In the world of movies, most of the time there’s a clear good guy and a clear bad guy. There’s a protagonist, who you want to see succeed. There’s also an antagonist who you want to see fail. In most films, it’s quite clear who is who, and we feel compelled to root for the protagonist.
But there are some films that blur the line. Either the antagonist actually makes some points that you agree with, or they’re just so cool that it’s hard to root against them.
1. The Devils Rejects
The Devil’s Rejects is actually the movie that gave me this article idea because it very clearly blurs the line between protagonist and antagonist. The deranged serial killers are shown to be more like protagonists, while the police who are chasing after them are treated like antagonists.
But it becomes confusing when the killers are performing despicable acts all throughout the film. At the same time, the main police officer is written to be such an unlikable character, that it’s hard to root for him. Ultimately, Captain Spaulding, Otis, and Baby end up being such cool characters that you want them to make it out, even if they’re deranged murderers.
2. Don’t Breathe
This is a movie about a group of kids who break into a blind man’s home and then proceed to get picked off one-by-one by said man. The kids who break into the home are supposed to be the antagonists, but not only are they terrible for breaking into the poor old man’s house, but they’re written to be some of the most obnoxious characters you’ll ever meet.
By the end, it’s impossible to root for any of the punks to make it out of the house, and I found myself cheering every single time one of the would-be-robbers got what was coming to them. I’m not sure if the intention of the film was to make us hate the protagonist, but either way, that’s definitely what happened.
3. The Dark Knight
How could anyone ever root against Batman, one of the greatest superheroes in all of film and comic books? Easy. Just put him up against one of the coolest villains in The Joker and have Heath Ledger put on one of the single greatest performances of his career (or anyone’s career for that matter).
The way Heath portraits the joker, along with the way the character was written in this film, make it so you wouldn’t be too disappointed if Batman were to lose this one. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more despicable villain than Heath’s Joker, but yet, it’s just so hard to want him to fail.
Make no bones about it—Tony Montana is Scarface’s protagonist. But at the same time, he’s far from a good person. He’s abusive to his significant other, willing to step on his best friend to get ahead, and of course, he’s perfectly content with killing anyone who’s not on his side. Heck, Tony even calls himself “the bad guy” throughout the movie.
Anyone who’s seen Scarface is more than willing to look past his flaws because of how awesome Tony Montana is. His quips and one-liners are some of the most memorable in the storied history of crime movies—“say hello to my little friend” is quoted just about everywhere. Tony is a bad guy, but he’s a bad guy you can’t help but love!
Okay, before I go any further, I’m not saying I’m rooting against Thor. He’s a very likable protagonist in all of the MCU movies. But the problem is that Loki, his clearly evil brother, is just so awesome that I always find myself wanting to see Loki win his fights against Thor.
There’s just something about the way Loki carries himself, the lines he’s given, and the way he delivers them that makes him so likable. Once you realize just how cool Loki is, the whole Thor movie experience becomes very conflicting. Who do you root for? The line is blurry, but in the end, I stand with Loki!