Hawkeye Lands True

The latest of Marvel’s series is a touching watch that foreshadows new appearances of fan favorites.


Image credit: Disney+/Marvel Studios

Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld star in a new and wonderful holiday production on Disney+.

Aris Pastor, Staff Writer

This article contains spoilers for Hawkeye and Avengers: Endgame.

In the wake of Avengers: Endgame, many people, including me, were frustrated that Clint Barton, or Hawkeye, survived rather than Natasha Romanoff, otherwise known as Black Widow. My reasoning was fairly simple. Barton had always seemed characterless and boring in the movies preceding Endgame, and even though Marvel didn’t characterize Romanoff especially well, Scarlett Johansson was much better in her role as Black Widow than Jeremy Renner was as Hawkeye. When the 2021 Black Widow movie came out, it only exacerbated my feelings, as it seemed to add a lot more character and potential for Romanoff.

That said, the Hawkeye show completely justifies Barton’s continued survival while being a lovely holiday watch as well. 

It introduces a new character, Kate Bishop, played by Hailee Steinfeld. In the comics, she later takes the mantle of Hawkeye. Bishop begins the series as naive and immature, and as her mother, Eleanor Bishop states, “I know young people think they’re invincible, and rich people think they’re invincible, and you have always been both.” 

However, Kate Bishop has a clear character growth, marked by her making the mature decision to turn her own mother in by the end of the series. 

Her dynamic with Barton is also delightful. I have always thought that Jeremy Renner was a poor choice as an actor for Hawkeye, but Steinfeld’s acting makes him fit much better in his role than in any other part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Bishop’s existence was more than enough reason for Barton to be the one that survived Avengers: Endgame.

Hawkeye also feels the direct consequences of Romanoff’s death. Romanoff’s sister, Yelena Belova, seeks Barton for revenge, and while many of her appearances are lighthearted and funny, her grief cuts deep. It hits particularly hard due to its setting. The show takes place during the holidays, and many of the scenes, especially those of Barton missing Romanoff, demonstrate how loss can hurt much more during times that are supposed to be for family and friends. 

However, despite the loss of Romanoff, family is a theme throughout Hawkeye. Much of the struggle hinges on Barton’s promise that he’d be home for Christmas, which seems less and less likely as the plot moves forward. His kids and wife remained disappointed, but still understanding. Barton’s relationship with his wife in particular is a refreshing watch, as they demonstrate a healthy married couple that isn’t having relationship drama. 

Another important facet of the show is representation for deaf and hard of hearing people. The show stars Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez, who is later known as Echo in the comic books. Much like her character, Cox is a deaf amputee, and she is Native American, a notable bit of representation. 

Barton himself is hard of hearing, much like in the comics. Both characters regularly use sign language throughout the series, and Barton uses a hearing aid. Another detail I particularly liked was that Lopez had silent alarms used for deaf people. It is wonderful to be able to see how deaf and hard of hearing people move through life in a show as large as this one. 

Lopez’s appearance also teases fan favorites, specifically Kingpin and other Daredevil characters. Lopez may be getting her own show, which is a very exciting prospect. 

However, Hawkeye is not without its flaws, few as they are. The jokes were often overused, the red herrings and mysteries were obvious, and the fight scenes tended towards laziness. These missteps are typical throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so I was not particularly surprised. 

Nevertheless, despite its flaws, Hawkeye was a fun and heartwarming holiday watch that functions as a wonderful set-up for the future of Marvel movies.