The Disney+ series “Hawkeye” means to explore the consequences of Clint Barton’s vigilante actions during the Blip and the first two episodes are nowhere near the quality of the same network’s “Mandalorian” or “Loki.” In the first two episodes, there’s plenty of everyday misinformation to give parents reason to worry and the chemistry of the actors as well as the script aren’t promising either.
Hawkeye is one of the superheroes that could have easily have been switched to an Asian American face and that would have made the Ronin alter ego of Clint Barton more understandable instead of just another aspect of cultural appropriation by Marvel. For the “Hawkeye” series, Jeremy Renner returns to reprise his role, but a newcomer Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop to the MCU is introduced. Steinfeld fills out some of the diversity factor: Hailee Steinfeld is part African American, part Filipina and part Jewish.
The character of Ronin comes with some diversity merit and the casting for “Hawkeye” has amplified that.
Ronin first appeared in November 2005 as an identity used by Maya Lopez/Echo in the “New Avengers” #11. Clint Barton appears as Ronin in “New Avengers” #27 (April 2007). In the Marvel Cinematic Universe Clint Barton appeared in the 2019 “Avengers: Endgame,” where, although unnamed as such, wore the Ronin costume in Japan battling the Yakuza five years after his family disappeared during the Thanos-caused Blip.
Maya Lopez as a character in the Marvelverse is a Native American (of the Cheyenne Nation) and born deaf. Alaqua Cox, who plays Maya Lopez, belongs to both the Menominee and Mohican nations and was born deaf. She is also an amputee with a prosthetic leg. She is bound to play a bigger role in the series, but she’s just introduced in the first two episodes released for preview purposes.
Diversity is a positive, but, that doesn’t mean there’s isn’t some cultural appropriation going on here. I also found it entertaining that the focus is the identity of and the bad blood caused by the character given a Japanese name (Ronin), but subtitles are only in English, German (Germany), French (France), Italian (Italy), Chinese (Traditional), Korean, Portuguese (Brazil) Spanish (Spain) and Spanish (Latin America). Not Japanese. Sometimes, when I find something offensive, it sounds better in a language other than English. Maybe this will sound better in Chinese or French.
The first episode (written by Jonathan Igla) begins with the attack by the Chitauri and the destruction of Stark Tower Complex in Midtown Manhattan, NYC. As a young girl, Kate Bishop had been listening to her parents discussing moving when the attack occurs. Kate sees the destruction of Stark Tower. Just before her father (Brian D’Arcy James as Derek Bishop) had been telling her that like her mother (Vera Farmiga as Eleanor) said, “Things don’t just fall from the sky.” Her father tells her that during a hurricane “I would do what I always do: Protect you.”
Fast forward to a post Thanos induced Blip, and Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) is taking his three kids–Cooper (Ben Sakamoto), Lila (Ava Russo) and Nathaniel (Cade Woodward)– out to a hilariously bad musical, “Rogers: The Musical,” about the Avengers saving the world. Elsewhere, the grown-up Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) is 22 going on 13. Her widowed mother has to deal with an archer prank on a wintry evening that caused the destruction of a private college’s bell tower and clock. Kate attends a big dinner charity event with her mother and her mother’s suspicious fiancé Jack (Tony Dalton). While there, Kate slips into a black market auction and through unexpected events, ends up with the Ronin costume and the sword. That brings her to the attention of Clint Barton who sends the kids home to his wife Laura (Linda Carellini) because he knows that the mob bad guys in tracksuits will be out because as the black market auctioneer told his buyers bidding on the retractable sword:
Now you may recall the Ronin decimated the criminal underworld of the city, almost completely annihilating the status and power of the head of organized crime. The Ronin brought a brutal form of justice to his victims, and his identity continues to remain a mystery to this very day. Now you can own this one-of-a-kind retractable sword.
Also up for grabs at the auction? A watch from the Avengers’ compound. There will also be a one-eyed Golden Retriever. In the second episode (written by Elisa Climent), after a fire in Kate’s spacious apartment, the Ronin costume gets into the hands of Grills (Clayton English) and Clint has to do some LARPing to get it from him.
There is so much misinformation here that is reality based. First, if you have a cool or expensivel knife or sword and you want to display it, you don’t display it blade down on its stand as seen in the first episode. Second, for a treat, it is okay to give a small piece of pizza to a dog, but cheese, garlic and bread are not good for dogs.
When Clint and Kate both get wounded, Clint decides to treat this with rubbing alcohol. My scientist husband thinks Clint is being “manly,” I think he’s being stupid. I hate that kids and other people will see this and think this is okay. According to webmed.com:
Using hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to clean an injury can actually harm the tissue and delay healing. The best way to clean a minor wound is with cool running water and mild soap. Rinse the wound for at least five minutes to remove dirt, debris, and bacteria. Wounds that are large, deep, or bleeding nonstop should be treated by a professional.
You can check further on this at these links:
There’s more questionable things happening here for cinematic purposes such as archery with long hair, particularly wavy hair…on a day with a slight breeze. That doesn’t mean you have to settle for a plain ponytail. And during the Olympics the hair of a female archer was a topic of discussion. You don’t have to believe me on that one:
- Wear Appropriate Archery Clothing (“Long hair needs to be tied up. If it got pulled into the bowstring, that would be very, very bad.”)
- Archery Fashion: 4 Hairstyles to Rock at the Range (“Nothing ruins great archery like a strand of hair catching your bowstring or dangling in your eyes when you aim.”)
For those wondering about Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, she isn’t introduced until episode 3 according to IMDb.
Usually, I’d like to see 3 episodes to get a feel for a series, but Disney only offered two. The two episodes had good production values, but the fight scenes weren’t that exciting. I didn’t buy Steinfeld as a star athlete nor did I feel she had great chemistry with Renner. Steinfeld didn’t have good chemistry with the dog either. The pacing could be tightened up and the scripting was not particularly clever or well-researched. The faux Rogers musical was hilarious and the concern Renner’s Clint shows for his kids is touching. He’s the only Avenger with a family and a stable romantic relationship so that is a plus. However, it doesn’t make up for the messy misinformation spread from the two episodes.
“Hawkeye” will release its first two episodes on 24 November 2021. The third episode will release on 1 December 2021.