Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe began in July of 2021 with the film Black Widow, after being delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This latest phase not only has eleven movies debuting within the next two years but also includes 13 limited edition television series to be streamed on Disney+. So far, Marvel has released three of these series, Starting with WandaVision, then The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki with the fourth show, Hawkeye, debuting on November 24, 2021. As one might imagine, Hawkeye will focus on the character of Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner; The Hurt Locker) only not in the manner you might expect.
After the snap, Barton lost his whole family and spent the next five years as a depressed, angry vigilante named Ronin. However, when the remaining avengers united and defeated Thanos, Barton's family returned, and he hung up his vigilante suit for good. Fast forward a few years and imagine Barton's surprise when Ronin reemerges in New York City only to find out it is actually a twenty-two-year-old archery and fencing champion named Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld; Bumblebee) who, it turns out, idolizes Hawkeye (hence the archery champion status).
Renner was always a terrific choice to portray Hawkeye with his brooding demeanor and quiet, reserved nature and the first two episodes of the limited series on Disney+ maintain those qualities in the character. Steinfeld is a wonderful actress who has a knack for portraying intelligent, sarcastic, and athletic females and Kate Bishop doesn't stray far from that mold. Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel) plays Kate's mother, Eleanor, which frankly underutilizes the award-winning actress, at least in the first two episodes. Though not yet introduced on the show, Florence Pugh (Knives Out) is supposed to be reprising her role as Yelena Belova, a trained spy, and assassin who has a pseudo-familial connection to Barton's best friend, Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson; Black Widow).
As with all Disney productions, the aesthetics and quality of the costumes, sets, training, filming, etc. are what the public has come to expect from the global company. These features were present in the first three series - WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki - and I have no doubts they will continue into the next Marvel productions. And while there are ambitious plans for additional shows and, of course, more movies, it will be interesting to see if these snippets of these individual characters will burn audiences out on the whole Marvel Universe or reignite their passion for the franchise.
When the idea of these vignettes first came about, I was a little skeptical, but I love the Wanda/Scarlett Witch and Vision characters, so I was interested in seeing the show. Pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the episodes I was excited to see the next set. Sadly, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was a disappointment, which again made me hesitant about Loki. Luckily, Loki, while being rather odd, was better than Marvel's second attempt at a miniseries. Only time will tell if Hawkeye can live up to the potential it created with the first two episodes, but so far this is my favorite of all the Marvel shows so far.
The first two episodes of Hawkeye set the stage nicely, offering a taste of what's to come in the remaining four. From witty banter between Bishop and Barton and numerous action scenes to shady dealings and dishonest people, Hawkeye promises to deliver some excellent fight choreography and equally as exciting dialogue. Where this story will end up is only partially anyone's guess (since these characters already exist in the comic book realm) but based on the first two episodes, you will want to be along for the ride.