Hawkeye First Reviews: Hailee Steinfeld Hits the Bullseye in the MCU's Most Grounded Series

Critics say the MCU's latest series is a light-hearted, low-stakes return to basics that delivers big on action and engaging banter as it introduces Marvel's next big hero.

by | November 23, 2021 | Comments

The final Marvel series to hit Disney+ this year is Hawkeye, which will drop its first two episodes to Disney+ on Wednesday, November 24. Taking a break from the big-budget, high-concept, and explosive Avengers-themed programs to hit the platform thus far, the continuation of Clint Barton’s (Jeremy Renner) story takes things ground-level in New York City to catch up with the man since all that unfortunate Thanos stuff sent the world into a tizzy in Avengers: Endgame.

The basic gist of the series follows the man formerly known as Hawkeye as he strives to spend Christmas with his family. Unfortunately for him, former foes resurface, along with the traumas of the past, to get in the way of achieving his goal. To make matters worse, someone has decided to don his old Ronin costume and take up the vigilante mantle he left behind. That someone is newcomer Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), whose archery skills and young energy provide a worthy sidekick for the aging Avenger. Will he end up making it back to his wife and daughter in time to deck the halls?

Vera Farmiga, Tony Dalton, Florence Pugh, Fra Fee, Zahn McClarnon, and Brian d’Arcy James also star in the series, which is currently Fresh on the Tomatometer.

Expectations are always high when a new Marvel series hits television, but is this one another hit? Here’s what critics are saying about Hawkeye season 1:


Hailee Steinfeld in Hawkeye season 1

(Photo by Disney+)

Unlike previous Disney+ series, the stakes are low and street-level. The story is contained within New York City as Clint and Kate deal with local gangsters and crooked socialites. It’s actually refreshing to not concentrate on theories of how the series is connected to the next phase of MCU films. – Laura Sirkil, Empire Magazine

It starts off a little slow, and seems lower budget than previous Marvel Disney+ shows. – Grace Randolph, Beyond the Trailer

It’s a series that pales in scope to its predecessors. It seems as if the show is just the tiniest of specks on the ever-growing whiteboard that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As it turns out, Hawkeye is exactly what the MCU needs. – Adam Barnhardt,

Much like The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Hawkeye is tackling secondary storylines that it really doesn’t need to, and that makes me fearful that it could suffer from similarly undercooked conclusions further down the line. – Matt Purslow, IGN Movies

Hawkeye is not as ambitious as WandaVision, but it has a breezy quality that’s easy to get into. – Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic


Much of this series is inspired by the Matt Fraction run just by feel alone, and is something that fans of that storyline will totally geek out over. The MCU Clint Barton is not the same as the comic book Clint Barton, which is something long time fans know, but Marvel really succeeds at merging the two so that it works in Hawkeye. – Glen Weldon, NPR

Hawkeye feels like a lighthearted Christmas action romp. Call it “Die Hard With Exploding Arrows.” – Bob Strauss, San Francisco Chronicle

The Disney Plus Hawkeye is too beholden to the larger MCU as a guiding narrative force and generic house style of filming to truly find its own voice. – Caroline Framke, Variety

Quick-witted banter is thrown around as regularly as molotov cocktails, and cozy homes and snowy streets are more common than high-tech HQs. It’s grounded without being overly gritty, and while it leans on the MCU’s past it’s not too lore heavy. All of those things make the first two episodes of Hawkeye the most accessible MCU show yet. – Rosie Knight, Polygon

Hawkeye is a few different things. It’s a chance to spend more time with one of the lesser-known Avengers, it’s an origin story for an up-and-coming hero, and it’s a detective drama set amidst the backdrop of Christmas in New York City as the MCU adds yet another genre to its all-enveloping fold. Most importantly, though, it’s a Marvel series that doesn’t take itself too seriously — making the first two episodes unexpectedly fun. – Andrew Webster, The Verge

From the arch (heh) irreverent tone to the rounded, pastel artwork of the opening titles, everything about this show feels ripped right out of Matt Fraction and David Aja’s celebrated comic run in 2012. – Clint Worthington, Consequence


Sometimes there is nothing like good old fashioned street level action, and that is exactly what Hawkeye delivers. Of course elaborate fight scenes and battles with alien creatures are fun, but there is something to be said about taking it to the ground as well. – Tessa Smith, Mama’s Geeky

Despite Marvel Studios not having a hand in helping develop the DefendersVerse on Netflix, there are some brutal hand-to-hand fights reminiscent of Daredevil. – Adam Barnhardt,

There’s quite a bit of action and scrappy hand-to-hand combat reminiscent of the Netflix shows to enjoy throughout the episodes, particularly with the introduction of the amusing “bro”-ey tracksuit mafia. Steinfield’s Bishop really does immerse herself in the action, while Renner’s Barton is a trusty and experienced hand throughout the combat scenarios. – Nicola Austin, We Have a Hulk


Renner portrays the heartbreak Clint endured when he lost Natasha on Vormir in a gutwrenching way, and his soulful, sincere performance means the actor is able to make us fully buy into the hero’s struggle to carry on as normal while dealing with the emotional toll that grief is taking on him. – Josh Wilding,

Their classic “buddy cop” dynamic is fun to watch with Kate as the eager, bright-eyed rookie and Clint playing the part of the gruff and jaded veteran. – Joey Morona, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Steinfeld brings exactly what fans would expect to see out of a live-action Kate Bishop. It’s hard to shake the feeling that, years from now, we’ll look back at this casting and see it on the level of Robert Downey’s arrival as Tony Stark. Hailee Steinfeld is Kate Bishop, and she’s going to be your favorite superhero. – Adam Barnhardt,


Hailee Steinfeld) and Jeremy Renner in HAWKEYE

(Photo by Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios)

​​While not employed thus far, the Hawkeye trailer does reveal that there will be trick arrows before it’s over. Yet unless that arsenal significantly improves the show’s payload, the guy who once said he couldn’t miss might rather ironically be associated with a Marvel series that conspicuously does. – Brian Lowry, CNN

​​Their quivers are packed with potential and this series is on target to be one of the best Disney+ has created so far. Grab one of Herman’s Hearty Slices, sit back and enjoy. Marvel’s Hawkeye is a can’t miss. – Elijah Montoya, Geeks of Color

This cheerful and action-packed series is off to a good start. – Austin Burke, Austin Burke/Flick Fan Nation

Hawkeye isn’t the year’s primo gift so much as the cheap socks or oversized t-shirt stuffed thoughtlessly into your stocking.- Ben Travers, IndieWire Chronicle

​​If you’re looking for a fun holiday spin on the vigilante trope that plants Marvel’s trajectory firmly back on the streets of New York City, this spirited series delivers. – Alicia Gilstorf, Tell-Tale TV

Hawkeye feels very much like a return to the old MCU, one not layered with too many characters or universe-ending concepts. Hawkeye, in a sense, is simple — stop the bad buys so that a dad can make it home for Christmas. – Herb Scribner, Deseret News (Salt Lake City)

Hawkeye premieres its first two episodes on Wednesday, November 24 on Disney+. The remaining four episodes will air each following Wednesday.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

CMT Paramount Holidays Logo Alien FX on Hulu WGN binge trailers legend crossover festival DC Comics Fall TV true crime biopic green book finale romantic comedy dark classics Schedule hidden camera LGBT historical drama godzilla 4/20 Sci-Fi miniseries BBC One FOX PaleyFest slasher Sony Pictures Sundance women Travel Channel festivals theme song halloween scene in color Red Carpet critic resources cults basketball Mudbound Rocketman worst movies Hallmark monster movies sports kaiju Star Wars Apple TV Plus marvel cinematic universe nature Awards Grammys Comedy Central serial killer what to watch wonder woman all-time Musicals dceu documentary ghosts Musical adenture reviews golden globe awards posters TBS Character Guide IMDb TV Fargo political drama superman medical drama CBS comedies Instagram Live nbcuniversal concert Year in Review hispanic heritage month leaderboard gangster Pirates batman Captain marvel BAFTA Endgame game show popular book adaptation 71st Emmy Awards Fox Searchlight genre discovery Sundance Now Interview suspense 99% Universal Marathons CNN deadpool cooking History ESPN Baby Yoda japan Walt Disney Pictures Food Network razzies game of thrones Esquire Summer based on movie toronto El Rey President Mystery Pixar blockbuster television 72 Emmy Awards OneApp Comic-Con@Home 2021 scorecard independent Turner Ovation emmy awards football canceled SDCC renewed TV shows hispanic Amazon Prime Video blockbusters Creative Arts Emmys Acorn TV 90s Arrowverse Emmys high school Chernobyl Anna Paquin PBS new york live event MCU spinoff telelvision Box Office TLC Teen Image Comics ABC Family TCM Spring TV Cosplay screen actors guild strong female leads Nickelodeon Amazon Studios Spike jamie lee curtis obituary thriller Exclusive Video VOD Universal Pictures Chilling Adventures of Sabrina italian Black History Month RT History Pop TV Kids & Family Columbia Pictures kong spider-verse Hulu animated A&E CBS All Access canceled TV shows Crackle Holiday TV renewals LGBTQ Binge Guide doctor who Countdown Lifetime Christmas movies Rom-Com crime thriller aliens king arthur Vudu Pride Month The Academy young adult TCA Winter 2020 vs. Stephen King DC Universe Certified Fresh TIFF indie mutant travel Sneak Peek Lifetime YA Superheroe sequel cops rt archives heist movie Netflix movies 21st Century Fox franchise Shudder Starz child's play Masterpiece 93rd Oscars archives Super Bowl Wes Anderson Classic Film singing competition sopranos TNT police drama Nat Geo worst teaser DC streaming service Britbox USA christmas movies vampires Disney Plus sequels dc Television Critics Association elevated horror harry potter Tubi TV Land chucky FXX spanish language documentaries new star wars movies The Witch BBC America Reality Competition movie asian-american foreign Legendary Cannes Opinion DirecTV casting BET sag awards crime boxoffice name the review A24 superhero Emmy Nominations james bond Western hist 2016 reboot Comics on TV live action Tomatazos DGA Rocky richard e. Grant Hallmark Christmas movies Mary Poppins Returns rotten movies we love Syfy halloween tv First Look Brie Larson Avengers pirates of the caribbean 24 frames laika trophy Superheroes 45 Tarantino Discovery Channel VH1 comic books Bravo TruTV 007 nfl Trivia aapi Trailer rt labs critics edition Spectrum Originals period drama docudrama justice league action-comedy Showtime comic book movies rotten werewolf remakes best Drama Apple critics Video Games spider-man mob australia french The CW free movies SundanceTV Funimation Lucasfilm IFC Tumblr hollywood Christmas technology Sundance TV fresh Oscars Comic Book Song of Ice and Fire X-Men Thanksgiving Animation Disney+ Disney Plus cancelled TV series Photos YouTube Premium 20th Century Fox Best and Worst boxing 2020 Amazon golden globes a nightmare on elm street king kong revenge die hard Reality RT21 kids know your critic facebook Valentine's Day SXSW screenings adventure japanese stand-up comedy prank universal monsters Polls and Games mission: impossible Pacific Islander anime parents rom-coms anthology Pop BET Awards ViacomCBS Paramount Plus toy story Mindy Kaling dragons ratings Ghostbusters natural history GIFs spanish Country Women's History Month tv talk comic Adult Swim NYCC FX Turner Classic Movies Star Trek versus art house transformers ABC Biopics lord of the rings 73rd Emmy Awards Podcast stop motion Crunchyroll psychological thriller AMC Plus 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards quibi APB sitcom satire dogs OWN The Arrangement diversity Toys book Black Mirror olympics New York Comic Con HBO Max Disney streaming service See It Skip It Awards Tour comics robots Mary Tyler Moore cars war slashers politics Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt streaming movies docuseries Calendar MTV ABC Signature Tokyo Olympics E! Action science fiction GLAAD rt labs international Freeform indiana jones Apple TV+ dexter latino TCA witnail TV NBC Martial Arts Rock Amazon Prime TCA Awards National Geographic IFC Films YouTube Red 2015 Broadway Family TV movies cartoon First Reviews Premiere Dates space comic book movie TV One crime drama ITV target spy thriller HBO zombies cats scary movies blaxploitation debate Pet Sematary Winter TV social media children's TV Marvel Studios Disney venice composers news black comedy Disney Channel 2018 talk show psycho comiccon cancelled television CW Seed USA Network Marvel Television stoner Election AMC Hear Us Out Fox News scary Lionsgate black adaptation mockumentary ID Infographic Film Festival Netflix Christmas movies Trophy Talk Extras Paramount Network Heroines E3 criterion 1990s NBA award winner WarnerMedia royal family BBC Writers Guild of America 2017 video disaster unscripted directors American Society of Cinematographers Comedy 2021 cinemax spain Horror romance Cartoon Network Television Academy cancelled TV shows YouTube Neflix streaming joker Marvel new zealand Warner Bros. Shondaland marvel comics biography The Purge TCA 2017 Nominations Academy Awards video on demand Elton John Peacock The Walking Dead zero dark thirty VICE Film dreamworks fast and furious Epix The Walt Disney Company saw Fantasy Winners MSNBC feel good GoT HBO Go films cancelled Ellie Kemper Dark Horse Comics San Diego Comic-Con twilight Quiz Watching Series mcc series 2019 Set visit Music dramedy supernatural Mary poppins jurassic park south america PlayStation breaking bad zombie