his fingers. Marvel’s elaborately planned future could not be more exciting for fans to see as the cinematic universe continues to expand and raise the stakes after “Avengers: Endgame.”
As amazing as it’s been to see the universe mirror the wacky, limitless nature of the comic book counterpart, there is much left to desire with recent solo ventures from Marvel. It almost seems as if the intensity of these movies was raised to such an extreme degree that a normal, solo flick hardly satisfies fans’ cravings. Nearly every MCU movie featured characters from other parts of Marvel’s world. With the exception of “Shang-Chi,” recent solo projects from Marvel were met with slight dismay.
This is what the brand new “Hawkeye” series on Disney+ will change. The show takes the MCU back to reality, back to one of its original members, and back to the personal, solo stories that brought the universe to prominence in the first place. The first three episodes are out on the streaming site, and they show promise of an incredible mini-series that grounds fans back in the spirit of the MCU.
Marvel’s ability to take our favorite heroes to new heights and places is amazing. Whether it be different planets or new dimensions, the story moved far from just the confines of Earth. While this worked well for the storytelling, relatability is what makes superheroes so beloved. It’s so refreshing just to see a couple of humans using their unreal skill to protect their city.
That’s exactly what “Hawkeye” is: a classic story about a hero coming into herself as she attempts to pry the wisdom from her stubborn, doubtful idol. Hawkeye and Kate Bishop, played by Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld respectively, already built an interesting mentor-student relationship while uncovering the fishy underworld of New York City. Both characters serve as a foil to the current themes and motifs of the MCU; they have no powers, no crazy gadgets that defy the laws of physics, no interest in space or time travel. All they have is a heart and soul, just like me and you.
“Avengers: Endgame” came as a huge blow to the original six members of the Avengers. Black Widow sacrificed herself for the Soul Stone, Tony Stark sacrificed himself to save the universe, and Steve Rogers decided to live the life he missed out on as he now rests in his old age. The ones who remain from the original group are Hulk, Thor and Hawkeye.
While there isn’t anything featuring Thor or Hulk coming out for a while, it’s nice to take a step back and remember exactly where the love for this franchise came from. With the lack of focus and attention toward Hawkeye, it seems as if Marvel is finally valuing his character. He’s a complex, dark, assassin spy who went through it all right alongside the rest of the Avengers, and he’s somebody that the fans have always loved and wanted more from. He finally receives his spotlight alongside the electrifying Kate Bishop as she enters the MCU. The dynamic of rookie and veteran learning from one another is a classic trope that will serve the series well as it establishes itself as the most grounded MCU project yet.
The first “Iron Man” is what began the love that fans still feel for the MCU today. However, it wasn’t the final battle, the cameos, the post-credits scene, the CGI or the cinematography that fans fell in love with. It was the character, the story, the spirit and passion that Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau brought to the table. This same love and focus was brought to Hawkeye’s story. There is a clear passion and embodiment of the character of Kate Bishop by Steinfeld, and a masterful display of moral struggle and a hero healing by Renner.
There seems to be a clear plan for where the story is going, as more questions are raised while secrets are uncovered in every episode. Most of all, it isn’t too jam-packed with action or too reliant on the “wow factor.” It’s simply a love letter to the world’s favorite archers. As a beautiful introduction to one hero and a celebration of an old hero’s final chapter, the show looks like it will continue to honor its poetic start.
Hawkeye is a reminder to all the fans of what a hero is and why we love them so much. Before the MCU really dives into the craziness of the multiverse, it’s satisfying to know that Marvel still remembers what made these stories so personal for fans. It’ll be interesting to see what new elements the show will introduce as it continues to capitalize on all of the old ones. The beginning of “Hawkeye” showed great promise, and fans should expect to see even more excitement soon now that the characters and story are established. New episodes air every Wednesday on Disney+!