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The Iron Giant
Voiced By: Vin Diesel
A fifty-foot, metal-eating robot. It fell from space, so its creator(s) is presumed to be extraterrestrial. It arrives on Earth slightly damaged and with no recollection of its function. Judging by the capabilities it shows later on, it was designed as a vanguard unit for planetary invasions... although it's not clear if Earth was its original intended target. Unaware of its own function when it arrives, it eventually encounters and befriends Hogarth.
- Amnesiac Dissonance: The Giant loses his memory at the start of the film.
- Arm Cannon: He can shoot powerful blasts from them.
- Badass Adorable: He's basically a giant metal teddy bear, with the ability to absolutely wreck... well, almost anything.
- Berserk Button: Guns. He hates them and doesn't want to be one.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Once that dent pops out, he goes berserk.
- Brought to You by the Letter "S": Grabs an "S" from the scrapyard, and uses it as Superman's S.
- Chest Blaster: Like his Arm Cannons, he's capable of shooting powerful blasts that rival nuclear power.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: The military stand next to zero chance in a fight with him.
- Cute Giant: He's at least 50 foot tall and is absolutely precious.
- Doesn't Like Guns: It's one of his Berserk Buttons
- Dying Moment of Awesome: You stay. I go. No following".
- Extreme Omnivore: He can eat any metal.
- Eye Beams: When Hogarth points a toy gun at him, he nearly vaporizes him with these.
- Fanboy: The Giant becomes enamored with Superman.
- Four Fingered Hand
- Gentle Giant: Obviously. The Giant is still a sweetheart.
- Giant Hands of Doom: If you push his Berserk Button.
- Giant Robot: Hence the name.
- Giant Robot Hands Save Lives: He saves a young boy's life like this.
- Go Out with a Smile:"Superman..."
- Heroic Sacrifice:Intercepts the nuclear missile about to wipe out the town below.
- Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: In his amnesic state, the Giant has yellow-white eyes and "eyelids" more or less like a human's. In his Weapon mode, he has red eyes and Dilating Door-type "eyelids".
- Humongous Mecha: The Giant is at least 50 feet tall.
- I Am Not a Gun: Trope namer.
- "It" Is Dehumanizing: Hogarth insists that the machine is 'he', so that people will think of the Giant as a person.
- The Juggernaut: He's damn near indestructible. Even if he's blown to bits, it would just be a minor hindrance.
- Mysterious Past: Who he was before meeting Hogarth remains a mystery.
- Nice Guy: The Giant has a genial personality.
- Papa Wolf: Harm Hogarth at your own peril.
- Percussive Maintenance: Inverted. A whack on the head damaged him, and wasn't enough by itself to set off his self-repair mechanism.
- Planet Killer: His intended purpose.
- Pulling Themselves Together: Able to reassemble himself after getting hit by a train. And getting nuked.
- Quizzical Tilt
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: When those eyes go red, shit is about to hit the fan.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When he believes Hogarth has died, he lets all his anger fly at the attacking military.
- Secondary Character Title: His name is also the title of the movie, but the actual protagonist is Hogarth.
- Unstoppable Rage: When he thinks that Hogarth has been killed, he proceeds to go on the offensive and turn his impressive weaponry on those he holds responsible.
- Walking Armory: Absolutely brimming with destructive weapons.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: All because of one little ding in his noggin.
Voiced By: Eli Marienthal
An energetic, young, curious boy with an active imagination.
- Adorably Precocious Child: Hogarth is around 10 or 12, but has the maturity of someone twice his age.
- Adorkable: Best proven when he gushes over "having his own giant".
- Adaptational Nationality: While he is American in the animated film, he is British in the book given the nationality of the book and his name sake Ted Hughes.
- All-Loving Hero: Hogarth teaches the Giant how killing is wrong and that he doesn't have to be a "gun".
- All of the Other Reindeer: Hogarth was picked on by the other kids because he "skipped a grade".
- Alliterative Name: Hogarth Hughes.
- Ascended Extra: To the status of the main protagonist.
- Badass Adorable: Hogarth is smart enough to trick a government agent, brave enough to face off against an angry and juggernaut Giant, and cute enough by gushing over the fact of having his "own Giant".
- Badass Pacifist: He gets the angry Giant to stop attacking the military by reminding him that he doesn't have to be a gun and tells him to choose. All the while having a gun from the Giant pointed at him. It works.
- Batman in My Basement: Well, Iron Giant In His Barn, but it still fits.
- A Boy and His X: A Boy and his Massive Metal Buddy.
- Brainy Brunette: Brown-haired Hogarth skipped a grade because he "did the work".
- Child Prodigy: Implied. He makes a passing mention to have skipped a grade and has shown to be surpisingly intelligent for a boy his age.
- Disappeared Dad: Hinted to have perished as a pilot in the Korean War. Averted in the book, in which his father plays a role slightly similar to Kent Mansley by rounding up the other farmers to take down the Giant, who is held directly responsible for eating up their equipment, including tractors and plows.
- Fanboy: Hogarth is shown to be a fan of Superman, Mad Magazine, and The Spirit, when he shows some of his comics to the Giant.
- Friend to All Living Things: His first scene has him begging his mother to let him keep a pet squirrel he found. There's also his friendship with the Giant.
- Grade Skipper: According to Hogarth, because he "did the work" he was able to skip a grade.
- Hero with a Unique Name: While the entire cast have common names, Hogarth's name is very unusual. His Odd Name Out is even lampshaded by other characters.
- Hidden Depths: Despite his age, Hogarth has a deep and mature understanding of death.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: To symbolize his youthful and innocent nature.
- Intelligence Equals Isolation: He's clearly a smart kid. And has no friends. Until the movie's end.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Dean.
- Keet: Taken Up to Eleven when he drinks espresso.
- Kid Hero: He's around 10-12 and is the main protagonist.
- Kid with the Leash: He is the Giant's best friend.
- Morality Chain: Hogarth's apparent death sent the Giant into an Unstoppable Rage.
- Motor Mouth: Goes Up to Eleven when he gets some espresso.
- Nice Guy: He's kind, rightful, courageous, friendly, and cheerful.
- Parental Substitute: He has a fatherly/big-brother relationship to the giant robot in the title, who has the mentality of a very young child.
- Red Is Heroic: Wears a red jacket throughout the film.
- Supporting Protagonist: Hogarth is the main character, but it's the Giant who gets the character development.
- Tragic Keepsake:
- His helmet is implied to be his father's (who is implied to have died in the Korean War) — in fact, a picture of his father has him holding the helmet.
- Subverted with the Giant's screw. The Giant was thought to have died after pulling a Heroic Sacrifice to save Rockwell, and General Rogard found the screw and sent it to Hogarth. However, it turns out the Giant is alive and rebuilding himself.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Probably the sharpest kid ever imagined.
Voiced By: Jennifer Aniston
A widow and Hogarth's single mother.
- Ascended Extra: She is only mentioned once in the book, described as growing pale upon Hogarth's discovery of the Giant.
- Deadpan Snarker: With a son like Hogarth, it comes easy.
- Dude Magnet: Managed to win romantic affections from Mansley (though his were more out of lust), and Dean.
- Fiery Redhead: Usually averted. Unless Hogarth's in danger.
- Good Parents: She may work a lot of hours, but there's no room for doubt that Annie has raised her son the right way.
- Mama Bear: To Hogarth. If there's any indication that he may be in danger, she will immediately rush to where he might be and protect him.
- Nice Girl: Annie is devoted, loving, protective, and caring.
- Official Couple: Refers to Dean as "honey" in the final scene, implying this.
- Parental Obliviousness: Somehow never notices the gargantuan metal monster in her barn.
- Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: She has green eyes, is a redhead, and is the mother of the protagonist.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Annie was married to a soldier. And by the end of the film, she is an Official Couple with Dean who showed her his protectiveness of Hogarth and peacekeeping nature.
- The Smurfette Principle: The only noticeable female in the movie. Subtly lampshaded in a deleted scene where Hogarth shows her some of his comics books, and she points out the lack of female characters.
- Widow Woman: Her husband is implied to have died during the Korean War. Averted in the book.
Voiced By: Harry Connick, Jr.
A beatnik artist and junkyard owner who "sees art where others see junk".
- All of the Other Reindeer: As the cool, artistic resident beatnik of the small town of Rockwell, Maine, 1957, where this film takes place, Dean is sort of an outcast. The rest of the town doesn't really take him seriously, but he's cool with that.
- Badass Pacifist: Dean is portrayed as a man of action, but not of violence (tying into one of the movie's themes.) Culminates with him convincing the military task force that the best way to keep America safe is to not attack the Alien Menace that's currently blowing things up.
- Be Yourself: "You are who you choose to be".
- Beatnik: Complete with a job as an artist, and love of espresso.
- Bully Hunter: He helps out a guy from being mocked at by a couple of jerks.
- Canon Foreigner: He only appears in the movie version.
- Cool Shades: Wears them a few times.
- Dark Is Not Evil: His main clothing scheme is black and he's turns out to be a Badass Pacifist.
- Deadpan Snarker: When you're dealing with a kid and his massive metal muchacho, the deadpan snarkery just flows.
- Drink Order: He has a love for espresso.
- Foil: To Mansley. Dean is very unconventional and hip, while Mansley portrays the ideal manly man of the time - a hard-boiled detective type with a steel jaw. Dean is also a LOT faster on the uptake and more flexible than Mansley. Although he does make the mistake of trusting Mansley to do the right thing...
- Friend to All Children: His first scene with Hogarth. And whenever danger seems to threaten Hogarth, Dean puts himself bodily in the way.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Comes close to being a tritagonist and it's heavily implied that he's a couple with Annie.
- Ink-Suit Actor: He has his actor's similar hairstyle and Perma Stubble.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Hogarth.
- Mellow Fellow: A laid-back man. His first appearance has him asleep in a the diner Annie works at.
- Mr. Fanservice: He's a handsome man. Annie agrees by the film's end.
- Nice Guy: Believes in people being themselves, protected a man who was being picked on by jerks, a good father figure/mentor to Hogarth, and acts as a gentlemen to Annie.
- Official Couple: Implied with Annie in the final scene.
- Papa Wolf: He's not afraid to threaten the Giant when he nearly vaporizes Hogarth with his eye lasers.
- Parental Substitute: He is a father-figure/mentor to Hogarth.
- Perma Stubble: Has a constant 5 o'clock shadow to go with the beatnik look.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: See the Mr. Fanservice section.
- Tall, Dark and Snarky: Dean's also quite a snarker.
Voiced By: Christopher McDonald
An arrogant, ambitious and paranoid government agent sent to investigate the Iron Giant. The logo on his official government car says he is from the "Bureau of Unexplained Phenomena."
- Amusing Injuries: Suffers them constantly.
- And Your Little Dog, Too!: He browbeats Hogarth into giving up the location of the Giant by threatening to ruin his mother's life.
- Big Bad: The closest thing to it anyway.
- Butt Monkey: He really deserves it though.
- Canon Foreigner: Ironically, he appears to have some of Hogarth's father's traits from the book.
- Catch Phrase: "...and all that that implies."
- Didn't Think This Through: Doesn't exactly think all the way about launching a Nuke aimed at the Giant standing about 5 feet away from him.
- Dirty Coward: When the chips are down, his true colors (mostly yellow) show through.
- Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Smokes a straight billiard, despite being neither distinguished nor a gentleman.
- Evil Counterpart: To Dean. Besides being foils of each other (see Dean's section above), Kent is also a cowardly man who only wants to prove the existence of the Giant not to keep the citizens safe, but for his own selfish reasons; Dean has proven to a brave man on several occasions and helps Hogarth hide the Giant simply because Hogarth asked him to. Also, while Kent has proven to be someone who Would Hurt a Child, Dean has proven to be a Friend to All Children.
- Evil Redhead: About as evil as a dipstick G-Man can be.
- Faux Affably Evil: He tries to put on an affable façade, but it becomes clear that it's all an act as the film goes on.
- Hypocrite: All summed up in this one line: "Screw our country, I wanna live!"
- Jerkass: Oh, big time.
- Large Ham: Well since he's voiced by Chris McDonald, calmness clearly doesn't come easy to him.
- The Men in Black: A 1957 version.
- Motor Mouth: Whenever he loses it, he slips into this and rants without stopping for breath.
- Nice Hat: He is often seen wearing a dark grey fedora.
- No Respect Guy: Rogard clearly holds no respect for the guy. Nor does anyone else, and this has resulted in Mansley being massively insecure.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Starts off as seemingly harmless Plucky Comic Relief. Then he nearly nukes the city.
- The Paranoiac: Even though he claims to be worried for the safety and sercurity of America, it becomes clear that he's acting out of self-righteous fear for his own skin, which comes to the surface when he launches a nuclear strike on Rockwell and tries to escape shouting, "Screw our country, I wanna live!"
- Properly Paranoid: We all know he's right about there being a giant metal man. He even turns out to be right about it being very dangerous... to its enemies. His superiors simply think he's wacko.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: What Rogard threatens him with after Dean and Hogarth's ingenious plan succeeds. It's also a popular interpretation of his status at the beginning of the movie, given his high-and-mighty attitude in spite of clearly being in a dead-end government position that nobody takes seriously.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When he launches the nuke and realizes it can't be stopped, he grabs a jeep and runs about 3 feet before the Giant stops him.
- Villainous Breakdown: Culminating in launching a nuke at the town.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: He's trying to ensure his country's safety... he's just not very good at handling unknowns. Or evaluating threats. Or pursuing investigations. Or outsmarting small boys.
- Would Hurt a Child: He threatens Hogarth with harming his mother, uses an chloroform rack to sedate him, and finally outright lies to General Rogard about the Giant carrying Hogarth, and instead recommends they send everything they have against it.
General Shannon Rogard
Voiced By: John Mahoney
The Army (National Guard?) leader in Washington, D.C. who is the military liaison with Mansley's department. He doesn't like Mansley or feel that this 'giant metal man' thing is anything but a hoax. Once he knows the threat is real, he responds bravely and efficiently — though it soon becomes clear that his unit is up against something too hot to handle.
- Canon Foreigner: Only appears in the movie version.
- Cool Old Guy: He's a combination of Four-Star Badass and Reasonable Authority Figure, who won't stand for Mansley's shit.
- Cool Shades: He wears what appear to be green-tinted teashades in the field.
- Deadpan Snarker: Especially with regards to Mansley, who he despises.
- Face Death with Dignity: Despite facing an imminent nuke strike thanks to Mansley, Rogard remains dignified the entire time and calmly informs him that there is no way to escape their fate. Luckily, the Giant saves them.
- Four-Star Badass: The guy's reaction to a pissed off, gun packing giant is to whip his pistol out and shoot at it.
- Gender-Blender Name: His given name can also be given to girls.
- Hollywood Tactics: Mostly averted. He brought infantry, a few tanks, and the ability to call in air support, naval artillery and even a nuclear strike. Given that a substantial threat appeared 'out of nowhere' right in the middle of a civilian population, the military response seems pretty well-planned. A purist might point out that the tanks shouldn't have been sent up close.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While he's openly (and cooly) dismissive towards Mansley, General Rogard deeply cares for his country and is a reasonable man. He even personally sends Hogarth a package containing the only part recovered from the Giant, as he believes Hogarth should have it in honor for the Giant's selfess sacrifice for the town.
- Meaningful Name: "Shannon" is an Irish variant for Sionna, which means "possessor of wisdom". The General later proves to be a Reasonable Authority Figure.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He knows the Giant is a possible threat, but he doesn't use force until it seems necessary. After it becomes apparent that Mansley lied about the giant killing Hogarth, as well as Dean explaining that the Giant only reacts defensively, he immediately calls off the attack and orders them to stand down.