By Darren Franich
July 26, 2010 at 03:53 PM EDT
Pictured left to right are Robert Downey Jr., Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson), Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Director Joss Whedon, and Producer and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige.
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If Hawkeye were a real person, he would spend Saturday mornings serving soup to the homeless. Then he’d take a drive down to Rosarito to party all night with Colin Farrell. What I’m trying to say is: Jeremy Renner is Hawkeye. (And that’s coming from a founding member of the Committee to Cast Nathan Fillion as Hawkeye.) When I heard over the weekend that Renner was officially playing Clint Barton in The Avengers, I felt instantly happy. Like Downey as Iron Man or Bale as Batman, it’s a just-right piece of comic casting. (Just look at video of the cast’s introduction: Yeesh, Renner looks more excited than A-list franchisees Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans.)

I’m a bit more mixed about Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk. Ruffalo’s certainly a great actor. In fact, he’ll be the third great actor this decade to play Bruce Banner. Eric Bana and Edward Norton played very different versions of the character in their respective movies…and neither of them knocked it out of the park. It’s not their fault — Bruce Banner is a weirdly difficult character to play: Since the Hulk is functionally a different character, played by either expensive CGI or Lou Ferrigno, the actor playing Banner is basically a benchwarmer in his own character arc. Ruffalo definitely has the market cornered on soulful brooding, so let’s mark this as a wait-and-see.

My real gripe, PopWatchers, is much simpler: Where all the superheroines at? The cast looks like the coolest fraternity you never pledged, with Scarlett Johansson as the token female so the frat can qualify for the Coed Beer Pong League. Considering director Joss Whedon’s fem-centric history, and considering that the Avengers have occasionally been top-heavy with superpowered ladies, it’s weird to see such a bro-heavy cast.

I’m crossing my fingers that we’re still many months away from a final Avengers line-up, so I’m writing my wish list. I’d be ecstatic if Whedon worked in married heroes Ant-Man and the Wasp, but, like everyone who saw Honey I Shrunk the Kids, I have a fear of tiny people in movies. Likewise, I’d be happy to see the Scarlet Witch, even though her powers are a bit bizarre. But the heroine I’m really campaigning for is Ms. Marvel, a totally badass Air Force pilot-turned-superhero with a share of personal demons (alcoholism, amnesia) that seem positively Whedonesque.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Excited about the new Avengers cast? Frightened by the slight potential of an Avengers West Coast spin-off? Wish they would just get to the “Gray Hulk” storyline already? Sound off in the comments, and don’t forget to check out our interviews with Thor and Captain America themselves in the video below.

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