Wednesday, November 24, 2021

REVIEW: 'Hawkeye' - Clint Barton Is Forced Out of Retirement Once Kate Bishop Gets Into Trouble in 'Never Meet Your Heroes'

Disney+'s Hawkeye - Episode 1.01 "Never Meet Your Heroes"

Archer Kate Bishop lands in the middle of a criminal conspiracy, forcing Hawkeye out of retirement.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of Disney+'s Hawkeye.

"Never Meet Your Heroes" was written by Jonathan Igla and directed by Rhys Thomas

Clint Barton is an Avenger. He has fought alongside Captain America, Iron Man and Thor for years. He is a celebrity. People recognize him. And yet, he constantly wants to retire to be with his family but is never given that freedom. His family was taken away from him during the Blip. That was an early tragic moment in Avengers: Endgame. It dramatically changed Clint. He became Ronin. That vigilante was much more lethal than his predecessor. He was redeemed over the course of the film. And yet, Clint still feels he needs to atone for his past actions. He has his family once more. They can enjoy the holiday season in New York City. However, he is always called to serve as a hero. He is always pulled back into the drama. Part of that comes from his past that won't let him live in peace. Part of it is also his call to serve. It's a dichotomy that may ultimately come at the expense of his family. He wants to celebrate Christmas with them. He even endures Rogers: The Musical in order to be with them. He isn't a fan of the musical. In fact, it only brings his trauma to the surface once more. He feels responsible for Natasha's death. He believes he should have been the one to make that ultimate sacrifice to reverse what Thanos had done. He couldn't return to his family after all that he had done. That wasn't a fate he deserved. It's what he has though. Making peace with that appears to be the journey of this series. Initially, it comes across less epic in scope than its predecessors in this universe. It's almost more akin to the Marvel dramas that aired on Netflix. The Defenders have yet to be fully acknowledged in the MCU. That may not change any time soon. It's a good reference point for what the audience should expect here. It's not offering some epic scope that may have reverberations throughout the rest of the universe. It's more invested in the individual character beats. Sure, it may still fundamentally pivot around passing the title of Hawkeye down to the next generation. That too is a familiar element at this point in this expanding universe. It took an entire series for Sam Wilson to feel comfortable leading as the new Captain America. Here, Kate Bishop is already a fan of Hawkeye. She was inspired by him. His skills in the Battle of New York informed the training she received in the years since. That was a pivotal battle for all of the Avengers. It was a crucial turning point for the world at large too. Since then, so many monumental events have happened. Kate lost her father during that attack on the city. She was saved inadvertently by Hawkeye. And now, she is the one skilled with a bow and arrow trying to take down bad guys. Her skills are easy to admire. The audience can quickly embrace her as someone who can handle herself in the field. She is still inexperienced. She is privileged as well based on the society she has lived in for her entire life. But her joyous and infectious energy is palpable early on. She isn't cynical about the world. She is armed with a quip and easily falls in line with the tone that has been established. Clint and Kate don't come together until the final moment. He is pulled back into the action because someone new is wearing the Ronin suit. Sure, it's outrageous that a huge fan of Hawkeye happens to come into possession of the Ronin suit not knowing the connection between the two. That plot construct is apparent. It's also just as clear that the watch and the retractable sword from the auction will be just as crucial for the overall plot of the season. Those mechanics are at work even though the show is operating at a much smaller scale. That can still create a rewarding journey though. This is an admirable start after all with a solid introduction of Kate Bishop. Of course, her family dysfunction is a bit more bluntly handled here in comparison to Clint's. That's mostly just a consequence of the audience already being familiar with the history of these bonds for him. With Kate, it's just about her being annoyed that her mother is engaged to a man she doesn't entirely trust. Meanwhile, Jack is obsessed with swords. That's concerning though the audience probably already felt suspicious of Jack because he's played by Better Call Saul's Tony Dalton. Plus, Jack's uncle Armand III is killed. That too digs up a conspiracy that is likely to propel the action forward. Some of these moments are more expositional than others. That's a cost of doing business in this format as well. But again, Kate works at the center. Now, the show needs to follow through on Kate and Clint together - which should work based on his past reluctant mentorship to others in this universe.