TV review: Hawkeye
Here's a sorry not sorry.
It may seem obvious to say that yet another Marvel offering on Disney+ is a great show that will grab you and keep you gripped in a number of ways.
But Hawkeye, all puns intended, hits all its targets.
I'm not a huge fan of Jeremy Renner but he's been doing a grand job in portraying unassuming yet supremely skilled everymen since the short-lived TV series The Unusuals back in 2009.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) version of Clint Barton (aka Hawkeye) has been much maligned as the guy with 12 arrows on the same team as a god.
In this series, he even has the ignominy of not being granted a verse in the cringe-worthy Rogers: The Musical.
Yep, Hawkeye is all too human, and the many explosions and heavy falls suffered as an Avenger have rendered him effectively deaf.
While he is a trained assassin – a part of his Thanos-era life that's coming back to haunt him – he's still a family man and has that paternal instinct when trying to help his wannabe protege Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld).
And they work really well together. Steinfeld and Renner have a fun dynamic and her over-eagerness crashes against his worldweariness. She's inspired by him, he just wants things wrapped up.
While the first two episodes set everything up fine – Kate's stepdad-to-be could well be making a play to head a New York crime syndicate – the third episode brings everything together.
It's funny, it has a standout car chase and some great action that gives justice to Hawkeye's skills more than the movies ever did, and in part, there are one or two "feels arrows" aimed straight for your heart.
Director Rhys Thomas, who has done great work with spoof series Documentary Now!, has pulled out all the stops on this and produced one of the best episodes in all of the MCU TV series to date.
The other great thing is the setting and the stakes.
If you want to set something around the festive season, aim for New York City.
And as Hawkeye promised his family he'll be back in six days to spend Christmas with them, get ready for that warm Yule glow by the sixth episode.
But to retain some Grinch credentials for myself, the show does leave a bad taste in how it has relegated David Aja and Matt Fraction – the creators of the comic book run this series is very heavily based on including the credits design – to mere passing mentions.
If Marvel/Disney really want to invoke a Christmassy glow, it's time they give some real credit to those the MCU owes so much to.
STARRING: Jeremy Renner, Hailee Steinfeld, Vera Farmiga, Tony Dalton, Alaqua Cox
DIRECTOR: Rhys Thomas
THE SKINNY: Rich heiress Kate Bishop (Steinfeld), a survivor of the Chitauri attack on New York, prefers her bow and arrow to gala balls. But after stumbling on an underground auction run by the criminal underworld, she is on the run. Her actions also attract the attention of Avenger Clint Barton (Renner), who takes it upon himself to protect and guide her.
SHOWING ON: Disney+