First reactions to Hawkeye are in: Critics dig Kate Bishop, tease ‘street-level’ vibe

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First reactions to Hawkeye are in: Critics dig Kate Bishop, tease ‘street-level’ vibe

The phrase “street level” appears over and over again in reviewers’ early reactions to the series.

Hawkeye Still

Falcon and Cap have had their turn, as have Wanda and Vision, plus a certain mischievous adopted Asgardian. Now Marvel’s MCU-connected lineup at Disney+ is nocking an arrow and getting all set to take its next shot, with the series premiere of Hawkeye less than two short weeks away.

Hawkeye picks up in the Marvel timeline where starJeremy Renner’s momentary dark turn left off in Avengers: Endgame, following our ace archer (now that the world’s safe from Thanos) as Hawkeye teams up with MCU newcomer Hailee Steinfeld (as Kate Bishop). With the series on target for a Nov. 24 debut at Disney+, media critics have gotten their first glimpse at what’s in store — and the early impressions mostly agree that Hawkeye hits closest to the mark when it comes to spinning a smaller, more personal style of character-driven story than its recent MCU predecessors on the big screen.

The phrase “street level” appears over and over again in reviewers’ early reactions to the series, with The Hollywood Reporter’s Brian Davids offering a typical reaction: “If you're a fan of street-level stakes in the MCU like I am, then #Hawkeye is right in your wheelhouse,” he tweeted. “Hailee Steinfeld and Tony ‘Tell Me Again’ Dalton truly steal the show, and I'm already looking forward to the day when Kate Bishop meets Yelena Belova.”

Discussing Film editor ArielK also zeroed in on the whole “street level” vibe: "#Hawkeye  is a refreshing break from the grand-scale cosmic (and multiversal) madness we've seen from the MCU recently, going fully street-level to deliver a fun and engaging Christmas-coloured murder mystery."

The harshest criticism so far comes from BroBible’s Eric Italiano, who tweeted that Hawkeye’s story “feels cobbled together and undercooked,” and perhaps a little too familiar for a series meant to explore one of the MCU’s most conflicted characters (after all, Hawkeye has been seriously scarred by survivor’s guilt, having been a firsthand witness to one of the MCU's most heart-wrenching losses).

While reviewers have so far only been treated to the series’ early episodes, the consensus seems to be that Renner and Steinfeld make an instantly likable hero pair, even if the initial story beats leave some critics wishing for more epic MCU magic. It definitely sounds like a fresh break from the endangered-universe stakes of recent Marvel films, favoring instead a more episodic story arc that gives its lead arrow-slingin’ characters (and yes, that includes Lucky the Pizza Dog) time to bond, and to shine, in smaller ways.

Regardless of what the critics think, fans won’t have to wait long to judge for themselves whether Hawkeye scores another small-screen bullseye for Marvel’s emerging lineup of Disney+ shows. Slated to unfold through six installments, the limited series kicks off on Nov. 24 with the simultaneous release of the first pair of episodes, followed with a new episode each week until the series finale on Dec. 22.

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