WARNING: This Article May Contain Spoilers
I’m going to start off by saying, and I’m sure it won’t be the last time in this article, but when Jeremy Renner was cast as Hawkeye – I genuinely had no idea who he was. Now, I’m not saying this as negative because I quite liked having the unknown quantity in Avengers Assemble against the known names but I’ll be honest, I thought he was pretty weak to start off with. Having said that, I’m not sure if it’s down to his acting or the improvement of the writing of Hawkeye’s character, he is so much better the later films…
So, Renner isn’t in this film much, just a few scenes here and there, but for the time he is – my God is his character a dick! I get the feeling the whole point of him, in the beginning, is to give Colin Farrell’s character of Streets a bit of a backstory and to give us the sense that it is him we aren’t supposed to trust. However, he does later become intrinsic to the main storyline with the Frenchman but it doesn’t make sense why being kicked off of S.W.A.T at the beginning drives him to such an extreme action. Some might question ‘why get such a big actor to play a reasonably small role’ but you have to remember that when S.W.A.T was made, Renner wasn’t the actor that everyone knows now.
I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about slow burners before in previous articles – and in a weird way this is another one. I think this is maybe because they start the story towards the end of Dahmer’s murder spree. Truthfully, Renner comes across a little bit wooden but that could be because of the attempt to pull off the idea of an unemotional person – which psychopaths are believed to be. I probably would have preferred someone with a better likeness to Dahmer but then Zac Efron doesn’t exactly look like Bundy in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. However, once the glasses are on in the flashbacks – the likeness is a little closer. It’s weird how just a change in the way someone’s hair is styled and glasses can make them look younger.
I’m going to start talking about this film by making a quick confession. When I watched this for the first time, I mistook Jeremy Renner for Devon Sawa (I think only Final Destination fans will know who I’m talking about). In my defence, I had no idea who Jeremy was at the time. As director and lead character, this film focuses mainly on Ben Affleck but that does not mean that Renner is hidden in the shadows and takes on a small role like that of S.W.A.T. His ‘loose cannon’ character of Jim Coughlin is a great balance alongside the calm nature of Affleck’s Doug MacRay. Truthfully, he’s so off-the-rails at times that when he decides to open fire on the police, you do slightly hang your head and think ‘not again!’ Possibly one of my favourite moments is actually towards the end when MacRay and Coughlin get in a fight over MacRay leaving Charlestown. This is because it’s done in a way that you see that are just boys at heart and that Charlestown is their Neverland and that they haven’t grown up.
When I look back now over the list of films that Renner had done before becoming Hawkeye, I feel pretty bad because he has been in a few films that I really enjoy. For example, he is actually a lead character in Kathryn Bigalow’s The Hurt Locker (which I will be talking about for someone else in a later article) and played an important role in 28 Weeks Later… He had even had his first role in the Mission Impossible franchise – which I genuinely thought had happened the other way around.