11 of 12 Days of Christmas

“If you believe in this spirit thing, the miracle will happen, and then you’ll want it to happen again tomorrow… It can happen every day, you’ve just got to want that feeling.”

– Bill Murray in SCROOGED

That’s right – it’s time to feel the moment and that holiday spirit thing. It’s time for SpoilerFreeReview’s 12 days of Christmas 2021 edition! We will be posting our favorite holiday experiences with 12 reviews and illustrations of movies, TV, and music. So sit back, enjoy some spiked eggnog, and welcome to SFR’s 12-days of Christmas 2021!🎅🏽

Mike and Aaron of SFR review season one of HAWKEYE on Disney+.

Overall Season Grade / Thoughts (include emoji):

MIKE  – A 🤩 


Rank the order of MCU TV shows on Disney + from best to worst


  2. LOKI
  5. WHAT IF… ?

AARON – Almost identical.

  2. LOKI
  3. WHAT IF… ?

Favorite Episode and why?

MIKE – E5 RONIN. This is a perfect episode of this show for so many reasons. We get answers about Yelena’s status during the Blip. We get a teary-eyed scene with Clint about Natasha. We get a TON of comedy from the amazing Florence Pugh. And we get the reveal of the “big bad.” And none of it feels rushed or misplaced. It was simply everything we could ever ask for in an MCU episode all rolled into one! RONIN is so good that it impacted my enjoyment of the finale. 

AARON – Dang it, this is more interesting when we disagree. However, I’m 100% onboard with the RONIN episode MVP status for HAWKEYE. It has everything you want from a penultimate episode, and unlike WANDA, LOKI, and FALCON, the final episode wasn’t a letdown either.  

Season MVP Character 

AARON – Kate (Hailee Steinfeld) barely edges out Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). Before the HAWKEYE series, Clint was the least memorable of the Avengers squad. However, with her fan-like obsession, she’s able to get the audience to fall in love with him. Even better, her relationship feels like that of a buddy-cop film from the 90s that just happens to be set during Christmas. 

MIKE – Hawkeye. This is an absolute cheat because I’m giving the award as a two-way tie to both Kate and Clint, who both hold the mantle of HAWKEYE. Clint gets it because we finally explore so many more dimensions to this character. I went in indifferent about him, as I always have since AVENGERS 2012, and came out LOVING him, feeling for him, sympathizing with him, and completely convinced about why he deserves his place among the original six Avengers. 

Kate deserves the award because, within a few minutes of meeting her, we love her, accepting her as completely resourceful and gifted, yet flawed in the same way her mentor is. Together their stellar relationship and the excellent chemistry between Renner and Steinfeld easily propelled these two to the top of the MCU Dynamic Duo list. The show is called HAWKEYE. So it should only be fitting that we come out loving him. And we do. Both of them.

Predict what comes next for HAWKEYE w/out spoiling 

AARON – One of three things:

  1. They finally take pizza dog on a walk.
  2. Kate and Clint go to see the AVENGERS musical. They both walk out in disgust at intermission.
  3. Audiences are treated to more of Kate plus Hawkeye in theatrical MCU films. We need it. I’m not taking away anything from Hawkeye’s partnering with Black Widow, but I’m happy to see a more lighthearted partnership in the future for Clint. He deserves it. 

MIKE – A well-earned Christmas for both of them. Kate Bishop will go on to head Bishop Security, while Clint stays retired until both he and Kate are needed. Given that Clint tends to collect little sisters, I imagine he’ll have much to say to Wanda Maximoff about Westview once he meets her, so that’s going to have to happen someday. Also, the Young Avengers are starting to assemble, so Kate will likely join them. And someday, we’re going to get a Kate and Yelena spin-off because the universe desperately needs it!

Is Hawkeye a Christmas story, why?

MIKE – 100%. It’s literally about a man trying to get home for Christmas. Every episode ends with a Christmas song. The entire musical score is comprised of Christmas songs. The characters spend an evening watching Christmas movies. And the title hero gets stuck in the biggest Christmas tree on Earth. If that doesn’t qualify it to be a Christmas story, nothing will.

AARON – Yes, HAWKEYE, the series deserves a spot on SFR’s 12 Days of Christmas 2021. Outside of Hawkeye literally getting stuck in New York’s largest Christmas tree, the show also has the themes needed. ​​As you stated, it’s about a man not able to make it home in time for Christmas. In the process, the man (Clint) learns lessons of family, compassion, and how to forgive himself. That’s basically the magic of Christmas in every holiday film ever made.

Final Thoughts

MIKE – This was tough for me to rank because I also love LOKI. At the end of it all, however, Hawkeye won the spot of best MCU series so far because of how consistently good it was and how the show got better with each episode. The relationship between Kate and Clint is fantastic, so is the relationship between Kate and Yelena, and the final showdown between Clint and Yelena. 

As is tradition with the MCU shows, I did feel the finale was the most flawed episode of the series – especially everything with the big bad. However, it’s much more satisfying than other MCU finales so far. As much as I liked LOKI, that exposition dump finale and issues with Episode 3 allowed HAWKEYE to 1-up it. And with that, it’s also claimed the spot of 2nd best Phase 4 project so far (behind SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME). 

AARON – Funny, in my review of E6, I stated, “Some might say that HAWKEYE doesn’t take as many risks as WANDAVISION, nor is it as different as LOKI. For me, that’s okay because it provides the most consistency.” So we are aligned on that aspect of this show. I’m afraid I have to disagree that the final episode was the weakest and thought E1 was, but that’s okay.

Overall, HAWKEYE hits a perfect bullseye throughout six wonderful episodes. It’s the extra Christmas present that MCU fans didn’t know they needed. 

Aaron "Dobler" Goldstein

Aaron Goldstein is a Product Manager by day, ludicrous speed content consumer by night. He’s a LA Film School Alumni and TV Academy / Producers Guild of America member. Aaron is a proud parent and dad joke enthusiast.

Mike Manalo

Born a Slytherin. Baptized into Marvel. Bitten by a Radioactive DC fan. And raised a Jedi, Mike Manalo is a silent guardian, a watchful protector… a Dark Nerd!

Tarush Mohanti

Tarush Mohant is a playlist curator and music explorer, the creator of illussongs (illustrations of songs), and has a fitness plan motivated by action movies (running, climbing, swimming, hiking). Tarush is also a Product Manager at HBO Max.

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