As much as we enjoyed "The Avengers," one of our disappointments in the film is how thoroughly wasted Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye is. As we wrote in our breakdown of the superhero movie earlier this year, "…as soon as we meet him properly in 'The Avengers,' he's immediately turned to the dark side, a personality-free zombie serving Loki. He's eventually turned back, but the fact that we've never been that invested in him in the first place means that his return doesn't serve as some grand victory. It's presumably been done to give Black Widow some emotional investment in the whole thing, but it's hard not to feel that sidelining him is a waste of Renner's talents." And it would appear that Renner, to a certain degree, agrees.
Chatting with Hero Complex, the actor talks at length about working on "The Avengers," and is fairly candid about the fact Hawkeye didn't have much depth or dimension. At least not how he envisioned the character would be. "At the end of the day, 90% of the movie, I’m not the character I signed on to play. I’m literally in there for two minutes, and then all of a sudden…So there’s not a lot of back story or understanding we can really tell about who Clint Barton is, or Hawkeye, and is he working for SHIELD or not. There’s a lot of unanswered questions, even for me. And I was OK with that. At least I was still in the movie. And I was glad for that…"
And Renner continued to balance his concerns about his role, particularly about being hypnotized, with a general acceptance that unlike playing a guy who defuses bombs in Iraq, the part doesn't require that much work. "I prefer [playing] the good, because if we go to the evil part, or hypnotized or whatever the heck you want to call it, it’s kind of a vacancy. Not even a bad guy, because there’s not really a consciousness to him. The interesting part was being guilty about the bad things I did do when I was hypnotized. I think he’s already an interesting enough character. To really kind of take away who that character is and just have him be this sort of robot, essentially, and have him be this minion for evil that Loki uses," he explained. "Again, I could just focus on the task. I was limited, you know what I mean? I was a terminator in a way. So yeah, fun stunts. But is there any sort of emotional content or thought process? No. That doesn’t exist in that time [that he's hypnotized]. It happens to be for most of the movie."
But lest you think he's hating on the movie, Renner saw his participation thusly: "You know, there are a lot of people in that movie. And a lot of important characters. And my character, I felt like if I can help serve the story, then I did my job."
With Joss Whedon now signed on by Marvel to oversee phase two of their movie slate, and, of course, write and direct "The Avengers 2," hopefully he can give Renner a bit more to do by the time the mega-sequel arrives. But what did you think about Hawkeye and Renner in the film? Weigh in below. And if you want to see the actor in something meatier, check out "The Bourne Legacy" this weekend.