It’s been a week of Marvel fans getting exactly what they wanted, especially in the penultimate episode of Hawkeye
Spider-Man: No Way Home debuts today. With its villains and rumored Spider-Man cameos and social media buzzing about at the seams, calling it one of the best Spidey-films of all time. No Way Home has gotten stellar reviews thus far, with high expectations that this will be the first big billion-dollar box office hit for Disney for the first time since the pandemic began.
Why do I mention this?
Well, the new Spider-Man movie is not the only bit of fan service that Marvel is delivering on right now in terms of arachnid-themed superhero characters. Last week was the return of Black Widow’s sister, Yelena. Which was hinted at, showcased, and on kickass display during the final battle of last week’s Hawkeye episode. A beloved new character featured during last Summer’s Black Widow movie, Yelena Belova was easily the new mantle taker in Natasha Romanov’s fond farewell.
Played by Florence Pugh, Yelena’s personality in this one is a lot less stoic; a reminder of her all-fun and witty confidence showcased in last summer’s Black Widow. Full of funny wise-cracking jokes and that thick self-assured Russian accent, Yelena’s stellar scenes stand out during her fun girls’ dinner with Kate. Though the beginning of this one delves on some rather tragic backstory as to where she has been this entire time, having been Thanos Snapped into the future… where she learns that her sister is no more.
Yelena’s current status is that she’s on a revenge mission against her sister’s killer: Hawkeye. Though the circumstances as to how and why she’s doing this, do prove to be a plot thread that drives together everything within the Hawkeye series.
Mostly, however, Yelena is there to serve as a bit of a foil to Kate. Seeing as though these two actresses may be the future of the franchises, with Yelena as Widow and Kate as Hawkeye, there’s a lot of promise to be had that’s seen here for the future of both young women’s franchises in the MCU. The story between both women in episode five is portrayed all for good tension, and even better, character reveals – emphasizing Yelena’s knowledge of the Clint Barton as a weapon plotline, and stressing how much Kate really shouldn’t trust her mentor.
Thus far, the Hawkeye Disney plus series has been mostly a nod about the passing of the arrow. One where Kate Bishop starts to learn the ropes and takes on the mantle of her mentor. Even though it’s sad given how long Jeremy Renner has been with the franchise, and it does seem like in this episode we’re getting resolutions to possibly end his storyline, I do think this series does set it up well in terms of Clint’s closure? Especially, as at this point, we see Hawkeye as a rather tired and broken man – guilted-ridden for his murders as Rhonin, and even more downtrodden, over his role in the death of Natasha… even though we the audience know he was entirely not at fault.
Overall, the Ronin conclusion is sort of letting Hawkeye’s remaining demons be put to rest. It’s also a strange bond that brings his and Maya’s (Echo) stories to a head together, in what’s easily the most controversial revelation of the MCU Disney+ series to date, and the big thing almost everyone has been excited about on the internet.
BIG SPOILER TO FOLLOW
Because the biggest plot twist for this episode and the big reveal that almost everyone on the internet is going crazy over: was the reveal that Maya’s father had actually been double-crossed. The Ronin was tipped off about the tracksuit mafia, under the orders of none other than the Kingpin himself! Played, yet again… by beloved Netflix Daredevil TV series star: Vincent D’Nofrio!!
It’s a heck of a plotline and some serious fan service, as folks have been strongly wanting to bring back the Netflix series into the MCU fold. With this, being the first time we can finally see it come slightly to fruition. Though we the audience won’t know to what extent, I do think seeing Kingpin added to this universe (and possibly MCU Spider-Verse?) will do nothing but add on some truly deep layers to the Marvel MCU.
With only one finale left and one of Marvel’s biggest villains brought back, there’s a lot to be excited about for Hawkeye! We’ll do a special feature about it next week.