Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Favorite Movie Heroes

Well, I did my favorite movies a while back, why not some of my favorite movie characters?

The possibilities are endless, so I decided to limit it to primary characters (in other words, so I wouldn't list the "manly Viking in background" or something like that), and men, only (sorry, ladies--your favorite movie heroines is a post for you to do, not me!). I also decided to only cover fictional characters (which means Patton from Patton, Stonewall Jackson from Gods and Generals, Doc Holliday from Tombstone, and Ip Man from Ip Man are all out unfortunately). This is just an off-the-cuff just-for-fun post, so it's by no means all-inclusive nor in any great order either. (Please also note that I cannot and do not endorse all the below movies, all the actions of said characters, the actors, etc.) So let's start, shall we?

Batman / Bruce Wayne
Batman Begins, The Dark Knight
One of my favorite parts of these movies is watching Bruce develop--from a wandering soul into, literally, a driven warrior. Far from mere comic book silliness, these two (perhaps soon to be three?) films give us endless food for thought on a number of manly topics--namely, manliness! Repeatedly and endlessly, he puts the needs of others over his, is willing to risk and give his life, even his good name, for the good of the people he serves. Beyond manly. (Did I mention that he beats up bad guys?)

Neo / Thomas Anderson
The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions
Setting aside his own life, Neo sets out to free the human race, to fight for the people he loves and cares about, to destroy the machines, and he wears black and looks beyond awesome doing it. While perhaps not the most chest-pounding character you've ever seen, when he's in his confident warrior mode, it works well. Besides, watching a man in a trenchcoat and shades fight evil with everything from guns to swords, or even his bare hands, will always be a thousand times more beautiful and artistic to me than even the Mona Lisa could ever be.

Cleric John Preston
Sure, you may condemn him in the beginning of the film, but that's the point. This dystopian tale is also a tale of personal growth and, in a way, discovery of identity. No longer was he a puppet of the totalitarian state, a pawn-like instrument of destruction. No, he became an instrument of destruction--his way! This means more epic manliness as Preston fights for everything in the entire world (from freedom, to the innocent, even to the women he loves) and with his black coat and guns, he looks great doing it. (Another plus for me, but perhaps not intended by the filmmakers, was how he learned to control himself--namely, that wayward monster, emotion.) As usual, another great manly-character from Christian Bale.

John Connor
Terminator: Salvation
This reworking of the weak kid-portrayal of Connor as seen in T3 is pretty much marvelous. Again driven by Bale, we have a manly man who is again fighting for everything in the world. He's a strong warrior who is almost Churchillian in his refusal to give up. Even after many years, he still heeds advice and reminds himself of the vision of his dead mother. He loves his wife, he loves his men, and he's willing to die for the cause. He looks like a man, and he acts like a man. What's more, he hates machines! What more could Spencer ask for?

The Book of Eli
Ah, Eli! Here's another cinematic gem of a character! In one of my favorite genres (post-apocalyptic) we have a man who tries to do the right thing in the face of a world fallen from anything even near decency. He's committed to God (literally) and also learns from his mistakes in how he deals with people. While again I don't condone all of his actions, him learning from them is part of the point of the film. While I'm not a serious fan of Denzel, he does always give a good, reliable performance, and we see that here. And heck, he cuts people up with a machete. C'mon! Manliness!

Bryan Mills
Don't mess with this dude's daughter, or're gonna die! Liam Neeson is great as the ex-some-sort-of-government-special-agent who loves his daughter above everything else in the world. While clearly flawed (divorced, though we are given more than a few hints it wasn't really his fault), his relentless pursuit of his "taken" daughter is beyond manly. With the exception of my two moral quibbles in my review here, I'd do everything he did and perhaps more. To boot, he wears a leather trenchcoat and walks around with a look that says, "Would you like to die?"

John Lee
The Replacement Killers
I'd recommend that you watch the deleted scenes to this movie at least once, otherwise the story and especially the character of Lee are not fully understandable. [Spoiler warning!] The reality is, Lee may be an assassin, but he does his work to protect his mother and sister. When he's given the target of a young boy, he finds he cannot do the job. All that he has to turn to is more violence--this time, against the mob boss that had formerly been his employer. That's one of my favorite movie themes--killin' with a cause! Not your average action flick, rather a redemptive tale, especially on the part of Lee (and also on the part of Mira Sorvino's character, Meg Coburn), and otherwise unique as well. He also looks cool while he's killin', too (while perhaps not something for real life, it works in movies).

Mad Max Rockatansky
Sure, he's flawed, but why I like Max is because of the good that is in him. When his wife and child were murdered the event turned him into "Mad" Max, to be sure, but he's still one of the good guys (from helping the refinery clan, risking life and limb for a band of children, and even refusing to kill Blaster, whom he discovers is mentally retarded). Besides, it's post-apocalyptic, and he looks great in those cowhides!

Hawkeye and Uncas
The Last of the Mohicans
Why I chose two characters this time is because they both fill pretty much the same role in the movie (as in respect to manliness, not overall, of course). You mess with their women, they'll shoot you with their muskets, or hack you apart with their tomahawks, or cut you up with their knives. It's as simple as that. [Spoiler warning!] Uncas dies like a man, too--just the way to go! (Might I also mention the extremely manly end of the minor character, Duncan.)

John Ridd
Lorna Doone
Don't take my word for it--just go and watch this movie! [Spoiler warning!] He sets aside his own personal desires (namely, revenge for the murder of his father) to take care of his family, and then when he meets his woman, he fights for her against the classic villain Carver Doone. Even when he has his chance to murder Carver, he still refuses to take his revenge. A character who does his duty and exercises control--very manly!

Van Zan
Reign of Fire
He kills dragons, carries an axe, rides a tank, [Spoiler warning!] dies like a man, and is dressed in post-apoc garb. Are you beginning to notice a pattern? (Not to slight the also very manly characters of Quinn Abercromby, played by Christian Bale, and Creedy, played by Gerard Butler.)

Lee Jin-tae
Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War
The older yet uneducated brother to a younger, weaker, brainier sibling, this movie is a brutal tale of the Korean War, and more specifically, what war does to a person. I find Jin-tae more interesting than Jin-seok (who's something of a whiny wimp)--sure, Jin-tae [Spoiler warning!] is so torn by what happens to him and those around him that he defects to the Communist North, but in the end, he comes back (dying whilst machine-gunning down attacking North Koreans, in one of my favorite scenes from the film). I also love the actor, Jang Dong-Gun. Always deep and manly. *pounds chest*

The Last Samurai
While this movie makes a mess of history, I just can't not love this gruff, grumpy samurai who knows who's boss (i.e., he is). Watching him train is great, watching him lead others is good too. Watching him kill scads of ninja is beyond amazing, and watching him refuse to give up, [Spoiler warning!] even when he is already on the verge of death, is also great stuff. I think that in one part he says in Japanese, "Who's your daddy?", except I can't speak Japanese so I'm not sure.... ;-P

Professor Tanner
Dragon's World: A Fantasy Made Real
A strange choice, you say? Not to Spencer! Check out this little gem of a "docu-drama" and you'll see why this daring, more-bucking scientist is manly. He's manly because, well, he bucks the mores and he's daring (enough to say and do what others in academia will not)! These are themes I will forever appreciate. Oh, and did I mention he's a paleontologist (with a penchant for dragons, of course)? It is all this that makes me forgive his long hair and un-Spencerish clothing. :-) (Sorry the picture isn't better, he's the one on the left FYI.)

And why don't I go ahead and do some TV shows too?

Commander William Adama
Battlestar Galactica
While far from perfect, this guy is freaking amazing. One of those strong, stubborn military-type personalities, this is the kind of guy you'd charge the gates of Hell for if he ordered you to do it. He does his duty, refuses to give up, even to seemingly insurmountable odds, and he also loves his crew, a definite requirement in my opinion. So let's raise our glass of ambrosia while we give Adama a hearty, "So say we all!"

Jake Green
Beset by circumstances out of his control (only one being his father's disregard), Jake is one of the few men who step up to the plate and get their hands dirty after a TEOTWAWKI event hits the United States. His sense of duty, of right and wrong, and his unending willingness to go the extra mile to do what he should, is more than most males can claim of themselves these days. He stands out from the crowd (and that isn't merely because of his brother, "Dudley Do-Wrong", either).

Malcolm Reynolds
Firefly, Serenity
Despite his many flaws (only one being his grouchiness sometimes tending towards unkindness), Mal is still a manly man. He'll fight for his crew, [Spoiler warning!] he won't quit resisting the totalitarian Alliance, and he's willing to die to save his crew. And if you insult an escort whom he happens to like, he'll happily duel you to the death, knowing he's going to die in the process. Why? Because that's just Mal--he does what he does, no matter what.

Nick Cutter
[Spoiler warning!] It's rather telling when a show begins to fall apart after the main character actor (Douglas Henshall, playing scientist Nick Cutter) leaves. Despite that, the first two seasons have him in all his manly glory. While Series 1 is the strongest, you see him work through incredibly trying circumstances in Series 2 (as well as wear all black!). He may be the scientist, he make call the brain-boggle shots, but he's still get up and go when lives are on the line. Come to think of it, at the end....

Who else would like to join me and do this on their own blogs?



olde.fashioned said...

OOOOHHHHHHHHH! I LOVE posts like this!!!!! :D :D :D

I think I'll just have to do a similar post on my own blog... Now see what you've gone and made me do!!!

Nathan said...

What a fun post! Now I have to do it, too. ^_^

And Commander Adama is awesome. Glad he made the list!

The Warrior said...

Haha, thanks guys! I look forward to reading your posts!

Jonas said...

Someone is a fan of Christian Bale I see.. You seem to have mentioned just about every role he has made except the one that might be the most interesting in my opinion :P I do like Batman though, of course (even though Kevin Conroy is my man for that job - with an animated face!).

(and the other Bale-movie I'm not gonna mention because you're probably going to start hating the man for having had anything to do with it ;))

Oh, and Ujio is awesome! (and I'm not much bothered by the "mess" of the history - I'd rather have movies that depart from history altogether and admit it (the director called it "Historywood") than those which are somewhat historical but fail to be entirely true to the subject material)

And... I'd do a similar post on my blog if I had one ;)

The Warrior said...

Haha, what can I say? Him making the list so many times wasn't intentional...I just think he pulls off man-roles very well.

You mean Patrick Bateman? Still need to see that one...

And yes, Kevin Conroy WAS Batman, before Bale at least....

LOL haha, the *ahem* OTHER movie he was in you mean?

I see your point, but the movie a take on the Satsuma Rebellion, it has Meiji...but then again, I AM a purist.


You're more than welcome to do your "post" here if you like. The comments section is always open for you. :-)


Jonas said...

I actually had to google Bateman, so no, not that movie - I'm referring to Velvet Goldmine, where we see Bale as an old glam rock fanboy, looking back at the years when he was in the midst of the glam scene of the seventies and in love with a rock star played by Ewan McGregor. It's a very good movie and he does his part well, but as I said, you'd hate it ;)

Have you seen The Fighter btw (speaking of Bale)? I've seen a trailer or two and it seemed interesting...

I'll try to think of a few movie heroes of my own and post them here... stay tuned!

The Warrior said...

Ah yes, Velvet Goldmine...I know what it is...likely this is why I have not seen it. :-P But I thought you were referring to two different movies, so this is why I mentioned Bateman, sorry.

Fighter--no, I'm not too interested in it really....


Lizzy said...

Ok... so... I'm late to the party, but I'm thinking that when I have all the rest of the stuff out of the way on my blog - or at least well in hand - I too shall do one of these posts. You make it look too fun.

I doubt mine shall be as epic as yours though. ;P