Hawkeye Is A Christmas Show: Review And Comparison

The writer spends an evening watching Marvel Studios new show, Hawkeye.

Bobby Moore

The writer spends an evening watching Marvel Studios’ new show, Hawkeye.

Emily Moore

My dad and I have seen every Marvel movie since Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World. He’s been collecting Marvel comic books since he was a kid, and therefore I was introduced to the world of Marvel practically at birth, along with grunge music and Led Zeppelin. And of course, being my father’s daughter, as I saw Odin reveal himself as Loki before the credits of The Dark World, I was enamored in the already enormous Marvel Cinematic universe, like many, many others. Little did I know, as a seven-year-old, that this universe would keep expanding and widening, so much so that there would be limited series-shows- about side characters that were the main characters of their own story. I would watch those with my dad, too, but not as a jittery seven-year-old, but as a weary sixteen-year-old, taking a break from seemingly endless homework. 
We watched WandaVision at the beginning of the pandemic, then The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Loki that summer, of course, and now, just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas, we sat down with some of my grandmother’s banana pudding and watched the first few episodes of Hawkeye. 
I say ‘just in time for Christmas’ because Hawkeye itself is set during the leading days before Christmas. In my opinion, it gives a very cozy backdrop to a time that can be stressful for some, with the classic New York-at-Christmas scenes and vibes, especially with the inclusion of Rodgers: The Musical within the show. The first episode is solely dedicated to introducing the new character of Kate Bishop, who is a young, top-notch archer, and connecting her to Clint Barton (Hawkeye). It was a pretty good first episode, but honestly? It was just okay. I was impressed that it wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t the greatest thing I’d ever seen either. 
As they both made their debut in the pilot, the Tracksuit Mafia and Pizza Dog continue to be regulars in the show alongside Kate and Clint in the second, as they try to “disentangle” themselves from the mysterious web of crime and suspicious activity that have been going on around them. Fans of the comic books will recognize the Tracksuit Mafia and Pizza Dog from the comic books, but otherwise, this is the first time either of them have been in the MCU. I don’t know what it was, but I was more into this episode than I was the first one. I really began to enjoy seeing Kate on screen, seeing her play a sort of foil to Clint. It’s something that’s been done to death, but somehow, it works for this show. There’s also another new character from the comic that gets introduced in episode two, but it gets sort of spoilery from here on out. The third episode is even better than the second, and I’ve really been enjoying it. It’s better than nothing, but more so, it’s better than Captain Marvel, and it’s better than Eternals, which is what I was scared of.
Hawkeye, by itself, stands pretty strong, but it finds itself lagging behind when compared to other Marvel shows on Disney Plus- except for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. In my opinion, Falcon was just a Marvel movie split up into a series of episodes. It was entertaining, yes, but coming out after the masterpiece of Wandavision? Falcon stood no chance. Hawkeye gets points for being in the same “Marvel Movie vibe” camp as Falcon, but feeling like the show format is essential to telling the story it wants to tell, and doing it in a semi-unique way. The bright, saturated colors of the Christmas setting, the mixed variety of mise-en-scene, its use and exclusion of audio for certain scenes, as well as the overall story, place it above Falcon.
Placing above Falcon is definitely an accomplishment, but never in a million years would Hawkeye ever top my second and first favorite Marvel shows, Loki and WandaVision, respectively. Loki could be a Marvel movie, too, but a good Marvel movie. What highlights it to me are some of the same things that highlight Hawkeye: immaculate and immersive colors and mise-en-scene, the “quirky” energy of the TVA and their whole concept, but also the stellar acting performances done by Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sophia DiMartino, and especially Johnathan Majors, allegedly as Kang the Conqueror. It embellished the typical Marvel format so well; I loved what it did for the MCU. Hawkeye just didn’t do that for me. 
Moreover, WandaVision was not just a wonderful addition to the MCU, like Loki, but integral, artful and the paragon of what a Marvel spin-off show should be. Granted, what gave WandaVision its uniqueness was the fact that they got to work within the confines of Wanda’s magic: she had a crutch on old T.V. sitcoms, so what does she do when she cannot comprehend her grief for her loss of Vision? She makes her own little family sitcom world, complete with the nuclear family and “I Love Lucy” and “Bewitched” references. The show also masterfully balances the story inside, with Wanda and Vision, with the story outside, with Darcy Lewis and Monica Rambo. Because of what the writers, directors and cinematographers had to work with, it puts all the other shows at a disadvantage. Falcon and Hawkeye do not exactly have the privilege of grief magic that can create an own universe in itself. The only exception to this might be Loki, but because the writers had to work within the parameters of sitcoms, they had an easier time getting variety in their shots, colors, and lighting. Loki had to come up with those all by themselves. Despite its obvious advantage, WandaVision still reigns supreme, with Loki and Hawkeye trailing close behind, Falcon out of breath, hoping they find a park bench somewhere to sit down and rest.
So this Christmas, why not sit down with your family member of choice (who may or may not talk your ear off about what was in the comic books and what wasn’t) and watch Hawkeye? It has all the hallmarks of a good action movie- bow and arrow fights, beating up the bad guys, hiding out in empty apartments- and the whimsical sights, sounds, and car chases of the holiday season. And yes- that makes Hawkeye a Christmas show.