Basically: The latest edition to those holiday playlists filled with Christmas action-comedies BUT this time with a bullseye point-of-view from Hawkeye and Kate Bishop
When Disney+ proclaimed “this holiday season, the best gifts come with a bow” they were letting us know they’re giving us an escapist romp to whisk us away from the doldrums of a very long year. I’ve enjoyed a thing or two from previous MCU series; I’ve also lifted an eyebrow at a few other things, but this latest adventure (based on the comics from Matt Fraction and David Aja) is an adrenaline fueled, emotionally snappy good time.
Our story starts in NYC at Christmastime because Die Hard and Lethal Weapon are its parents—big city holidays are the rules. Well, actually our story starts several years earlier on the kind of day that forces itself onto our calendars. Enter Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld): daughter of wealth, traumatic past, overachiever, total prankster. Yup, classic superhero. She gets into some trouble involving a bell tower or a clock tower (maybe both) and goes home to face her even more overachieving philanthropist mom (Vera Farmiga). But mom has a new boyfriend comic book fans will recognize (Tony Dalton). Kate isn’t into this Zorro wannabe. We’re not sure why mom likes him either.
Oops, I digress. Rewind <<< Yup, classic superhero. Of course she is, her hero is Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and although they’ve never met it turns out Clint is a great mentor from afar. He’s also a really good dad. As witnessed by another iconic scene at a Chinese restaurant. Marvel loves a good Chinese restaurant and the way sitting around the table builds bonds between characters. And it works, especially in how the two families are paralleled and contrasted. Clint has earned his ‘happy,’ Kate is still in search of hers.
Then somehow (I know how but I’ll let you enjoy it for yourself), after a series of magnificently breathless heist / chase / fight scenes, Kate and Hawkeye meet. AND she is a problem for him. The thing is, Kate’s determination to figure out her future is unearthing Clint’s past and he’s not onboard. Thus, with those opposing motivations in place, things go terribly wrong in a domino chain of very bad happenstance, including a gang known as the tracksuit Mafia, a pizza loving pup, and some nice swords. The resulting two episodes are hilarious and touching and wild and thoroughly enjoyable.
Have you seen Rogers the Musical? How about that extended chase scene? See what I mean?
Peak performances from the cast, writing on full ignition, action that thrills, and a lot of room to tell what looks to be a fulfilling coming-of-age for one buddy and the reconciling of the past for the other. Die Hard and Lethal Weapon would be proud.
In the end: I had a good time with this one. I’m betting you will too.