Early Hawkeye Reviews Laud The MCU’s Street-Level Christmas Fun

The early Hawkeye reviews are in, and critics are praising the MCU’s return to street-level storytelling:

A Still of Jeremy Renner's Clint Barton & Hailee Steinfeld's Hawkeye
A Still of Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton & Hailee Steinfeld’s Hawkeye

The early Hawkeye reviews are in, and critics are praising the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s return to street-level storytelling. The sitcom, created by Jonathan Igla and based on the Matt Fraction comics’ storyline, follows Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton as he strives to give his kids the best Christmas vacation ever following the events of Avengers: Endgame, in which they were all brought back. Their tranquility is shattered, however, when the enemies of his Ronin past return to haunt him, forcing him to grudgingly team up with Hawkeye superfan Kate Bishop to stop them and return home in time for Christmas. Hailee Steinfeld and Alaqua Cox make their MCU debuts as Kate Bishop, who takes over the mantle after Barton, and Maya Lopez, alias Echo in Hawkeye. This past March, a spin-off based on Echo was announced to be in early development and confirmed to be in the works on Disney+ Day, with Marion Dayre onboard as the show’s chief writer. With only one day till the series’ debut, fans are anxious to know where Hawkeye ranks in the MCU and Disney+ review charts.

The first Hawkeye reviews for the first two episodes of the MCU series have arrived:

A Still from the new Hawkeye series
The first Hawkeye reviews have arrived for the first two episodes of the MCU

The first Hawkeye reviews for the first two episodes of the MCU series have emerged, and critics are generally pleased with the new Disney+ chapter. While some have criticized the show’s heavier focus on Kate rather than Clint and the general speed of the episodes, many have praised the chemistry between Renner and Steinfeld, the show’s low-stakes premise, and the Christmas atmosphere. See what some of the critics are saying below:

Molly Freeman, from Screen Rant:

Finally, Hawkeye is a fun and fascinating addition to the MCU, presenting a plot full of festive shenanigans. Those expecting a strictly Clint Barton narrative may be disappointed by the amount of time spent on Kate Bishop, but the Hawkeye series, like Black Widow earlier this year, was obviously charged with both delivering Clint a solo story and presenting his successor.

Forbes’ Scott Mendelson writes:

For the time being, Hawkeye is more akin to a Danny Bilson/Paul De Meo 90’s-era network TV superhero program than an MCU epic on the small screen. That’s good for the time being.

Mike Hale of the New York Times:

It’s a modest but promising start, and it appears probable that the show’s low-key humorous energy will carry it through four more episodes. It’s unclear if that will be enough time to complete a satisfactory plot.

Angie Han, THR:

Hawkeye honors long-time Marvel Cinematic Universe fans. Aside from plots that build on previous ones, the series is replete with just-for-fun allusions, such as Rogers the Musical, a corny Broadway production that converts Captain America’s most famous slogan into a chorus. However, the series welcomes newbies in a manner that previous Marvel Disney+ shows, like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, have struggled to do. The main storyline favors character development and chemistry above intra-franchise connective tissue, and any essential explanation is baked into the dialogue or the scene. You could certainly enjoy Hawkeye’s buddy comic action scenes without caring much about what’s going on in the rest of the MCU, though all those Easter eggs might feel like blatant invites to begin.

ComicBook.com’s Adam Barnhardt:

The reintroduction of street-level Marvel storylines is welcome, and Hawkeye’s Christmas setting, mixed with Marvel’s trademark comedy, mostly from Bishop and the Tracksuit Mafia lads, helps bring some much-needed brightness to an otherwise grim series. There are some fascinating parallels between Clint’s examination of his trauma here and Wanda’s (Elizabeth Olsen) examination of her trauma in WandaVision, and it may be the most interesting storyline thread to look for as the series proceeds. However, Steinfeld’s superb portrayal of Bishop steals the show every time she appears, so those expecting a Clint-heavy performance may be disappointed. Regardless, Hawkeye’s first two episodes provide a fantastic platform for the show to expand on between now and Christmas, as the show serves as a fantastic end to Marvel’s first year on Disney+.

Variety’s Caroline Framke:

The Disney Plus “Hawkeye” is too dependent on the greater MCU as a driving narrative force and has too generic a house style of filmmaking to fully develop its own voice, as Fraction’s “Hawkeye” did. And, at least in the first two episodes, Kate and Clint barely get enough screen time together to really establish the warmly sardonic banter that made them such an engaging duo in the comics.

CNN’s Brian Lowry:

Based on the first two episodes, Marvel may have delved into its quiver a little too much with “Hawkeye,” which give a sluggish start centred on the character of Kate Bishop rather than the eponymous Clint Barton. This holiday-themed series is amusing in spots, with quips about trick arrows, but it’ll need a few more tricks up its sleeve.

Mason Downey, GameSpot:

Now, a decade after his live-action debut, Marvel and Disney have taken the decision to reintroduce Clint Barton, giving him his own Disney+ streaming TV program that openly seeks to convert the MCU’s archer into the version portrayed in the comics. Unfortunately, it’s all too little, too late, and after only two episodes, we’re still not sure that the MCU’s version on Hawkeye has anything substantial to rescue after all this time on the shelf.

Polygon’s Rosie Knight:

The program brings us to the ground-level kind of superheroics Marvel is so well known for by creating a smaller-scale, lower-stakes story. It’s a new chapter for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which has transformed its most renowned street-level hero, Spider-Man, into a high-concept, high-tech Tony Stark protégé. In that sense, Hawkeye is similar to the Netflix Marvel programs, but with a more family-friendly spin. Quick-witted banter is as frequent as molotov cocktails, and pleasant houses and icy streets are more common than high-tech headquarters. It’s grounded without being too gritty, and while it draws on the MCU’s past, it’s not unduly lore-heavy. All of these factors combine to make Hawkeye’s first two episodes the most approachable MCU show yet.

Early Hawkeye reviews should be interpreted as a generally positive omen for audiences:

A Still Of Hailee Steinfeld's Hawkeye
A Still Of Hailee Steinfeld’s Hawkeye

The early Hawkeye reviews should be a good omen for moviegoers who have been waiting for Renner’s titular archer to take the lead in his own tale. However, the reviews may disappoint fans who wanted to see him as the key figure in the narrative, as Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop looks to be taking the lead in her MCU debut. With Kate being groomed to take over Hawkeye from Clint, it may not surprise some that the seemingly supporting performer ends up playing a larger part than the title hero, comparable to Florence Pugh’s Yelena outshining Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha in Black Widow.

Hawkeye reviews emphasize the MCU’s return to more street-level storytelling:

A still of Hawkeye series that emphasize the MCU's street-level storytelling
A still of Hawkeye series that emphasize the MCU’s street-level storytelling

Audiences’ excitement for the program may grow even more as early Hawkeye reviews emphasize the MCU’s return to more street-level storytelling following a string of large-scale narratives. With many fans hoping for a return to the high stakes of the Marvel Netflix series, as well as the return of characters from those shows, the latest Disney+ show looks to be filling that vacuum. Only time will tell how fans react when Hawkeye debuts on Disney+ on November 24.

Sources: Various sites

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