The premiere finds Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) in New York City with his kids, leaving his beyond-patient wife (Linda Cardellini) behind. But the early focus is on the young Kate (Hailee Steinfeld) and her origin story, having lost her dad and — inspired by Hawkeye’s example — committed herself to mastering combat and archery, which fairly quickly comes in handy.
Kate essentially stumbles onto a strange conspiracy, and in the process runs across an artifact that’s destined to catch Clint’s attention. He’s understandably cranky, however, about getting drawn into a mystery that will keep him in New York, threatening the family time for which he’s been hoping with Christmas only a few days away.
As initially lined up, though, the battles the pair face involve a particularly tired bunch of miscreants. Even a show that approaches its episodic run like an extra-long movie owes the audience a bit more momentum than this, especially when those installments roll out weekly.
So what’s left? One genuinely laugh-out-loud funny gag in the first episode, and the interplay between the curmudgeonly Clint and the enthusiastic Kate, with Steinfeld well-chosen for some sort of baton (or arrow) pass, but moderately fleshed out as a character in the early going.
Beyond entering the world of superheroes, Kate’s issues also include her mom (Vera Farmiga, underused at first) having entered into a new relationship with Jack (“Better Call Saul’s” Tony Dalton), who provokes Kate’s suspicions.
“Hawkeye” premieres Nov. 24 on Disney+.