Film and TV

Jeremy Renner Stars in Two Very Different Universes: Marvel and Kingstown

Jeremy Renner in Hawkeye.
Jeremy Renner in Hawkeye. Screenshot
Jeremy Renner is starring in two very different series, both in the middle of their runs on two different streaming networks, so here is a look at both of them.

Hawkeye

Hawkeye is Marvel’s latest television series appearing on Disney+. It follows one of the original Avengers in a story set during Christmas that is adapted loosely from the acclaimed Hawkeye comic book run by Matt Fraction. Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, played by Jeremy Renner, has been through a weird journey in the MCU. The series finally focuses on his character after just existing as a guy with a bow and arrow who hangs out with super-geniuses and Norse Gods. He is just a normal human who is exceptionally good at one thing, and the show leans into that, exploring the limitations of his humanness and the toll of all the galaxy-spanning and world-threatening events he has been a part of since 2021’s Avengers.

Hawkeye introduces Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop, a bow enthusiast who looks up to Hawkeye. Steinfield is a good addition and will probably be around the MCU for the foreseeable future. The two form a team through circumstances surrounding Barton’s past as The Ronin, and the dynamic is one of a grizzled veteran and a wide-eyed newbie. Their relationship works and leads to some funny and emotional moments, but the patented Marvel quips even in dire situations can be tiresome. The show heats up as it draws closer to its finale, with some great conversations between Kate and Clint about the nature of his job and the trauma and weight of everything he has been through — which is a lot.

The story itself is something you would expect from an action movie set during Christmas, taking inspiration from Die Hard and Lethal Weapon, but with none of the edge of those properties. Hawkeye is a fun series that isn’t anything revolutionary, with everything you would expect from a Marvel TV show at this point, like heavy connection to other shows and movies and teasing even more possible shows and films. Despite its MCU routineness, the series is good, and even for a non-Marvel person should be a breezy action series perfect for the holidays, and for the die-hard, there are bread crumbs and hints to some cool implications for the MCU.

Hawkeye is available to watch on Disney+.



Mayor of Kingstown

Mayor of Kingstown is at the completely different end of the TV spectrum than Hawkeye. The series follows the McLusky family, the power brokers of Kingstown who run the town, and the many prisons that make up the community and its economy. Renner plays Mike McLusky, who is thrust into power after an event surrounding his older brother, who was the unofficial “mayor,” and now he has to manage all the corruption, deceit, and crime in the town. Everyone in the city, from the police, correctional officers, strippers, and politicians, is in some type of dirt, and it all runs through the Mayor.

Created by Yellowstone’s Taylor Sheridan and Hugh Dillon, Mayor of Kingstown has much of the macho introspective sensibilities you would expect from Sheridan specifically. From its description and being set heavily in and around prisons, it would be safe to assume that the series is bleak and violent, and it is definitely both those things.

There are some depraved things that go on, and it is not something equipped to deliver a relaxing light evening of television. It is an interesting look at how the prison industrial complex in America is a big business and bereft with corruption that preys on minorities and the poor to keep the money circulating illegally and legally. The series wants to be a prestige show with a thrilling hook, but in the end, it’s pretty standard story-wise, with all the bleakness layered on top of it as well as a look at some important issues.

It’s not an easy watch and isn’t always effective, making its subject matter and dark vibe taxing, but a highlight is the star himself: Jeremy Renner. It’s not hard to see why he has pegged as a leading man in Hollywood years ago. He has a certain commitment and pull as an actor as he’s dealing with all the stress and corruption around him. Regardless of what’s going on in the show, Renner is interesting and carries what is an uneven series. Renner might not be the guy to get people who aren’t enraptured by the Sheridan-verse to commit to such a series, but there’s definitely a place for it if dark explorations of masculinity and corruption are your thing.

Mayor of Kingstown is available to stream on Paramount +
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Contributor Jamil David is a native Houstonian and Texas Southern University alumnus. He is interested in TV, sports and pop culture. @JMLJMLD
Contact: Jamil David