The Columbus Dispatch

Steinfeld shines with Renner in ‘Hawkeye’

- Bill Goodykoont­z

Whether the world needs another entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – do we call it that when it’s a TV show? – is debatable.

What isn’t is that we’ve got one. In this case that’s a good thing. “Hawkeye” (the first two episodes now streaming on Disney+) doesn’t delve too deeply into the Sturm und Drang of the MCU we see in one of the high-profile movies (at least not in the two episodes sent to critics for review).

In fact, part of the point of the show, created by Jonathan Igla, is shining a light on who might charitably be called a lesser avenger: Hawkeye, played by Jeremy Renner. He’s not anonymous – grateful New Yorkers recognize him after he helped save the city. But he’s not Tony Stark.

“Hawkeye” is not as ambitious as “Wandavisio­n,” but it has a breezy quality that’s easy to get into.

Plus, it’s got a standout performanc­e from Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop, who stumbles into Hawkeye’s life early on.

Hawkeye doesn’t have any super powers, but he is an expert archer, as anyone who has seen the passel of Avengers and Avengers adjacent movies can attest. He lost his family in the Blip, but they returned. The six-episode series takes place after they’re back, with Clint Barton – Hawkeye’s civilian name – squiring his kids around New York a few days before Christmas.

In one of the best scenes in the series, he takes his kids to see “Rogers: The Musical,” a Broadway show based on the adventures of Captain America and the other Avengers. It’s hilarious, but maybe not for Clint.

Kate is a rich, 22-year-old student. Her father was killed in the Battle of New York, which we revisit from her perspectiv­e. It’s a great creative choice – seeing what an incomprehe­nsible event like that looks like from the point of view of a kid inside one of the buildings, many of which wound up collateral damage, instead of the god’s eye view in “The Avengers.”

Also an expert archer, Kate is in trouble at school for using her skills to accidental­ly bring down a historic bell tower on campus. Her mother Eleanor (Vera Farmiga) is upset, but she’s more concerned about breaking big news to Kate: Eleanor is going to marry Jack Duquesne (Tony Dalton).

Kate is not impressed. Perhaps with good reason.

At a swank Christmas party, Kate, through a convoluted series of events involving a black-market auction for rich creeps (not her), winds up with the costume of Ronin, the vigilante Clint became for a time in “Avengers: Endgame.”

Trouble follows. Kate is handily a martial arts expert as well, thanks to years of training. That and her archery skills will come in handy.

Clint just wants to get back home with his children to his wife, Laura (Linda Cardellini). But when he sees a news report of someone emerging from mayhem wearing the Ronin suit, he knows he’s got some business in New York to tend to. So he sends the kids home, finds Kate and their adventures begin.

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