Marvel’s Hawkeye surprised me – it was definitely a prolonged Christmas movie I did not know I needed! In Episode 7 of the documentary series Marvel Studios: Assembled, I learned the backstories that gave me a greater appreciation of the film.

Warning ‘Hawkeye’ Spoilers Ahead!

Because of the damage to Clint Barton’s (Jeremy Renner) arc Marvel’s controversial film, Avengers: Endgame, had caused, I did not think that I was going to enjoy it. However, just like Loki corrected the sins of Avengers: Infinity War by practically rebooting the universally beloved villain-turned-hero with the title name (Tom Hiddleston), Hawkeye actually went back and dived down deep into Clint’s mourning of his best friend Natasha Romanoff’s (Scarlett Johansson) death as well as his guilt and regret for his actions under his Ronin persona – giving the character the rightful redemption arc that Endgame deprived of him.

While Natasha had saved Clint from his Ronin alter ego, Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) – a young archer inspired by Clint himself who saved her life during the Battle of New York that took place in The Avengers – revived his self-identity and reminded him why he is an Avenger. The “father-daughter-like” dynamic of Clint and Katie was the highlight of the entire series. They have definitely become one of the most iconic duos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

This show also redeemed Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova for me. While I never completely disliked her character, she did really irritate me in Black Widow for stealing Natasha’s spotlight in her first (and probably only) solo film.

Meanwhile, Hawkeye delivered Yelena with the same admirable humor she portrayed in Black Widow but in such a way that she was not outshining everyone. Her strong love for her “sister” Natasha was evident in her quest to avenge Natasha’s death and especially during Yelena’s conversation with Clint about the famous redheaded ex-assassin turned Avenger towards the end of the series finale which brought me to tears. The way that Hawkeye served Natasha the justice that her own movie failed to do – not to mention Endgame – is astonishing!

I noticed that when the actors behind these Marvel characters are heavily involved in the storytelling process and are allowed to share their insight with the directors and writers on how the people that they are portraying should behave in various scenes, those projects that they are working on turn out for the better.

Exhibit A: Loki. Hiddleston was very involved with the story development to the point he was educating the entire cast and crew – including Sophia Di Martino (Sylvie) and Owen Wilson (Mobius) – on his 10 year MCU journey as well as Loki’s character arc. Hiddleston even further explained the entire MCU to Wilson to help him properly prepare for his role. Not to mention that Hiddleston is also one of the series’ executive producers! As a result, Loki became the most popular Marvel show on Disney+ and won the People’s Choice Awards for Favorite TV Show and Male TV Star of the Year (Hiddleston).

Exhibit B: Hawkeye. While Renner isn’t a producer like Hiddleston is for his show, the production crew, according to Assembled, very frequently consulted with him about the development and arc of Clint which also resulted in a well-made, light-hearted action-comedy that everyone needed.

Exhibit C: Spider-Man: No Way Home. Giving Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire permission to improvise the majority of their scenes truly made the story feel more creative but also natural. While the movie was clearly fan-service, it also appropriately served each of the characters involved such as Peter 3 redeeming himself by catching Peter 1’s (Tom Holland) MJ (Zendaya) after previously failing to catch the love of his life, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). Despite not receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, No Way Home is a Spider-Man film that fans will never forget!

There was a time that I believed I would never be a fan of new MCU content again after Endgame considering all of the damage it caused. Fortunately, these three projects proved me wrong.

Letting the actors contribute ideas to the films and shows is important since no one understands these characters like they do. Writers and directors come and go, but the actors remain with their roles until “the end of the line.”

Assembled also noted that the producer went with Matt Fraction‘s sarcastic approach to Hawkeye from his comics rather than the more serious version of him that we have seen in the previous movies. I think this was an excellent choice in order to add more layers to the lead protagonist given that he has been a static character throughout most of the MCU movies (besides the Ronin twist in Endgame).

The Marvel documentary show even discussed the development process for Rogers: The Musical. The fact that a full-length song was produced along with dance-fight choreography put together by Heidi Moneymaker (Black Widow stunt double and stunt coordinator for Hawkeye) only for a fictional parody of Hamilton shown and referenced briefly in the series is incredible! I also was impressed that the musical performers were all cast locally in Atlanta and that Broadway’s Adam Pascal and musician Ty Taylor were able to lead the number.

I was also impressed that they cast an actual deaf woman, Alaqua Cox, who had never acted prior to this show to play Maya Lopez/Echo. I appreciate that the production crew was willing to accommodate her with extra direction for shooting scenes.

The most mind-blowing behind-the-scenes concept to me is the fact that the car chase scene was shot in a car attached to a moving platform in which Renner pretended to drive Steinfeld in as they performed their stunts while someone else was actually driving the vehicle from on top. Seems like a much more exciting way to shoot an action sequence rather than simply in front of a visual effects background plate!

The Hawkeye episode of Marvel Studios: Assembled definitely catered to the film junkie in me. Be sure to check it out on Disney+ if you have not yet along with the other episodes of the docuseries covering behind-the-scenes of projects such as Loki and Shang-Chi.

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