Die Hard: Detective John McClane. "Yippie-kay-yay, mutherfucker!!" "Now I have a machine gun... ho ho ho."
John Shaft!!! Can ya dig it?!?! When he's played by Samuel L. Mother (Shut yo' mouth!) Jackson?? We can dig it!
Shadow, from Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. He's simply an agingGoldie, but he traverses the mountains, swims rivers, and climbs out of a steep-walled pit with a busted leg. Why does he put himself through this? Because someone he loves might be in trouble. And since we all know where a hero's strengthcomes from...Just cue the applause and the waterworks. "Something is keeping Peter from coming to me, so I'm going to go to him...I don't care about gates. I'm going home."
I'd confidently decided by the end of the first Iron Man film that the MCU's version of Pepper Potts is the greatest super hero love interest of all time, and the character only got better as the sequels went on. Chester A. Bum is right — give this woman her own movie!
Why don't we say EVERYONE in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and leave it at that?
Loki in particular. Seriously, when the villain has more fans than the hero, so much so that a school of 127 people has a Loki Is Awesome Fanclub (yes, that's seriously what we call it) that contains 12 people (which doesn't sound like much until you realize that's 10% of the students, and many of the others have never seen Thor or the Avengers), you know that's a seriously cool villain.
Seconded. I know some people experienced Hype Backlash, but honestly, I have never liked a supervillain so much. He gave me two nonconsecutive nightmares and still manages to be hilarious. Maybe that says something about me, since I was the only one in the theater who laughed at his jokes (but there were only about 15 people in the rather infrequently attended theater and that was a lot for that place).
You have to give props to Jack Nicholson's Joker, too. More cartoonish than Ledger, but it works.
I like Jack's Joker better than Heath's, as Jack's Joker was the comics version brought to life.
"What kind of a world do we live in where a man dressed up as a bat is stealing all my press?"
HE STOLE MY BALLOONS!!! Why didn't anyone tell me he had one of those... things?
Danny De Vito as the Penguin. Solid gold win!!! "Burn, baby, Burn!!!!!!!!"
The Scary Black Man (not!) who throws the innocents' detonator out the boat. What now, Joker? Still think Humans Are Bastards? (To think I'd be listing a character who appears for less than five minutes...)
I'm fed up with all this villain love. What about the Caped Crusader himself????? Micheal Keaton OWNED his role as Batman. Nobody has done it better. But....Christian Bale has done a very commendable job in the new movies.
Darth Sidious. Apart from his being the most Magnificent of all Bastards in that series, look at his (few) combat scenes and see how he wields his Force Lightning and his lightsaber, and then tell me he's not awesome.
He does have some fearsome competition however in Yoda. The single most awesome puppet ever (Frank Oz is a genius), and once switched to CGI proves that being 900 years old doesn't stop him from possessing combat skills rivalled only by Sidious.
Asajj Ventress FTW!! She's not even a Sith apprentice and can take on Master Jedi!
Qui-Gon Jin. In his review of Taken, Roger Ebert said, "This movie proves that Liam Neeson can bring undeserved credibility to most roles just by playing them." (Ebert is apparently ten years behind the curve) In a movie of colossal stupidity, with horrible dialogue and non-existent direction, Neeson managed to make Jin wise, enthralling, and endearing.
Captain Fordo, from Star Wars: Clone Wars. A relatively minor character, especially compared to everyone else here, but he brings in ass-kicking and awesomeness in any scene he's in. Just look at him!
Without doubt the greatest hero of the Star Wars Universe is Luke Skywalker. At 18 he nearly singlehandedly saves the rebellion and blows up the death star. By the end of Empire he is able to deal with the horrific revelations within and bounce back. At 22 he has become a fully fledged Jedi and is able to take down Vader in a duel. He then has the courage to go up against the Emperor himself. And from that point on (bouts of unwanted pacifism and self doubt aside) he sucessfully recreates a better Jedi order, goes from strength to strength and fully earns his place as the greatest example of what the Light side is about. The only reason he cannot have been mentioned yet is that nobody felt worthy of doing so.
Obi-Wan-Kenobi. Deadpan Snarker, Badass Beard, managed to take on the friggin' Chosen One and curp-stomp him, sexy enough to have a pre-pubescent saying "THAT'S Obi-Wan? Day-um, he was cute when he was young."
Seconding the Obi-Wan love. He was definitely the ultimate Jedi of the old Jedi Order- modest, kind, Badass... He had a truly horrible life- losing his master, spending the Clone Wars getting regularly beaten to a pulp and even tortured, losing his entire surrogate family in one go due to the actions of his best friend, having to fight said best friend, spending almost twenty years alone in a desert and then dying at the hands of the former friend he couldn't bring himself to kill all those years ago. And yet he still managed to stay firmly in the Light, a hero to the end. It's hard to convey just how much love and respect I have for Obi-Wan. He's my hero.
C 3 PO anyone? Not only is he in every episode of the Saga (and says the first and last lines to boot) but he's an endearing worrywart who acts as a perfect foil to R 2 D 2's antics.
Anakin Skywalker — the Chosen One and among the most complex characters of the saga. His struggle to find balance between the Light and Dark sides of the Force is heart-breaking and his choices affect every being in the galaxy. More than any other character, his greatest strengths are also his greatest weaknesses.
Padmé Amidala. Queen, wife, Senator, warrior, diplomat, and mother (though for too short a time, unfortunately). She's stubborn, idealistic, self-righteous, naïve, gentle, self-sacrificing, devoted, and kind...but sad.
Detective Alonzo Harris. 'Why?' you ask? Because a lot of corrupt (and some not so corrupt) cops think they're a Magnificent Bastard. This motherfucker IS one. Because "the shit's chess! It ain't checkers!" Because, his office is a Lincoln cruiser with hydraulics. Because "it takes a wolf to catch a wolf". And because he's played by Denzel Washington.
Ripley because she's a Mama Bear. "Get away from her you BITCH!"
Bishop. Quiet, stoic - he had hidden depths that were never plumbed.
Sergeant Apone—-The original badass black cigar-chomping one-liner-spewing bug-stompin' Sergeant Rock. Shame he died so soon...
The titular aliens. The xenomorphs are some of the best creatures ever made for the screen. They're just human enough to squick you out, but then you get to the head... and the second jaw... and the tail... and the back-tube-things... And that's without their breeding cycle. And the fact that they're essentially space cockroaches. They will NEVER DIE OUT. EVER.
Captain. Jack. Sparrow. Any doubts about his awesome can be easily dispelled by listening to his theme music.
What can I say about wonderful Jack Sparrow? Well, there's this conglomerate of remarks gleamed from the Pirates fandom:
A classic Byronic Hero; an outcast with no respect for rank or privilege. A trickster, cunning and adaptive. Mysterious, magnetic and seductive, of dubious integrity, distrustful of social institutions & norms. And nobody seems to know where he came from.
A pretty thing; proud and flashing bright. He burns fire-bright, eyes open or closed. Something dark, daft and utterly fey dances flame-hot in his eyes. Even locked in a dim Port Royal cell, his light shines undimmed. It could be said that no man in fiction has ever seemed more alive.
Fair of face and form, laughter and fortitude, with zeal for life that would lure a saint to sinning. Sometimes cold, fierce and dangerous, like some magnificent bird of prey. Mentally and physically agile- that taut bowstring tension to him, that sense of coiled potential violence, that unexpected strength.
A Dionysian disciple, singularly possessed of the ability to summon forth Chaos from Order. A rascal and scamp, yet so worthy of acceptance. When he polishes the tarnish off, the silver shines. Old wounds and new ones, scars and brand and braided hair. The golden smile and that silver tongue no metal can match. A sparrow, but not a nondescript bird.
A Caribbean cocktail-blend in human form; a nervy, theatrical rogue; a manic scoundrel subject to bouts of conscience. Brilliant, and constantly on the edge of disaster. Jack Sparrow stands merrily defiant, ready to take on the world... or at least pick its pocket and sneak out the back door. A guy you can trust not a wit, and with your life. A pirate, and a good man.
What do you mean we've forgotten about Barbossa?! The man has some of the best dialogue ever written for the silver screen!
I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request. Means no.
Barbossa is indeed one of the most entertaining movie villains in recent years, and Geoffery Rush owns the role so very, very well.
James Lysander Norrington, because he's a stone-cold badass that doesn't need half the ham the other characters in the trilogy do to be awesome. He was a truly admirable guy who got worse than he deserved in every movie. (Re James' middle name; see the entry under Pirates of the Caribbean's WMG tab.)
Gibbs! What a quartermaster, the best quartermaster ever! Also, Beckett, the most badass little power-tripping butthole of all time! Gibbs is easily one of the (if not the) most underrated characters in the film. Anyone who can put up with Jack Sparrow the way he does is nothing short of a saint.
Davy Jones. The man's Bad Ass depite the fact he's got more Narm than can fill the sea and an octopus for a face! In fact, that makes him even more awesome! And as for his pet . . .
Murtogg and Mullroy. And Pintel and Ragetti. Both of the duos have a great dynamic.
Master Chief Carl Brashear. You walk 12 steps in a suit that weighs over 300 lbs. and do it with only ONE good leg, and we'll add you to this list as well.
Kyle Reese from The Terminator: I remember staying up years ago to watch the original for the first time when I was twelve. I had never seen an R-rated movie without my parents in the room before, and the language was pretty shocking for someone who had never heard the word "fuck" before, but anyway. Then Reese comes on screen, all wild-eyed and intense, blasts the Terminator through a window, and says "come with me if you want to live." And my little 12-year-old brain went "This guy is FUCKIN' AWESOME!!! I have found my role model!" This from a 12-year-old GIRL, by the way, but I turned out all right. Hey, I think the guy's a better role model than most people on TV nowadays. Sure, people tell me I'm too wild-eyed, determined, and intense, but there are worse things a person can be.
While Terminator Salvation may have its issues, Marcus Wright is an absolutely fascinating character, and Sam Worthington deserves a place in the Trope Pantheon as the God of Taking the BadSeriously.
OP: Absolutely. With all the hype surrounding Christian Bale as John Connor, Sam Worthington's portrayal of Marcus was overlooked. The guy rocked it. The character of Blair Williams was also great. Unfortunately, the movie itself wasn't too good. You could tell that Anton Yelchin was trying very hard, but the guy's never gonna be as good as Michael Biehn. And Christian Bale's hilarious rant took all seriousness out of the film.
What about the other characters? Ludo was such a big sweet-heart. :) And Sir Didymus was just plain awesome... or insane... hard to tell the difference. And Hoggle had some nice character development.
Mercedes from Pan's Labyrinth. Will of iron, one of the most satisfying firings of Chekhov's Gun in all fiction, and those unexplained niggling bits where she discusses fairies with Ofelia and recognizes the door. Beautiful, beautiful character.
Captain Vidal also deserves a mention, as he manages to be loathsome without the writers resorting to making him cowardly or otherwise pathetic. He's brave, tough, and faithful to the fascist cause, and he's still a huge monster by being so utterly cruel. That's a great sign of a well-written character.
Roy: I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those ... moments will be lost in time, like tears...in rain. Time to die.
National Treasure: Riley Poole is here! Justin Bartha's character is arguably the best thing to come out of the National Treasure series, if only because his Deadpan Snarking occasionally drifts towards Lampshading the absurdity of the films' plots. He's certainly One of Us. He's just so damn funny, and Adorkable. Riley is awesome!
The Twilight movie's Edward Cullen, for the sole fact that Robert Pattinson seemed to play him as one of the most intentionally unintentionally hilarious characters ever.
Jane is played by DAKOTA FANNING.
Happy-Go-Lucky's Poppy has the confident, energetic, ridiculously upbeat personality of a Blithe Spirit, without the actual Blithe Spirit part, taking away the annoying and leaving us with just one lovable as hell character. Also, never seen anyone play this kind of character nearly so well as this. Sorry, Jewel, but it's true.
Ethan Edwards of The Searchers is the greatest anti-hero ever depicted in a Western. Period.
Withnail and I: Withnail. In the hands of a lesser actor, he could have been just a Jerkass Loser but with Richard E. Grant playing him? My, my, I've never seen such a classy, endearingly sad, side-splittingly funny bastard in all my life.
Back to the Future: Doc Brown. "It'll shoot the fleas off a dog's back at five hundred yards, Tannen, and it's pointed straight at your head!" Doc is a great example of Cool Old Guy. Plus he's not bad-looking... Doc has more guts in his little finger than the Tannens have in their entire bodies. He is as smart as a city full of surgeons, and he's an awesome friend.
And speaking of friends, can we get some love for Marty McFly? At first glance, the kid appears to be an average 80s teenager. Then we note that he's befriended the town outcast and it goes (mostly) uphill from there. (He did learn - which is more awesome right there.) What else can you say about a teenager who, when his beat friend held hostage, goes out and faces the hostage taker without batting an eyelash - and then curbstomps him?
Agreed. The guy is just cool. Skateboarding away from Biff and his goons, then climbing over their car and landing back on his skateboard, making them crash into a manure truck? Badass. The way he just fearlessly jumped off a (at least) fifty-storey building...and rose up on top of the flying DeLorean? BADASS. And he can SHRED on a guitar, and he's a good singer along with it (yes, I know it wasn't Michael J. Fox singing, but I don't care!). The fact that he's so witty/charming/cute doesn't hurt, either.
Japeth, the most awesome mountain goat ever. Just watch him in action for more, as I'm pretty sure Red's the only live person who's come by his shack in many years.
James T. Kirk was awesome as a thirty-something year-old captain. But then, he got old, got a gut, and his hair thinned. And he became even more awesome. That man is made of so much win, it took a second actor to play him. And he was Bad Ass too!
Seconded, but some of the most awesome things about Kirk are not just "he-man" stuff. He attempts to extend mercy to a guy who just tried to kill him a few seconds before (something carried over from the series...which, come to think of it, is why he had to fight Khan a second time). Not only that, he is one of the best friends is the hero world. HisloveforSpock not only spurs him on to feats of awesome, it's pretty awesome in and of itself.
There will never a bastard with such magnificence as KHAAAAAANNNN!. "From hell's heart, I stab at thee.....For hate's sake, I spit — my — last breath — at theeeeeeeee."
In fairness, it should be mentioned that when Khan spoke the above line, he was quoting someone else.
Anita and Bernardo in West Side Story. They pretty much stole the entire film away.
Eric Liddel from Chariots of Fire. He was unpretentious yet appealing and he could actually make you think that Good Feels Good. He was kind to everyone and the only time he became angry was when someone tried to force him to bend his own principles. He actually gave sermons that were pleasant to hear as well. Sometimes when an attempt is made to make a saintly character the result is either a wimpy one or a sanctimonious one. Eric was neither; he liked people and made them like him and no one ever considered him wimpy. And the race in which he was knocked off the course and got up to run after everyone and win the race was one CMOA.
Jack Ryan in Hunt for Red October. He was quiet, unassuming, knew tons of naval minutiae, could jump out of a helicopter onto a surfaced submarine. And he could solve a world crises while still remembering to bring home a teddy bear for his daughter's Christmas present.
Riddick. Nothing like a bad guy trying to be a good guy (kinda sorta not really) in a bad situation. Plus, I guess I like sadism. And you know he'd leave you behind on that hellish planet if you don't get your ass on that ship in the time it takes to close the door — even if he just helped save you.
Does the suicidal goldfish count as character? Because that guy was awesome!
Stranger Than Fiction: Harold Crick. Will Ferrell is absolutely tremendous as him, and I wish he'd do more dramatic acting. Crick's journey from repressed workaholic who does nothing to being a lover of life, motivated by the knowledge that his death could be just around the corner is brilliantly done, and then you have the tail end of the film, where he becomes a de facto hero. It's one thing to be willing to die for your art. It's another to be willing to die for someone else's. Yes Karen, he is most definitely the kind of man you want to keep alive.
Henry, the titular character of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is probably one of the creepiest psychos in movie history, and he does it all by being so realistic. He never once seems to be a goofy over-the-top movie villain like the Joker or Hannibal Lecter, and comes across as far more frightening than either one, in my opinion. Add in an excellent performance by Michael Rooker, and you've got one of the most awesomely freaky maniacs in movie history.
Most of the characters from Almost Famous are some form of awesome. Even if it's a kind of mean awesome. But a lot of them aren't. William? Could he possibly be any more adorable? And Lester Bangs... well, she doesn't know much about the real Lester, but the Philip Seymour-Hoffman Lester is GOD.
Atticus Finch. While from a book, he deserves a mention here. Gregory Peck was so great as him that it broke Harper Lee to tears and gave him her real father's watch. He was so great that she said he did not simply portray Atticus, but that he was Atticus. He was named the best hero by AFI and deserved it.
Seymour and Audrey. They make the cutest couple ever! Oh, and that crazy dentist was pretty funny, too. And who can forget the plant, Audrey II? Twooey stole the show, and being voice by Levi Stubbs helped.
You mean you didn't love Bill Murray like I did and his scene stealing at the dentist's office? CANDYBAR!
YES. I was just about to mention the characters from Inglourious Basterds, all of whom are pure awesome. Everyone from Shosanna and Col. Landa to the titular Basterds to Lt. Hicox to that German sergeant who gets his head bashed in by the Bear Jew...everybody. Yes, they do horrible things, but I love them all. They deserve their own mention, not just to be lumped in with other Tarantino characters.
Fucking seconded. And he's dying for that whole movie. God DAMN.
So awesome, he’s great even when played by another actor, as Dennis Quaid demonstrates in the otherwise meh-fest of a movie that is Wyatt Earp.
Bill the Butcher. Another case of the villain stealing the show, and Daniel Day Lewis' enforced method acting helps too.
His accent is somehow more American than American. The way he chomps at his words, he's one step away from literally chewing the scenery. It could so easily be a hammy mess, but it works, and it's glorious.
Christian, the penniless poet. Handsome and romantic and devoted. Swoon.
Grace from Avatar makes me want to get into science. And she's played by Sigourney Weaver!
No mention of Avatar can be made without including Colonel Miles Quaritch, putting the Bad Ass in Colonel Badass!
Juror #8. In an hour and a half, went from 11 jurors convinced of the defendant's guilt to a unanimous vote for acquittal, and remained perfectly calm throughout (except for one moment near the beginning, and quickly recovered). A valid point of divergence for any Alternate History story: "Juror #8 was in <insert place>, and <insert war> never happened."
Robert Fischer Jr. from Inception. A prime example of the Woobie, he starts out seeming like this arrogant rich kid, but then you get to see his confidence issues out in the open, not to mention his clear fear once Cobb starts the Mr. Charles gambit. Once he starts to feel accepted by the team, you can see his shyness and happiness about finally being accepted by someone, and the scene with his father is just ... to top it off, he's played by Cillian Murphy.
Stalker's wife in the 1979 Andrei Tarkovsky film Stalker, played by Alisa Freindlich. While Stalker, Writer, and Professor all desire things like power, money, and respect, and do not get it in the end, Stalker's wife has only one wish: to be with the man she loves. At the end, when Stalker returns to her and their daughter, she becomes the only person in the film to be truly happy.
Everybody wept for E.T.'s plight, and not without reason...but I shall cry for The Man Who Fell to Earth, Thomas Jerome Newton. So beautiful note yes, in and out of his disguise, so fragile, so innocent yet not without moments of wisdom...and yet he gets one of the cruelest examples of the Downer Ending...(waaaaa)
I watched Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels recently and I thought Rory was a real cool character. Mister Big is a common enough trait for criminal leaders, but what makes Rory unique is that he's a Pintsized Powerhouse who doesn't hide behind his hulking men, but instead leads from the front with a comically small gun. He's very respected by his men and is probably the most reasonable crime boss in the movie (admittedly not difficult). There's also the fact that he has a snazzy lair and likes Umbrella Drink(s), neither really typical of one of The Yardies. Basically, he consciously seems to avert a lot of gangster stereotypes.
Cher Horowitz from Clueless. Yes, she's a little bit ditzy and sometimes meddlesome, but she's a loyal friend, looks out for her dad, and is liked because she's nice to pretty much everyone. And her wardrobe! Fifteen years after the movie's release, and I still long for that pinstriped suit/beret combo.
John Matrix from Commando. After his daughter his kidnapped, he knows exactly what to do: Find the kidnappers, and kill them. And he doesn't let things like evil dictators, their military, former elite soldiers and angst get in way. In the end, he succeeds and manages to kill, like, a whole fucking army on the way!
Mattie Ross. She doesn't have strength, size, or even the respect of the people around her. She does have cleverness, a cool head in a fight, and unending determination to see justice done. Perhaps even more importantly, she's not incapable of fear—she's clearly terrified when the bullets start flying and things go south, but she's got enough, well, grit to keep her wits about her.
Kirk Lazarus and Kevin Sandusky in Tropic Thunder. Kirk is badass as a black guy and sexy as a white guy. But you can't help to feel sorry for him. Kevin is the one sane guy who managed to help keep this group together even with the three main stars breaking down from all sorts of issues.
This might be just me, but the Drayton "Cook" Sawyer from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974 & The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is my favorite character of the entire slasher genre (even if neither of those movies are technically slashers, and he himself never kills anyone). He's the only one I know of that feels any actual guilt for killing, and he actually makes an attempt (though a not very good one) to comfort his victims before they die. He just seems the most human to me. Of course, your mileage may very
Mulder and Scully are just as awesome in the film as they are in the series. The idealists who know they are the only chance that people have to survive the upcoming alien colonization. They are badass enough to fight the evil conspiracy and they try to inform people and save the mankind. So they fight the future. And while they do so, they manage to be funny, snarky and so, so attractive.
Gwen Stacy. She manages to pull off Action Girl while still staying as a believable, real character. On two seperate occasions she stays behind in a building during an evacuation in order to help Spider-Man, and both times actively attacks the Lizard. The only thing that keeps her from doing it a third time is her father, Captain Stacy of the NYPD, who thoroughly averts Police Are Useless (in a superhero film, no less) by first catching and unmasking Spider-Man himself, then pulling a Big Damn Heroes during the final battle with the Lizard and saving Peter's life. Honestly, I could happily watch a spin-off about the Stacys... if they weren't both Doomed by Canon, at least. Here's hoping Gwen avoids it.
Will Kane from High Noon. He completely ignores public pressure in order to kick some Miller ass, saving the townspeople even though they never did anything for him Talk about a selfless, thankless act.
Paul Newman in The Sting. He looked very good in a tux.
Warm Bodies: R was awesome! He was just so great! His personality. Being a woobie and so vulnerable made him all the better. His actor was great, and played off the character perfectly, and R was just... Ahhg! He's awesome, that's all! It's just so amazing to see such a great character. He's too cute a character not to like.
Lawrence Talbot of The Wolf Man (1941) could easily be considered Universal Horror's Tony Stark. He was essentially the hero of the franchise, culminating in an epic Taking You with Me against Dracula in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Specifically, he retains enough mental capacity in wolf form to grab Dracula and pitch them both over the castle balcony. Not to mention that he first became a werewolf because he came to a woman's rescue when she was being attacked.
Frankenstein's Monster has an equally awesome Taking You with Me in Bride of Frankenstein. After seeing the love between Henry and Elizabeth, he decides to perform a heroic sacrifice, killing himself, the villain, and the newly created bride and after letting Henry escape.
CREATURE: (Pointing at Henry) You Go. (To the Villain) We belong dead. (Blows up the lab).
Pretty much everyone in "Repo! The Genetic Opera" with very few exceptions. But special mentions need to go to Grave Robber, for well, everything, looks, attitude, songs, and just general extreme epicness, and Nathan/The Repo Man for the excellent personality split, complete with a different voice for each. "Night Surgeon" showcases both very well.