Women’s Empowerment: Hawkeye?

The Hawkeye TV show premiered on Disney in late November 2021 with the release of the first two episodes. I was ecstatic because this is a character deserving of cinematic exploration. I mean, he’s a family man, member of the Avengers, former leader of the Avengers West Coast married to a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Bobbi Morse also known as Mockingbird, former superhero in practically every team he was ever in.

When the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies began, he and Black Widow didn’t get introduction movies and I felt cheated. I mean, come on, Antman got a movie! So, I was a little worried when I see the beginning of Phase IV in an MCU that no longer includes: (SPOILER ALERT!!!) Iron Man, Vision, Captain America, and Black Widow!!!

I heard that Jeremy Renner was sharing top billing with Hailee Steinfeld, and I wondered why? I asked myself why Hailee Steinfeld would be so necessary to Hawkeye that they would call upon a marquee actress. Because I know the lore, it hit me! Kate Bishop! The female Hawkeye. It stands to reason that Clint Barton would have lost a little bit of his love of all thing’s superhero with the events of Avengers: Endgame.

Naturally, I would suggest that you watch these TV episodes on the Disney streaming platform itself but let me tease you a little bit of what’s doing on Disney with Hawkeye. Kate Bishop has a fondness for Hawkeye that borders on Hero Worship and the series begins with Kate as a little girl during the Battle for New York in 2012 when she sees him, a non-superpowered hero fight the Chitauri.

Fast forward to the present, Christmas in New York, Clint Barton is spending quality time with his three children in an attempt to make up for lost opportunities. You know, the way all parents feel about missing whole chunks of their children’s lives because of the responsibilities of work and other familial responsibilities.

Meanwhile Kate is in her early 20s and she’s attending a gala charity auction with her mother (Vera Farmiga) Eleanor Bishop. During the event, Kate finds out that her mother and Jack Duquesne (Tony Dalton) are recently engaged.

Troubled by the information imparted by Jack’s uncle Armand (Simon Callow), Kate pursues Jack and his uncle to the basement where an underground black-market auction is occurring featuring illicit merchandise from the Avengers’ compound. When the Tracksuit Mafia attack the auction seeking a watch Kate and Jack take advantage of the chaos.

Kate takes a few moments to change into the Ronin suit in order to disguise and protect herself, whereas Jack steals Ronin’s sword. After defeating the Mafia, Kate rescues a stray dog: “Save the Cat” moment and takes the dog to her apartment. She leaves him there while she tracks down Jack’s uncle, Armand, in order to get more information on Jack, but he has already been murdered in his home.

Clint who has returned to the hotel with his children hears on the News that someone wearing the Ronin suit fought the Tracksuit Mafia. This concerns him so much that he leaves his kids to track down Kate. When he finds her, he tells her that the Tracksuit Mafia will pursue her until they find her. She says that she doesn’t believe him.

Of course, it is at that very moment that the Tracksuit Mafia make their presence known by attempting to burn her out of her home. They are forced to evacuate without the Ronin suit in their possession. From this moment, the action of Hawkeye trying to protect Kate becomes the major dynamic of their relationship.

I don’t want to go further into specific story-beats of the TV series, but I will try to stay in generalizations as to why I feel you should watch the six-episode limited series. The reasons are as follows, but in no particular order.

1.There’s a major villain that will tie the Marvel Netflix shows to the MCU.

2.There is a direct tie-in with the Black Widow movie. (I mean Florence Pugh’s name is in the credits so. . .)

3. Alaqua Cox is a native American Handicapable actress, who plays Maya Lopez / Echo. She is deaf and also an amputee with a prosthetic leg. She will reprise her role sometime next year with her own spinoff series on Disney called Echo.

4. The chemistry between Renner and Steinfeld is undeniable despite the fact that there is almost a 30-year age difference between them (and I don’t mean to suggest that their chemistry is in anyway sordid or sexual.)

5. I have yet to see a Hailee Steinfeld vehicle without heart, and this TV series makes it very clear that she is the heart of Hawkeye.

6. From the very beginning, Clint Barton is very clear about his regrets. He is a father trying to figure out how to give up his responsibility to the world at large and New York City in particular, living a life where his children get to see their father on a more regular basis. Kate Bishop let’s him do all that.

7. The story is blessedly small. One of the problems with the superhero movies is that they are huge. Endgame was almost three hours long. It included every superhero in the MCU and then some. This has a beginning, a middle, and yes, an end.

8. Lastly, in this month, where we have celebrated empowered women, I direct your attention to Kate Bishop who is an affluent young woman that is basically powerless until she can prove that she can run a company. If she excels, it is at something completely different?

OK! I think I’m done here. This limited series is fun. It made me laugh. It made me angry. It made me cry. And hell, yeah! I was thoroughly entertained. If you have yet to check it out, I don’t know what you are waiting for. This one gave me everything I wanted and more.

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