Wednesday – or Monday, Tuesday or Thursday, or… that’s got to be another TV series that Disney+ draws from the seemingly inexhaustible grain reserves in the Marvel cinema universe.
This time it was Hawkeye’s turn. Following in the footsteps of the mind-boggling genre mix of WandaVision and the restless Loki. This new miniseries is a bit more subdued, on a more manageable (or less ambitious) scale.
Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) hopes for a peaceful life according to a celluloid joke:
What had exhausted him in recent years? He was in New York with his children, filling them with a festive mood. Sending them back to their mother and promising to come back to them for Christmas in six days. Oh! He doesn’t judge the origins of young avenger Kate Bishop (Hailey Steinfeld).
Which began in 2012 after an attack in New York. Where he watched in awe the defences of a particular expert shooter. He asked his mother for a bow and arrow, and when we met him today. He too was shot with arrows (and skilled in all martial arts, fearless and generally a proto-superhero. He doesn’t have a costume, and this matter is up to you).
Kate follows Jack Ducain (Tony Dalton), her terrifying mother’s fiancé (her beloved father was killed in an attack in 2012), at a charity auction on the black market in a maze-like wine cellar. Dungeons are attacked as soon as specific costumes from sure Avengers go on sale in his ronin phase.
“For reasons I don’t understand,” I wrote in my diary for the first time. But it won’t be the last time Kate escapes the suit and plunges into hand-to-hand combat to kill both her equally terrifying Uncle and Jack. Armand (cameo- Enter Simon Callow. Who seems to jump for a moustache turn in his life before heading out for a nice lunch) out of the band of robbers.
Outside, however, Kate’s suit attracts Ronin’s foes, and it doesn’t take long for Mata to save her.
In episode two, Hawkeye begs people to call him “Clint” time and time again. To the detriment of any British viewers who are serious about production but for whom the name is inseparable from Petula’s “Where’s my Clint?” Gordinos Inamorato at dinner ladies – track his costume and unwittingly establish a relationship with his partner.
Accompaniment and disclosure of criminal conspiracies followed. Not too pronounced or too innovative, but capable enough to keep you coming back for the remaining four episodes. Moreover, we are still waiting for the arrival of Florence Pew as Elena Belova and Alakva Cox as Maya Lopez/superhero Echo.
The chemistry – odd as any other – between Renner and Steinfeld is immense. Renner made a career out of a charismatic second violinist on the big screen – sometimes so uncharismatic that he sometimes felt that bluffs had to scream. The small screen translation suits him and his low-energy presence.
When she was kidnapped by scammers (and held in an abandoned playground instead of a warehouse – all converted into apartments, her captor explained), she asked if she could speak to their manager. “It’s like talking to furniture,” he explains tiredly and in a relaxed, totally believable atmosphere.
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But it was Steinfeld who dominated.
He sells the frustrated teenage aspect of Kate – again and again to the limits of his mentor’s potential – and scenes as a harrowing and helpless observer of his mother’s (as Vera Farmiga’s ever-unused) relationship with Jack, as well as making action film sequences.
While the plot isn’t much – the little that happens in the first two episodes is unstable and full of holes that leave a lot of confidence and hope it will start filling up soon – the characters are a believable and slightly more emotional investment. Than usual. Or at least MCUsual, though we’re not in Wanda and Vision territory.