Marvel's Hawkeye Review
by Ariela Acevedo, Freelancer
With Marvel Phase 4 well under way, the newest installment, Hawkeye, debuted the week of Thanksgiving, joining Marvel’s catalog of TV shows. The show itself follows Kate Bishop, daughter of Derek and Elizabeth Bishop, and Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, as they unravel the secrets of the Tracksuit Mafia and face the demons of Barton’s past.
Compared to the other Marvel tv shows, Hawkeye feels much more contained. It’s not as high concept as WandaVision, Loki, or What If. It functions like a buddy cop movie, focusing solely on Kate and Clint and their misadventures, which is nice. It’s something viewers haven’t seen from a Marvel show, unless of course you watched Netflix’s Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and even Iron Fist - all of which took place in New York and have a similar feel to Hawkeye.
There is a lot to like about Hawkeye. From the first episode alone, the Tracksuit Mafia stole the show. They carry a lot of the comedy in the show with their signature “bro”. Although by the third episode, the Tracksuits get a little tiring, their boss, Maya Lopez or Echo, is introduced and becomes the driving force of the show.
Lopez, at first glance seems like a stereotypical cool, leather jacket wearing, motorcycle riding, female antagonist. However, Lopez being both deaf and an amputee, offers another layer to the trope. Her backstory allows for a direct contrast between Kate Bishop and her upbringing. With Bishop, coming from a rich family there is a sense of ignorance and privilege ingrained in her character, but because Lopez is disabled and a minority, she has had to fight for respect in her life and ultimately is a more likable character, while still being intimidating. Lopez is an effective foil against Bishop’s over-confidence as both idolized their fathers only for them to be killed, while also being raised as prodigies.
Personally, I found Lopez as a character more interesting than Kate. There was a specific interaction between Barton and Lopez that I particularly enjoyed. When Barton and Kate were captured, Lopez noticed Barton’s hearing aids and undid his hands so he could sign. Though portrayed as an antagonist, Lopez carries a lot of respect for the deaf community, contrasting her path of revenge for her father.
However, compared to Lopez, Kate is lacking in many areas as a character, more so in Hailee Steinfeld’s performance. Hailee Steinfeld is a great actress. She is a skilled voice actor, playing Gwen Stacy in Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse and in the new Netflix series “Arcane” as Vi. She is also well known for playing the protagonist of The Edge of Seventeen, a coming of age movie, capturing the ups and downs of a high school junior as they navigate friendships, love, and mental health. Hailee Steinfeld is able to embody teenage awkwardness naturally, but as Kate Bishop there is a disconnect. A lot of times, the jokes delivered by Steinfeld do not land as well, specifically her scenes with Pizza-Dog. It does take you out of the show, but I will say the positives outweigh the negatives.
Some interesting concepts have been introduced through Hawkeye and I’m happy to say I’m excited to see where this show takes them and how it impacts the future MCU shows and movies.