Movie characters are some of the most iconic and famous fictional characters in modern history. Not only do they anchor themselves in the hearts of their audience, but they often ask and answer essential questions about the human condition. In fact, it’s no exaggeration to assume that movie characters have altered the very nature of society’s cultural dynamics.
Although popular film characters generally earn their reputation, there are a number of them whose level of audience acclaim seems superficial when analyzing their personal motivations and expectations. In other words, popularity is not the only criterion by which to judge the relevance of a movie character.
9 Harley Quinn is not a fraction as autonomous as her comic version – Suicide Squad (2016)
suicide squadHarley Quinn is nothing if not a divisive character – many fans love that the Joker steps back and allows the Clown Princess of Crime to bask in the spotlight, while others consider Harley’s manic behavior a little too scattered for their taste. .
The problem with Harley is neither: it’s that her emotional development is an obligatory extension of that of the Joker. In many ways, he chooses the path of his character arc, effectively preventing Harley from becoming her own person. In fact, the Harley Quinn of suicide squad isn’t as self-contained a fraction as the comic book version designed by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti.
8 Daniel Hillard cheats on his family rather than engaging with them directly – Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
Movies from the 90s weren’t exactly known for their political correctness, and Mrs. Doubtfire is no exception. Daniel Hillard loves his family very much, but his reckless parenting style forces his wife to file for divorce. Instead of landing a real career and earning the right to be with his children, Daniel decides to trick them into thinking he’s actually Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire.
Daniel goes the extra mile for his children, whom the audience finds adorable; however, his manipulative tactics do not translate well to the 21st century lens. Daniel is ironically a better father when disguised as a sturdy English nanny.
7 Harry Callahan Embraces Vigilant Justice Without Heeding the Law — The Dirty Harry Franchise
Clint Eastwood went from the iconic Man With No Name to Sergio Leone Dollar Trilogy to Dirty Harry in less than a decade. Harry Callahan is a legend both within the franchise and among the resulting cult fandom. He is recognized as one of the best movie characters in Hollywood history, largely for his no-nonsense approach to crime and penchant for vigilante justice.
Badass cop clichés aside, Callahan’s savior complex allows him to exact revenge on would-be criminals without regard to the law. Several critics, including Pauline Kael and Roger Ebert, have noted elements of fascism embedded in his personality.
6 Ariel’s rash actions put the whole world in danger – The Little Mermaid (1989)
Ariel is a sophisticated character – on the one hand she displays a higher level of independence than most Disney characters, on the other hand she sacrifices her family and her voice to chase after a human. Ariel’s rash actions put the ocean, and possibly the entire world, in extreme danger.
She and Eric eventually manage to defeat Ursula, but one can only imagine the outcome had they failed. Although Ariel is neither malevolent nor sadistic, she is clearly incapable of making sensible decisions at the start of her journey. It’s a good thing she has fortune on her side.
5 Keyser Söze is a murderous sociopath placed on a pedestal – The Usual Suspects (1995)
The big twist at the end The usual suspects is the revelation that the big bad, the mysterious Keyser Söze, is the one character no one suspects. It turns out that mild-mannered Verbal Kint, a man with cerebral palsy, had been scapegoating everyone from the start.
Critics have called Söze the “perfect postmodern sociopath” – an apt description that explains why his character should never be placed on a pedestal. Yet Keyser Söze’s popularity indicates that audiences like him too much to care about the lives he destroys.
4 Danny Zuko forces himself on Sandy without her consent – Grease (1978)
Fat was well-received upon release, with critics praising the film’s parallels to the “1950s teen musical”, except “bigger, funnier, wittier and more imaginative”. John Travolta’s performance as protagonist Danny Zuko received critical acclaim.
There are certain issues with the entire film, many of which show up in Danny’s behavior. He forces himself on Sandy without her consent and justifies his attempts by claiming that “no one is watching”. If that’s not problematic enough, a line in “Summer Nights” asks Danny’s friends to ask her if “she got into a fight.”
3 Ace Ventura’s Dramatic Overreaction is Thinly Veiled Transphobia – Pet Detective (1994)
Jim Carrey generally knows what he’s doing. Many of his characters have become pop culture icons, from Stanley Ipkiss to The mask (1994) to Bruce Nolan in Almighty Bruce (2003). One of Carrey’s most popular roles is Ace Ventura, an endearing and quirky pet detective with a flair for hyperbolic comedy.
Although Ventura is mostly hilarious, the film takes an unfortunate turn towards the conclusion. pet detective turns into a transphobic parody when he exaggerates Ventura’s reactions to finding out the villain is a trans woman.
2 Bella Swan’s existence carries little emotional weight — The Twilight Saga
Bella Swann departs from female stereotypes, but there’s nothing truly unique about her attitude or her ambitions. Bella’s popularity is linked to the dusk craze that swept the world in the late 2000s, but she’s a one-dimensional character at best.
Fans of the franchise might find her personality captivating, but critics have consistently expressed dissatisfaction with her lack of relativity – “Bella’s appeal is based in magic rather than character.” Bella’s existence has minimal narrative weight: a faint reflection of true emotional depth.
1 Severus Snape inflicts needless violence on Harry — The Harry Potter Franchise
Snape went from being one of the most hated characters in history to one of the most loved, which doesn’t make sense in a larger context. He betrays Lily while serving Voldemort, but later returns to serve Dumbledore as a form of atonement for his mistakes.
While this looks like character growth at first glance, it doesn’t take into account Snape’s irrational behavior towards Harry just because the latter looked like the former’s school bully. Additionally, Snape is a flawed individual who spends his life dreaming of a dead woman who never wanted to be with him in the first place.
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