55 Movie Characters Who Are Just Terrible
Movies have heroes we're supposed to love, and that's fine. Movies have villains we're supposed to hate, and that's fine. Movies also have villains we're supposed to love because evil is cool, and that's fine too. But then we have movies where the heroes pull every kind of vile shenanigans, and the movie just wants us to not notice. Well, that's where we draw the line, movie. We insist on noticing everything, even when it leaves us wagging our fingers at such characters as ...
The imaginary friends in Riley's brain in Inside Out are apparently beings of their own. We all feel bad when one of them, Bing Bong, dies. But then Joy creates dozens of imaginary friends (imaginary boyfriends) -- and has them all plummet to their deaths. All to help her hurry forward, for a quest she later realizes is pointless.
The 2016 Jungle Book has Shere Khan the tiger apparently wrong to resent Mowgli. He thinks Mowgli is inherently dangerous because he's a human, which is clearly just unfair prejudice, right? Not really. Sure enough, Mowgli goes and burns the jungle down.
Also a famed arsonist: Alfred from The Dark Knight. He explains that his quest to hunt down a bandit ended with him burning the forest down. Uh, think you and your squad of Brits might have gone a little overboard there, Alfred. And how is Bruce supposed to apply this message to dealing with Joker, the ostensible point of this parable? Firebombing Gotham?
The heroes in The Matrix care remarkably little for human life. They kill so many people -- who are people, not programs, and have no idea what's going on. The worst are the security guards Neo shoots in the lobby fight. If he wanted, he could have just skipped the fight and appeared on the roof.
Morpheus is all about freeing people from being enslaved by the machines. Though, when you learn that he generally unjacks people from the matrix when they're still children, and he sends them right into Zion's army, this is sounding a lot like recruiting child soldiers, which the International Labor Organization labels a form of slavery.
6. Obi-Wan Kenobi
7. Qui-Gon Jinn
The Jedi are peacekeepers in the prequels. Kind of weird then that they don't seem to have any non-lethal means of dealing with aggressors. No tasers (which exist in Star Wars), no mace (even though they have a master by that name), just lightsabers. Actually, we do see Qui-Gon pacify a Gungan with a nerve pinch -- once. But that just makes his failure to ever try that again even worse.
8. Luke Skywalker
Luke goes nuts killing everyone on a "pleasure barge" belonging to Jabba the Hutt. Since Jabba's a gangster, we're supposed to be fine with this. Even though some of those aboard are surely innocent musicians and sex slaves. Luke might have some kind of dark side.
"If you go now," Yoda tells Luke about going to help his friends in Cloud City, "help them you could, but you would destroy ALL for which they have fought and suffered." Except, how would going there destroy anything? It, in fact, helps his friends escape and helps them recruit Lando. Now we're questioning everything Yoda ever said.
For years, we watched Star Wars heroes mow down Stormtroopers, who we thought were mindless enemies. Then we met Finn and learned they were all kidnapped as children and are as human as the heroes. The heroes went on killing them. Even Finn, who gleefully shoots people who were his friends minutes ago.
11. Mark Cohen
The gang in Rent want to live in their apartments for free and never work. Most of them bring up the societal struggles of being queer or HIV-positive as part of their reasoning, but Mark doesn't have that. He calls himself a documentary filmmaker, but his work consists entirely of randomly filming his friends (something we all do without calling it art).
12. Mrs. Claus
In The Santa Clause, Tim Allen's character kills Santa. Unfortunate, but it's not his fault. We'll have to reserve our criticism for the elves, who show zero grief over Santa's death. Worse, we see zero sorrow from Mrs. Claus. Oh, there's a Mrs. Claus, even if we don't see her -- the sequel clarifies this -- so she must have taken her husband's death as an excuse to move to Bermuda.
13. The Elves
Kick-Ass stops exactly one crime during his film. It's a random fight, and we don't even know if he picked the right side. The evil plan he later disrupts would have been handled perfectly well by actual superhero Big Daddy if he'd just stayed out. Instead, he gets Big Daddy killed.
Usually, we can only speculate on the death toll when movie characters go on crazy car chases. But in Fast Five, we actually get a good look at a woman who narrowly misses getting run down by Dom's vehicle. Unfortunately for her, Dom's also towing a giant safe, which means she's about to get flattened.
Leaving aside all the torture and terrorism (V For Vendetta expects us to find this morally iffy), V's plan involves sending thousands of protesters against armed guards. At the last minute, one of the guards tells the others to stand down -- great. But if that didn't happen, the military would have mown hundreds of those protesters down.
17. Amy March
Amy from Little Women burns Jo's manuscript. There is no forgiving that. After something of that magnitude, stealing Jo's Paris trip and marrying Laurie is just salt in the wound. Why does Jo, the strongest little woman, not simply murder Amy?
18. Johnny Storm
The Fantastic Four don't help a single person in their 2005 film. Oh, they get good press for saving people when a bridge collapses. But the bridge only collapsed because Johnny set off an explosion ... to distract people, so the Four could vanish.
19. The Fairies
The fairies in Sleeping Beauty had to protect their princess from an extremely specific threat (pricking her finger on a spinning wheel) for just one day. They weren't able to do even that. Then, when she fell into an enchanted sleep, the fairies made the rest of the kingdom sleep too. Well, that just spreads the curse even further.
20. Optimus Prime
21. Tony Stark
For a man losing sleep with paranoia, Tony Stark in Iron Man 3 isn't very good at making preparations. He has an army of autonomous flying suits, but he keeps them all under his house, rather than anywhere where they can fly out and respond ... even after he invites a terrorist to come attack his home. And so he (and Pepper) nearly die.
22. Steve Rogers
At least Tony got involved with that threat. Where was Steve? Did Captain America not think it worth responding when the president got kidnapped, leaving the matter to a guy with no superpowers and temporarily without even a supersuit? Guess Steve was too busy getting caught up watching the Rocky movies or something.
23. James Rhodes
Let's criticize those who abandon Tony and those who enable him. Iron Man 2 is all about whether it makes sense for Tony's suits to be under one man's control. Then when they do go under one man's control (the wrong man, Justin Hammer), chaos ensues. So Rhodey changes his mind and concludes that Tony should have sole control over them after all. Lesson learned!
The plan in Ant-Man involves imploding a whole building. No one dies, apparently, because they evacuate the building. But that evacuation (which probably left a few people inside to die, given the timeline) wasn't a part of the plan -- as far as Ant-Man knew, everyone inside would needlessly die.
God from the Old Testament gets some flak for killing Job's family to win a bet against Satan. He's got nothing on God from Bruce Almighty, who kills thousands of people in a tsunami, all to teach a lesson to one guy. It's not even a very good lesson. (Honestly, we've already forgotten it.)
Given a choice between becoming a pirate and walking the plank and dying, Wendy in Peter Pan chooses the latter. Kind of shirking her duties of taking care of her two younger brothers, still in the pirates' clutches. We're pretty sure she could just say she'd become a pirate, temporarily. Coerced agreements aren't enforceable.
27. Mia Dolan
Albus Dumbledore starts the school year by saying, "I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!" What bullshit is that? He has no respect for the banquet at all. Also, maybe he should have done something to prevent all the murders.
29. Ron Weasley
Delores Umbridge was a cruel headmistress; there's no arguing that. Still, we have to fault Ron for going to see her in the hospital and then making horse noises to trigger flashbacks of when she was recently raped.
30. Fred and George
Maybe that's to be expected from a dirty Weasley. When Fred and George open a store, they sell love potions -- extreme magical date rape drugs. That's not just us being cynical about the potions' possible use. The books tell of how Voldemort's mother used such potions to make his unwilling father her sex slave for at least a year.
In X2, the teleporting mutant Nightcrawler blips into and out of a crumbling complex to rescue everyone there. Everyone except for physically and mentally disabled Jason Stryker. Sure, the villain was using him, but he wasn't villainous. He deserves to die?
32. Bartleby Gaines
In Accepted, Bartleby and his friends create their own university, where they can teach kids in their own wacky way. We're supposed to root for this. Except, opening an unaccredited college for profit? That's what we today call a "scam," as we've learned from every unaccredited for-profit college that's existed in real life.
33. Gordon Bombay
There are things more important in life than winning, concludes Emilio Estevez's character after being forced to coach The Mighty Ducks. So, uh, why does he break the rules to make sure his team wins then? Including grabbing a kid from an opposing team, a kid who'd much rather just play with his friends?
34. Mary Poppins
35. Doc Brown
Considering Doc Brown's many crimes, it's easy to forget early in Back to the Future when he sends the DeLorean hurtling toward him and Marty. It travels through time, so they don't die, but up to this point, all his inventions have failed horribly. He needlessly bets both their lives on this one working right now.
36. The Pink Ranger
As often happens in high school movies, pink Power Ranger Kimberly is introduced as the victim of bullying. But it soon becomes clear that this "bullying" consists of other girls being angry with her for stealing and sharing their nudes. Weirder still, when a monster attacks the girls later, this is treated as a just punishment.
Spider-Man isn't a hero. He's a menace! Consider the start of Amazing Spider-Man 2. He's perfectly capable of stopping Rhino, who's driving a truck, but he wastes time wisecracking till the truck plows forward, endangering everyone. Later, he delays addressing a disaster till he's needlessly stolen a firefighter hat.
38. Rachel Keller
Naomi Watts' character in The Ring is more victimizer than victim. Before the events of the movie, the cursed videotape is safely lost in some inn. She brings it back to the city, copies it, and distributes it. It'll probably spread endlessly after this, leading to countless deaths.
39. Lionel Logue
In The King's Speech, the speech therapist cajoles Bertie into speaking about various traumatic events from his past. There's no reason for this because that's not how speech defects really form. Well, it helps cure his stutter in this movie, but that's only because the writers bend science to make it so.
In Alien Resurrection, Ripley makes the bold choice to crash the ship on Earth. Not good news for whoever the ship smashes, but worth it to kill the alien, right? But they separately blast the alien out of the airlock, into space, so ...
42. Jake Sully
Jake's job in Avatar was to convince the natives to peacefully vacate their "home tree," letting the humans mine there. In the end, he sides with the natives. But he does this so incompetently that the home tree gets destroyed anyway, hundreds of Na'vi die, and the humans get none of the mineral they needed. Everyone loses.
43. Green Lantern
After Hal Jordan gets his powers, some guys jump him, and he fights them easily. Unlike many such comic book fights, which end with the baddies groaning in pain, these guys just plain die. The really weird part is Hal chose to attack them after they decided to let him go.
44. Sophie Sheridan
Mamma Mia has Amanda Seyfried's bride character invite three of her mom's exes to her wedding, unsure which one is her father. Then she tells them to keep secret that she was the one who invited them. At no point is there any reason to keep this secret, but it forces everyone into several days of lies and some attempt at hijinks.
45. Indiana Jones
Indiana clearly doesn't value human life very highly, but we especially have to take him to task for dragging Short Round with him. Why bring him? He nearly dies half a dozen times and even is briefly forced into slavery.
46. Marcus Brody
The dean at Indiana Jones' college really doesn't care how the guy gets his artifacts, does he? Seems like he should have some questions about all the people Indy murders to obtain, say, the golden cross in Last Crusade, if only because you need to know an object's origin to assign it a value.
47. The Inglourious Basterds
You probably remember the Basterds as the guys who killed Hitler and all those Nazis, right? But they weren't. The plan to kill Hitler and his crew was in place without the Basterds, and it would have gone off without a hitch were it not for the Basterds' bumbling, which almost ruined it.
49. John Hammond
The film Jurassic Park tried to shave most of the villainy off the John Hammond from the book, turning him into just a cuddly grandpa. A cuddly grandpa who invites his grandchildren to the dino island as guinea pigs to test the failing security system. Not that his successors in later movies would be any better with kids.
50. Sarah Harding
Julianne Moore's character in The Lost World warns the naturalists she sees that they're doing it all wrong, as they shouldn't be disturbing the dinosaurs' environment. Then she immediately pets a baby stegosaurus, angering its parents, and she spends the remainder of the film disturbing dinosaurs in every way imaginable.
Claire from Jurassic World is the villain, using any normal logic. She runs a park where everything goes wrong and countless die. All of which we'd be tempted to forgive if it ended with her anguished and penitent, but instead, she makes out with Chris Pratt in the middle of the carnage.
52. Mr. Miyagi
Mr. Miyagi says that his Medal of Honor doesn't make him brave; it just makes him lucky. His heart makes him brave. Whoa, whoa, whoa, what about all other medal recipients, Miyagi? Are you disrespecting the troops? We could take you some places where that earns you an ass-kicking. And if they tried kicking your ass, they'd probably fail miserably, but that's not the point.
Remember when Gandalf galloped from the Shire to Minas Tirith early in the first Lord of the Rings movie, just to do some research, because travel's fast on horseback? He neglected to outfit the Fellowship with horses. Forgivable in the name of stealth, but Saruman knew exactly where they were either way.
54. Samwise Gamgee
Nasty fat hobbit. Always stuffing his face. Always with bad words for kind, innocent Smeagol. Very soon, he will ask you for the Precious. You will see. The Fat One will take it from you.
55. The Scarecrow