‘Hawkeye’ Episode 1 Review: A Fun, Action-Packed Adventure That Tops All Competition

Hawkeye looks to be a fun, action-packed adventure, and episode 1 of the series capitalizes on that expectation. I’m doing a new format for my reviews, more of a bullet-point format. Overall, the episode is great, it’s action-packed, and it’s arguably the best MCU Disney+ series yet. There’s a strengths/weaknesses section, questions/comments/notes section, and then finally my rankings.

Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) in Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye. ©Marvel Studios 2021.
Strengths
  • For the first time in an MCU Disney+ show, Hawkeye manages to balance world-building and plot development. There is a LOT of story that is introduced, but there is also quite a bit of developing story. We meet a lot of new characters, but somehow we understand those characters so quickly, and it’s easy to move on to what shifty business some of them may be doing.
  • Heavily, heavily, HEAVILY inspired on Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye run. One of my favorite comics of all time, so this was amazing for me.
  • Opening credits are SO AMAZING, Marvel Studios needs to do more opening credits instead of closing ones.
  • VFX and editing had no issues at all, and the production design was incredibly detailed.
  • Hailee Steinfeld delivered an Emmy-worthy performance, no issues there. Hailee is so convincing as Kate Bishop, I can’t imagine another actress who would be better suited for the role.
  • The directing and cinematography were amazing, Rhys Thomas did an incredible job.
Weaknesses
  • The score was for the most part, good, but not in any way notable. The WandaVision and Ant-Man and the Wasp score stood out to me in a way that the Hawkeye score didn’t. Hopefully, over the next 5 episodes, the filmmakers can rectify that. However, Marc Shaiman’s song for Rogers: The Musical was golden.
  • The marketing for Hawkeye was a bit dull, almost no TV spots, only 1 trailer, and not a ton of character posters. It also seems like they’re playing to the strengths of Matt Fraction and David Aja’s comic run, instead of playing to the strengths of Rhys Thomas and Bert & Bertie’s TV series.
(L-R) Cooper Barton (Ben Sakamoto),Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Nathaniel Barton (Cade Woodward), Lila Barton (Ava Russo), in Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye. ©Marvel Studios 2021.
Questions
  • Could Kazi turn into The Clown?
  • Could Kingpin appear in the series?
  • What role does Echo play?
  • What does a watch have to do with anything?
  • Will Kate Bishop become the new Hawkeye?
  • What beef does the Tracksuit Mafia have with Ronin?
Comments/Notes
  • In the comics, Kazi is also known as The Clown.
  • Opening credits are VERY fun, best I’ve seen from the MCU.
  • Hawkeye has the same type of vibe that I get from the Marvel Netflix shows, particularly Daredevil. Lots of hand-to-hand combat, VERY dark.
  • In the Matt Fraction & David Aja comic run, Kingpin and Madame Masque appear.
  • In the comics, Kate Bishop takes over for Clint Barton and becomes the new Hawkeye.
  • Overall, first episode was great, cannot wait to see what they do with the next 5 episodes.
A still from Rogers: The Musical in Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye. ©Marvel Studios 2021.
Rankings
  • Directing: 9
  • Writing: 8.5
  • Acting: 9.5
  • Cinematography: 10
  • Score: 8.5
  • VFX: 10
  • Editing: 10
  • Costume Design: 7.5
  • Production Design: 10
  • Marketing: 6
  • Overall: 8.7

What did you think of this first episode of Hawkeye? Let us know by mentioning @ReviewedCinema on Twitter. The first two episodes of Hawkeye are now available on Disney+, and the third episode will release on December 1.

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Brandon Matthews

Hi, I'm Brandon Matthews. I'm the founder and editor-in-chief of Cinema Reviewed, where we talk all things cinema. I can also be found writing for The GWW and The Illuminerdi. If you want to chat with me, don't hesitate to hit me up at @RCDiscussion on Twitter.

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