(+++ WARNING: Thus review contains some mild spoilers for episode 1 of Hawkeye +++)
The latest Marvel TV extravaganza dropped on Disney + today with a very festive feel to it. Although there isn’t all that much goodwill to all men being shared in this opening episode with the prerequisite mystery, murder and fisticuffs being established briskly enough while also filling in Kate Bishop’s backstory. A backstory that saw her father killed in the failed Chitauri invasion of 2012, as chronicled in the first Avengers film, and the impetuous for her to train herself in archery, martial arts and more. This making her the perfect eventual replacement for the ageing Hawkeye. I mean, that is the longterm plan for Marvel, right? After all, it’s common speculation on the internet that Marvel Studios are quietly introducing a whole new breed of younger heroes into their TV shows who will eventually come together as the Young Avengers. We had Eli Bradley, the Patriot, introduced in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, as well as Wanda and Vision’s twins too in WandaVision. Although there may be questions remaining over the last two. And now Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld).
But, I digress. Back to the debut episode. An episode that feels very much like a typical Marvel outing, similar to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. That is, a familiar almost formulaic take on both the script and direction. Nothing as special as the recent Loki and WandaVision series’ that really were something different to the usual Marvel Studios’ output. Of course, a lot of fans still love the MCU, as do I, but this feels like a stagnant artistic decision to take given the creativity expressed in the two aforementioned series. Still, it delivers what MCU fans have come to expect.
As well as the Easter eggs for more eagle-eyed fans with a good working knowledge of the comics.
Amongst the cast of character we get a certain Jacques Duquesne (aka The Swordsman, played by Tony Dalton) who seems to suffer from the same gambling problem his comic book counterpart did once too. A character who has committed crimes as well as fought against criminals too. Of course, after just one episode the jury is out on his true allegiances, but he and his family are certainly caught up in something dodgy. Which isn’t helped by the fact he is engaged to Kate’s mother, Eleanor (Vera Farmiga). Something she failed to tell her. Plus, with an oily moustache like his, surely he can’t be one of the good guys?
Kate comes back from college only to attend a high society festive gala. A gala that’s acting as a front for an illegal auction for the ultra-wealthy. Meanwhile, Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and his kids are enjoying a Christmas in New York and visiting the cheesy, over-the-top musical of Steve “Captain America” Rogers. Putting both in the right place at the right time to clash. And they do, as a result of the illegal auction in which Kate comes into possession of the Ronin suit which in turn leads Clint to hunt her down. Ad in amongst all this is the “tracksuit mafia”. You know the type, East European roughhousers who love a good tracksuit and balaclava ensemble when gatecrashing dodgy auctions to gain an all important watch once the property of… well, one has to assume Tony Stark.
Overall, an enjoyable enough opening episode (with a second one also available, but I’ll gets o that one later, of not tomorrow) but, like I said, rather formulaic in many, many ways. And streaming now on Disney +