The Kingpin’s Return to the MCU: An Analysis

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As 2021 came to a close, Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin decided to make his return to the Marvel Universe, intervening in the final 2 episodes of Hawkeye. It appears he’s has been a major force behind many criminal activities that have taken place in New York City following the Blip.

His character appears largely unchanged from the previous iteration (in the 2014 Netflix series Daredevil) where the same actor played Wilson Fisk in a far more brutal manner. This is a major reveal, not just for the audience but for the MCU itself, and this character still seems just as menacing as he was the first time. 

[Spoilers for the finale of Hawkeye below!]

A Big Man with Big Plans…

Wilson Fisk’s (re)introduction into the MCU in Hawkeye was considered weak by many, compared to the portrayal we received in the Netflix series. However, I disagree. I believe it was just what the series needed to convey the stakes of the situation Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld) find themselves in.

Kingpin is brutal, and clearly very strong, ripping off Eleanor’s car door, and taking multiple arrows, electric shocks, and heavy hits from Kate Bishop with ease. He was taken down finally by military-grade trick arrows exploding at his feet, leaving him unconscious but relatively unscathed.

Many believe that Kate defeated Kingpin, but I view it more that Kate survived her encounter with Kingpin. This is, as anyone has seen him in Daredevil would know, far more important than defeating the Kingpin.

D’Onofrio’s acting once again steals the show, as the constant quiver in his voice, a hint of the unbridled rage within this villain, is evident in every word that he speaks. He is in a way, controlling the conversation and giving the viewers time to process what he has told us.

His character constantly controls every scene he is in, delivering lines in a tone that has every other character kneel before him. While we did not see much of him in Hawkeye, it is heavily implied he has had a large role in many horrific criminal activities committed over the years. The fact that Clint himself was very concerned about Kingpin getting involved, really brings home the immensity of his presence in the MCU.

Fisk’s actions in Hawkeye show that Marvel is most likely going to give us the same brutal and unforgiving Kingpin we saw in the previous series. He very much intends to take over New York City following the Blip, and his apparent release from prison if they keep that part of Daredevil canon.

Kingpin is a troubled villain, having killed his father at an early age, and angry at the world. He eventually learns just how he needs to secure his place in the criminal underworld. But it seems he returns to us in Hawkeyewith a larger, warmer heart in regards to his perceived “family” Maya Lopez aka Echo.

Sometimes Family Doesn’t See Eye to Eye….

The show’s finale revealed that Kingpin (much like in the comics) set up the death of Maya’s father, to not only turn Echo’s anger and grief into a weapon but to ensure that he would gain more control over the Tracksuit Mafia.

While this would seem the complete opposite of adding more heart to his character, it adds heart in another sense. In their scenes together, he appears to truly love Maya, viewing her as like his daughter. He wishes for her happiness and safety and doesn’t even lash out at her as he realizes she has turned on them. He even remains remorseful as she holds him at gunpoint in the final scene of Hawkeye.

Netflix’s portrayal showed Kingpin was not a man to let ANYONE threaten him and ensured punishment was given if someone disobeyed. The fact he appeared truly remorseful and upset at seeing Alaqua Cox’s Maya hurt, adds a new layer to this villain. It could also give us a preview of how he treats others in the future, including, but not limited to, Echo, Vanessa, Daredevil, Spiderman, and many more characters he may interact with. 

kingpin Hawkeye

But… Is Kingpin Dead?

Hawkeye ended with a fake-out, seemingly having Echo shoot Kingpin and leave him to die. Worry not, however, as it is incredibly unlikely that Kingpin was killed in this scene. He has the potential to appear as early as She-Hulk, given that Jennifer Walters will most likely explore lots of crime within the city. Crimes which no doubt he’s had a hand in. On the other hand, it seems all but guaranteed that he will appear in Echo’s Disney+ series filming early this year. 

Some feel Kingpin was mistreated in Hawkeye, but I believe this was meant as a simple introduction for casual or new viewers before the darker and more brutal side of Kingpin is revealed. Kingpin was no weaker than we have seen before, and we will only see him grow far more powerful and terrifying as this universe progresses.

The menacing crimelord’s return is very big indeed for the MCU. As one of the most dangerous criminal overlords to ever exist has made his return, this will hopefully increase the street level shows we receive. Perhaps he will meet a very popular foe of his sooner than we believe, given how Spiderman: No Way Home ended.

Time shall tell, but I’m more than happy to wait because the next time he shows up, no viewer will forget it. Who do you want to see the Kingpin go up against next? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @mycosmiccircus!

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by Jake Hansen]

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Guest Author

This article was written by a guest writer for The Cosmic Circus. See the editor's note at the end of the article for more information.

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