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The Avengers Scenes Jeremy Renner Was Unhappy Filming

It's been almost a decade since Marvel Studios forever changed the blockbuster game with their beloved superhero team-up flick The Avengers, and the company has again broken new ground via a little smash hit Disney+ streamer by the name of WandaVision. While the superpowered studio has become the toast of Tinseltown and, now, streaming-land in the decade since The Avengers became a billion-dollar beauty at the box office, it's important to remember the film was a major gamble at the time. Some even believed there was a 50/50 chance The Avengers would be a bomb.

As in the film, the good guys eventually prevailed: The Avengers not only broke the bank but also served as a big-screen template for the world-building that continues to set the Marvel Cinematic Universe apart from every other Hollywood franchise. It was also a fascinating culmination of a few years' worth of plotting, which found Marvel bosses weaving together the narratives of some of their most beloved heroes, including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson).

While those players all made their MCU debuts ahead of The Avengers, their arrow-slinging buddy Hawkeye didn't really make his first appearance until the opening moments of the supersized team up (minus that more or less pointless Thor cameo, of course). Though Jeremy Renner was a well-known (even Oscar-nominated) presence in the movie biz prior to his MCU debut, there's little question that The Avengers elevated his profile in ways no other film had. It seems, however, that Renner wasn't entirely pleased with his role while working on the film. In fact, the actor noted that he didn't feel like he was playing Hawkeye (aka Clint Barton) at all for much of the film.

Jeremy Renner didn't feel like fans saw enough of the real Hawkeye in The Avengers

For all intents and purposes, Jeremy Renner actually isn't playing Hawkeye true for most of The Avengers. That's because his character is essentially brainwashed by Asgardian trickster extraordinaire Loki (Tom Hiddleston) early in the action, so he spends most of his screen time thereafter in a zombie-like state working in opposition to his would-be allies. In a 2012 interview with GamesRadar, Renner lamented the way the character was represented in the film, primarily because the "Zombie Hawkeye" approach limited what he could bring to the role as an actor and, ultimately, how audiences engaged with him emotionally.

"For 90% of the movie, I'm not the character I signed on to play... It's kind of a vacancy. [He's] not even a bad guy, because there's not really a consciousness to him. ... To take away who that character is and just have him be this robot, essentially, and have him be this minion for evil that Loki uses... I was limited, you know what I mean? I was a terminator in a way. Fun stunts. But is there any sort of emotional content or thought process? No."

It's pretty hard to argue with that criticism, as Hawkeye is by far the least developed Avenger in that first movie. Adding to the problem is the fact that he joined the team in a film already bursting at the seams with major characters. And yes, the "Zombie Hawkeye" twist further limited what the character could actually be in the film — even if Renner re-humanized him quite effectively after the fact. Whatever the case, Marvel bosses clearly took Renner's notes to heart, seriously beefing up Hawkeye's backstory in Avengers: Age of Ultron and beyond. Heck, they've even given the character his very own streaming series, which is set to premiere on Disney+ later this year.