Can Jeremy Renner Make the “Spawn” Movie More Appealing?

Matthew Loffhagen
Universal Pictures
(Photo: Universal Pictures)

You can say what you like about Jeremy Renner; he certainly makes a good sidekick.

All of Renner’s most noteworthy roles have involved in playing second fiddle to a more charismatic lead. He’s the everyman; the audience stand-in. He tries not to get in the way while Chris Evans fights giant robots, or stands patiently to one side while Amy Adams talks to aliens.

Renner is bringing this particular energy to the upcoming “Spawn” remake. He’ll be playing Twitch Williams, a cop who works alongside Jamie Foxx’s titular superhero.

Spawn
Source: Image

Put simply, he’s the Commissioner Gordon of the film.

Poor Old Jeremy

What I find interesting is the language that director Todd McFarlane uses to describe his decision to cast Renner.

It’s a bit hurtful – if only because McFarlane insists on pointing out, over and over and over, that Renner isn’t your typical Hollywood leading man.

Said McFarlane:

“The character doesn’t need to be a bodybuilder or GQ handsome. I was looking for somebody who’s a person you’ve met before; I needed someone who can pull off the grief of an average human being.”

So, Todd McFarlane wanted to hire Jeremy Renner because he’s ugly and pudgy?

That seems unfair. Nevertheless, here we are in a world where having a broad nose means you’re destined to a career of playing second fiddle.

The next question, then, is whether Renner’s fiddle is going to be in any way noteworthy.

Life in the Background

I can’t say that I think Jeremy Renner has really been a crucial part of any of the movies he’s appeared in recently.

He’s just kind of there. He lacks any real impact, and instead, simply soldiers on in the background.

This isn’t Renner’s fault – he’s clearly typecast in this kind of role. Nevertheless, it’s weird that everyone wants him to stand around in their movies without doing anything.

On the rare occasion when he gets to do something, he’s fantastic.

The problem is, most filmmakers don’t want to give him anything to do.

It’s for this reason that I doubt that Renner will get people rushing out to movie theaters for “Spawn”. He may have some star power, but as his on-screen persona is the cinematic equivalent of mayonnaise, it’s not like he’ll be a compelling draw for people who are on the fence about seeing this film.

I really hope that Renner gets the chance to do something noteworthy in this film, but if the plan is just to get him to play yet another boring sidekick, I feel like he’s going to be wasted. Any potential he might have to improve the film will be squandered as he begrudgingly stands still amid performances from more dynamic characters.

I kind of like Jeremy Renner. I don’t want to seem harsh here – I think he often does a great job with what he’s been given.

I’m just worried that McFarlane intends to get him to do the same thing he’s done a hundred times before.

Which is to say, stand around so that the hero of the piece looks even more heroic by comparison.

Renner is better than that. Let’s just hope that he gets a chance to prove it.