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Hawkeye Episode 5 – Review

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Marvel Studios

Episode five of Hawkeye from Marvel is here, streaming now on Disney Plus. It’s time for the next chapter in the MCU story. Here’s our Hawkeye review.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

I went into this with reasonable expectations. But I’ve been left deflated by what I’ve seen in the five episodes to date. But for the performances of Jeremy Renner, Hailee Steinfeld and now Florence Pugh, this series would have been the ideal turkey for the Christmas season in which it is set.

We pick up the action after a confrontation on the roof opposite an apartment hideout of Kazi and Maya. Clint has just told Kate their ‘partnership’ is over, and Natasha Romanoff’s sister Yelena has made her first attempt at Clint’s life. At this point, he only thinks she is a Black Widow assassin, rather than the sister of his best friend whose death he feels near all-consuming guilt.

The snap

Prior to this, we get a glimpse into Yelena’s back story. She appears to be a saviour of other Black Widow assassins. But she is one of the billions lost to The Snap and then found by The Blip in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame respectively. When she returns after The Snap, she discovers that Natasha is dead, and seeks revenge on Hawkeye for letting her sister die.

One thing I’ve discovered in this series is that Clint Barton’s wife is the most patient woman in the Universe. She seems completely phlegmatic about the fact her husband is stuck in New York. He is thousands of miles from his family and missing their idyllic homespun Christmas. All of this is a result of a quest he’s been forced into by a young woman he’d never met a week before.

Kate is bruised by Clint’s decision to ditch her but is refusing to cease her involvement. Her resolve is deepened, especially when Yelena breaks into her fire-damaged apartment. Yelena wants to have a chat with her and announces her intention to kill Clint, who she deems responsible for her sister’s death.

The Tracksuits

Meanwhile, Clint is attempting to defuse the situation with The Tracksuit Mafia, Kazi and Maya, who are seeking revenge on his alter ego, The Ronin. He arranges a meeting with Maya, which needless to say ends in a highly choreographed physical battle. This culminates in him revealing his face to Maya, sparing her life on the condition that she spares his family. However, all of this only happens after Kate saves his life again.

The sub-plot of Kate’s mother’s fiancé being the head of some shadowy corporation is seemingly ended with the amount of care and attention that I have for that storyline i.e. None. I have no doubt he’ll reappear at some point in the final episode or the future MCU. This is in spite of his wafer-thin characterisation and ludicrous accent and hairstyle.

Yelena tracks Kate’s mother Eleanor. After which it is revealed that not only did she want Hawkeye dead, but she has been working with Marvel super-villain Kingpin to ensure that end is met. Hawkeye has suspected from the start that someone higher up the criminal food chain is behind it all. But Kate is dumbfounded by the realisation that she is now up against her mother in the finale of this series, and the classic battle of good versus evil.

The big bad

I’m excited to see the brilliant Vincent D’Onofrio enter the MCU as the aforementioned Kingpin. But, again we’re being strung along with a paper-thin narrative ostensibly to introduce new characters. This is an aspect of the Marvel television series that is now beyond irritating.

I’ll continue to praise the performance of the lead actors because they’re hugely gifted. But they’re being let down by the mind-numbing pacing of poorly developed stories. I feel we’re watching hugely expanded end-credit scenes, and that simply cheats the loyal Marvel viewers.

For as long as Spider-Man: No Way Home is getting standing ovations from cinema goers, Marvel has a tremendous amount of credit in the bank. It’s a financial juggernaut that shows no time of slowing any time soon. We’ll ignore the fact that watching a film is not the same as watching Pavarotti or Bruce Springsteen in concert. I’m not saying people shouldn’t find films or TV emotional, heck I welled up at the end of Ghostbusters: Afterlife. But in my opinion, standing ovations should be only used when the protagonists of your entertainment can hear you and appreciate your love.

Going through the motions

My concern is that if Marvel they continue to provide dull output like Hawkeye, despite star names and high production values, they’re going to start to eat into that well of viewer loyalty. It isn’t infinite. This series has been a misfire, and everyone can be allowed a mistake or two along the way. But, the series coming in 2022 need to be more than a 3-hour plus lead-in to another Marvel movie or series. They have to stand alone of their own merits. I’ll be watching like a Hawk(eye).

I’ve reviewed all the live-action Marvel series this year. My general feeling is that it’s been a law of diminishing returns, with Hawkeye proving my point.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 6/10


Thank you for reading our review of Hawkeye episode five. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Check out our Hawkeye episode three and four reviews HERE.

Read IMDB information about Hawkeye HERE.

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Cobra Kai Season 4 – Review

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Netflix

Cobra Kai season four is out now on Netflix and the All Valley is back and better than ever. Here’s our review.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

It’s January, and new shows are popping up everywhere. This brings us to the show that I and my friends have been holding our breaths for: the fourth season of the hit Netflix series Cobra Kai! After three seasons, I wondered if there was anything left to mine from the Karate Kid lore or the Johnny/Daniel dynamic. I am happy to report that this might be my favourite season yet! It manages to not only expand upon the universe it has created, but to bring in a new villain, who is so bad that he threatens to outdo even John Kreese!

Alliance

Season four sets us off where the third left off, with Johnny and Daniel having joined forces to fight Cobra Kai. Their friendship arc is the glue that holds this season together. The story focuses largely on whether they will be able to pull it together and make their partnership work. As in previous seasons, their relationship has its ups and downs. The stakes are heightened, however, as the season leads up to the All-Valley Tournament. A bet between the three senseis – Kreese, Daniel, and Johnny – means that losing the All Valley is losing the title of sensei.

This season explores the ways that both Johnny and Daniel work with the kids. It also examines the kids’ struggles as they prepare for the All Valley while dealing with conflict within the ever-changing network of friends and enemies in the dojos. Robbie has left juvenile hall and decided to join up with Cobra Kai as a means of inflicting revenge on both his dad and Daniel. Tori and Sam continue their rivalry. And John Reese’s old friend Terry Silver (of Karate Kid 3 fame) shows up to kick Cobra Kai into high gear.

Daniel’s son, Anthony, who has largely been absent until now, faces his own dilemma when his friends begin bullying Kenny, the new kid in town. This soft-spoken middle school character brings us into the world of the younger kids, setting up yet another storyline. Kenny becomes the victim of a gang of kids (including Anthony), enduring round after round of bullying before Robbie takes him under his wing. After his induction into Cobra Kai, the formerly shy middle-schooler becomes a bully himself.

Shades of grey

This brings me to one of my favourite things about the show. The constant back and forth dynamic between characters makes us feel that anything is possible. There is no black and white in the world of Cobra Kai. Where the Karate Kid told us that Daniel was good, and Johnny was bad, this show gives us a very different point of view. It’s a world where we’re never sure who to root for. In this season, we even see Hawk make a return to the “good guys” side after giving up his spot at Cobra Kai.

With Eagle Fang (Johnny’s new dojo) and Miyagi-Do teaming up, the kids – and the adults – have to learn to work together. Of course, complications ensue. Johnny becomes jealous of what he perceives as Miguel’s preference for Daniel over him. Sam wants to learn both her dad’s karate style and Johnny’s, despite her father’s discouragement. Meanwhile, at Cobra Kai, Kreese is losing his grip on the dojo. His former war buddy, Terry Silver, puts off a rather benign appearance in episode one, growing more and more evil with each episode.

This season is lacking in many of the big fight scenes of the previous seasons, instead choosing to focus their energy on the characters. The All Valley Tournament features several great karate matches and offers a satisfying conclusion to Johnny and Daniel’s arc. In the end, Cobra Kai takes the tournament win, but Johnny and Daniel have reached an understanding.

New champions

Tori defeats Sam to take the women’s All Valley trophy but later overhears her sensei paying off one of the referees. It’s clear that Cobra Kai has pulled yet another fast one. But the season ends on an even more ominous – and unexpected – note. Terry Silver assaults the over-aged former Cobra Kai member, Stingray, sending him to the hospital. He then makes a deal with Stingray to blame the crime on Kreese. We end the season with Kreese in handcuffs, Terry Silver set to take over Cobra Kai, and the future of Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do uncertain. In a last shocking twist, Miguel leaves town in search of his biological father.

Although some may miss the school hallway throw downs, I found this one satisfying in a different way. It just goes to show that the ever-expanding Cobra Kai universe can keep bringing surprises season after season.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 9/10


Thank you for reading our review of Cobra Kai season four. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Check out our Hawkeye episode one and two review HERE.

Read IMDB information about Spider-Man: No Way Home HERE.

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