Matt’s Top 10 Film Antagonists
These are the characters that do everything they can in to thwart the protagonist’s plans. They are the ones we root against (or sometimes root for), and absolutely enjoy watching them lose in the end. Sometimes the antagonist isn’t necessarily a bad guy, but someone with different ideals or a different plan that happens to conflict with the protagonist. Some of Hollywood’s greatest performances have come from the antagonistic characters of our favorite films. They sometimes are the best parts of a film when the film isn’t all that special to begin with.
Today, I will be talking about my favorite antagonists in films. This list was very difficult for me to create. There are too many bad guys out there that I love, so it took me awhile to compile this list. This was originally going to be a Top 25, but I decided against that very quickly. I’ll make sure to put a short list of honorable mentions at the end, but until then here are my Top 10 Film Antagonists!
#10. Agent Smith – The Matrix Trilogy
While the latter films were very disappointing, there’s no doubt that Hugo Weaving’s performance as Agent Smith was one of the trilogy’s redeeming factors. His intellect, dialect, and overall evil nature made him a force to be reckoned with, always inducing fear and tension throughout the trilogy. Even though he dresses like all the other agents, his stature and presence always seem to send a slight shiver up your spine, especially during the interrogation scene in the first “Matrix” film. If you’ve never seen any of these films, I highly recommend checking them all out. You’ll love the first, roll your eyes at the second, and hate the third, but you’ll enjoy Agent Smith through them all.
#9. Aaron & Roy – Primal Fear
This is the performance that solidified Edward Norton’s career, in my opinion. It’s tough to live inside the body of one character, which many actors work their whole lives in order to achieve. But it’s even more difficult to live inside two characters at the same time. Ed Norton does it in excellent fashion here. With Aaron being the abused alter boy and Roy being the psychotic, this film is the perfect example of Norton’s range as an actor. All the production companies and directors needed to do was watch this film, and they would immediately understand how reliable and talented a young Ed Norton was. I believe many of them did, and that’s why we’ve seen Norton grow into one of the industry’s most popular actors. His performance is so convincing and haunting in “Primal Fear” that the twist at the end will throw you for a complete loop.
#8. Colonel Fitts – American Beauty
This character isn’t necessarily a bad guy, but his internal struggles and obsessive personality turn him into an abusive/controlling father by the end of the film. “American Beauty” might have won best picture and Kevin Spacey might have won best actor, but Chris Cooper deserves an Oscar for this performance. Cooper makes you hate Fitts, of course, but you’ll also understand that he’s a father who loves his family and only wants his son to live the best life. It induces a feeling of conflict within the audience. As you watch the film, you do everything you can to hate the character, but in the end you love Cooper’s performance and his character arc, creating your very own internal struggle.