Martin Carr reviews the third episode of Marvel’s Hawkeye…
Alaqua Cox is a name people should get comfortable with. Her introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe will light fires, forge in-roads and welcome a chrome domed villain back into the fray. Being both deaf, disabled and Native American, Echo turns Hawkeye on its head. ASL (American Sign Language) also broadens the playing field further by making conversations visually and verbally intriguing. Important character beats lean into this, offering moments of genuine comedic invention, while Hailee Steinfield and Jeremy Renner remain infinitely watchable.
Elsewhere, a plethora of sight gags and MCU references slot right in with slick set pieces. Fight scenes are frenetic, inventive and extremely watchable, while locations change almost as often as modes of transportation. Audiences are literally thrown into the fight, while arrows whizz past and explosions leave the air tasting bitter.
There is a real sense of immersion as our protagonists escape, evade and then segue into some serious sleuthing. With the promise of an ominous presence looming large, both Hawkeye and Kate find themselves perpetually pursued in an episode which never lets up. Sharp writing, confident direction and a series which is really coming together, makes Hawkeye the most polished piece of Marvel television since WandaVision.
Although the plot primarily uses Hawkeye’s transgressions to move things along, it is Marvel’s well balanced choices regarding representation that make this show work. With Echo already announced as a forthcoming small screen project from Kevin Feige, there is no doubt that the MCU is about to get a whole lot bigger. With key players making their way over from other dimensional plains, Hawkeye feels like the precursor no one knew they needed.
There is already talk of Young Avengers being subtlety introduced to make way for an event crossover; one in which characters like Kate Bishop may yet play a prominent part. With a perfect combination of intellect and athleticism she seems the ideal person to take over. Driven, persuasive and heavily bankrolled, she represents Hawkeye mark II in ways Jeremy Renner would struggle to emulate.
With the ever present shadow of Avengers: Endgame antics weighing heavy, this feels like a swansong in which Jeremy Renner can add further depth to Clint Barton. Age, experience and street smarts may give him a distinct advantage, but this also allows pearls of wisdom to be passed down, while Hailee Steinfield finds her feet. In many ways this already feels like the role she was destined to play.