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The Brute

"H-he's like a bear! He's like a big, shaved bear that hates people!"
The Scout on the Heavy

The powerhouse of the Five-Bad Band, this is Evil's answer to The Big Guy. A Giant Mook with personality, the Brute is huge, all muscle, loves to fight and is very good at it. However, while he may first appear to be The Hero's equal or even superior in combat, subsequent battles will establish the Brute as being the Goliath to the Hero's David.

He is usually a bully, incapable of empathy, and, more often than not, also very stupid, though there are exceptions. Super Strength and Nigh-Invulnerability are common among powered varieties. Female brutes are rare outside of all-women groups, although not unheard of.

If The Dragon isn't the one that gets sent out to antagonize the heroes on a regular basis, it's this guy. He is usually the lowest-ranking member of the inner circle's hierarchy, and as such generally gets little respect from them, though he may exercise authority over the mooks.

He is often the first opponent the heroes face after their successes require that someone more capable be sent to take care of them. He tends to be either blindly loyal or just too thickheaded and incompetent to ever stand a chance of overthrowing the leaders. Despite his role as the primary brute force of The Evil Army, he is rarely ever as strong as The Dragon.

One thing to keep in mind with this character type is that it's the role and rank as opposed to just the personality that defines it. Pete from the Walt Disney canon is a classic example of the Brute personality type: a big dumb bully that just loves to throw his own weight around. However, he's generally used as a Big Bad (or, in works like Kingdom Hearts II, The Dragon). As such, in most appearances, he is not technically a Brute.

This character type often shows up as part of the Five-Bad Band dynamic (in fact, his presence is often what defines it). He can also show up as a member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad, but (like all the other members) will lose most of his threat level by virtue of his quirkiness.

A Brute whose demeanor becomes implacable will quickly ascend to the status of Juggernaut, while the more emotionally volatile risk becoming The Berserker. Be wary too, recruiters, of a Brute who pets the dog, lest he prove to be a closet Gentle Giant and may very well eventually Heel-Face Turn on you.

Considering his aforementioned general role as the mean, stupid, and disrespected meat shield for his team, the Brute tends to be especially susceptible to Humble Pie and the Humiliation Conga.

Compare: Smash Mook.

Examples

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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Book 
  • Blob is usually portrayed this way in X-Men media and adaptations.
  • Rhino, in Spider-Man, has generally been portrayed this way. His Dumb Muscle personality was even used in a Homage to Flowers for Algernon where he briefly became smarter.
  • Validus of the Fatal Five from Legion of Super-Heroes.
  • Bambi Baker from Strangers in Paradise is a female example, but then most of the SiP cast is female.
  • Parallax, despite being an Anthropomorphic Personification of fear itself, acts like a bully and is the first of the Sinestro Corps' five leaders to be defeated.
    • For more Corps-specific examples, the Sinestro Corps have Arkillo, and the Red Lanterns have Skallox.
  • Most incarnations of Batman's foe, Killer Croc. When he was introduced in 1983, he was actually portrayed as a dangerously cunning Genius Bruiser with a chip on his shoulder, but as time went by, Flanderization set in as writers focused more and more exclusively on his brute strength at the expense of his other traits, and at his worst (around Batman: Hush), he was written as little more than a hungry animal. The introduction of Bane, another Genius Bruiser, rendered the original characterization of Croc redundant - few people remember that running Batman ragged and breaking his back was how Croc was introduced.
    • The current in-universe explanation/retcon is that his mutation is degenerative, slowly making his brain more reptilian as well as his body.
    • On the other hand, another of Batman's enemies, the Man-Bat, is usually just a near-mindless beast.
  • Darth Nihl and Darth Stryfe from Star Wars: Legacy are the least cunning of the main Sith characters but are their two strongest warriors. Stryfe in particular is single-minded about killing anything that his boss, Darth Krayt, doesn't like.
  • Abomination is The Brute to Hulk's The Big Guy.
  • Blockade, from the original Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Titania from the Marvel Universe is a somewhat rare example of a female bruiser.
  • Patch from Scourge's Suppression Squad in Sonic the Hedgehog
  • If a Sin City mafioso needs a big guy to smack the hero around, they will call Manute everytime. Subverted in that he is quite intelligent and rarely loses his cool.
  • Due to Superman's powers, several of his "normal" foes (especially Lex Luthor) often resort to a super-powered brute to do the physical work against Superman. Examples include Bizarro, Metallo and the Parasite, all of whom Luthor used as brutes in the Last Son of Krypton storyline.
    • When Luthor is dealing with a normal human being he instead resorts to bodyguards like Hope and Mercy.
  • Most of the enemies that Werewolf by Night fought were big dumb monsters out to smash stuff and hurt people.

    Fanfic 

    Film 
  • Shows up fairly often in the James Bond series.
    • Red Grant in From Russia with Love, who is interesting in that he also has the most direct role in the action.
    • Thunderball has three of them: Jacques Boitier, Count Lippe, and Mr. Janni. Vargas is also Brute-like but he is actually The Dragon.
    • Osato's car driver in You Only Live Twice, played by Peter Maivia, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's grandfather. He can endure several hits of sofa and punching him in the face is quite ineffective (like Oddjob).
    • Bambi and Thumper in Diamonds Are Forever are a particularly amusing example, and a rare instance of female Brutes.
      • Also, Peter Franks.
    • In Live and Let Die, Dr. Kananga has two of them: Whisper and Baron Samedi.
    • Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker
      • In the former film, he is definetly The Brute, but also The Dragon, while in the latter, he develops into a pure Dragon, with Chang as the Brute.
    • Emile Locque in For Your Eyes Only.
    • Octopussy gives as the three thugs hired by Kamal Khan, to kill Bond. They don't seem very smart, but they are definetly sadistic.
    • Necros in The Living Daylights, depending on whether or not you consider Koskov to be The Dragon.
    • Xenia in GoldenEye is both this and also the Psycho for Hire Dark Chick.
    • Stamper in Tomorrow Never Dies.
    • Gabor in The World Is Not Enough.
    • Mr. Kil in Die Another Day.
    • Bond films in general are an interesting case, since they often have a character filling the role of both Dragon and Brute in order to put greater emphasis on the contrast between the mental power of the Big Bad and the physical power of his top henchman. Leaving aside the smart ones like Gobinda in Octopussy—since they're pure Dragon—some classic examples of Bond Dragon-Brutes include Oddjob, Jaws, Dario, Xenia, Stamper and Hans from You Only Live Twice.
  • Bane in Batman & Robin. While film!Bane is an incoherent muscle-bound moron, comic!Bane is dangerously intelligent.
    • The Dark Knight Rises corrected this. He's a Genius Bruiser now, but still fits the role - whether or not you believe that he's serving directly under Talia, he is still part of an evil team with her and serves as her muscle.
    • In Tim Burton's Batman, the Joker had Lawrence, who also carried around a boombox to provide the background music.
      • Jack Napier himself was the Brute for Carl Grissom's gang, being the most physical of the hoodlums. Of course, it's not all that hard to bully a Fat Bastard like Eckhardt.
  • Bonecrusher in Transformers.
    • Brawl might also qualify. He is the most heavily armed Decepticon and the toughest one to kill. It took the combined efforts of the human military and all four non-Optimus Prime Autobots to finally put him down for the count. His alt mode is a literal tank.
      • Blackout could count seeing as he's the most heavily armed character and the largest one in the movie.
    • In the second film, Grindor acts as this during the 3-on-1 battle in the forest while in the final battle, the role clearly belongs to Devastator.
      • Demolisher could count due to his large size and that he just uses his weight instead of a weapon.
    • Shockwave's Driller in the third film.
  • Gogo Yubari in Kill Bill.
  • Boagrius from Troy.
    • Ajax also qualifies for this role.
  • Dredger from Sherlock Holmes
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, has Gunner the zombie. We know that he was cruel and sadistic, even before being a zombie.
  • Leroy in Mystery Team.
  • Lothar in The Rocketeer, who was modeled upon 30s film actor Rondo Hatton.
  • Storm Shadow from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
  • In Superman IV: The Quest for Peace Lex Luthor creates the Nuclear Man, a brute who barely talks, to kick Superman around.
  • Man of Steel: During the Battle of Smallville, Faora is accompanied by Nam-Ek, a fellow Kryptonian warrior. The difference between the two is that Nam-Ek's nine feet tall and encased in armor. He noticeably matched Superman in strength while Faora has speed and skill.
  • X-Men:
  • Torque, the robot-henchman from Robot Holocaust.

    Literature 
  • Gregor Clegane from A Song of Ice and Fire is this to a T. He's not on any inner circle, in part because he's too psychotic for that, and because Lord Tywin doesn't really keep an inner circle, (he has one or two people he genuinely consults with, the rest are dupes that he manipulates) however he is Tywin's choice for virtually all of the dirty and bloody work that needs to be done, and shows real taste for and skill at it. He's also the World's Strongest Man, and will gleefully show it off.
    • Similarly, Victarion Greyjoy is this for House Greyjoy. They also make an interesting comparison, as they are two very different characters who fall under the same trope type; while Clegane is a vicious and amoral sadist, Victarion is The Fettered, believing wholeheartedly in the grim, Even Evil Has Standards code of honor that the Iron Men share.
    • And Shagga son of Dolf serves as a Boisterous Bruiser style Brute to Tyrion, doing most of his dirty work, while Tyrion and Bronn keep their hands relatively clean. Timmett son of Timmett is somewhere between this and a second Dragon.
  • During the last story arc of K.A. Applegate's Animorphs, and the books leading up to it, the kids reflect that Visser Three is an incompetent tactician and instead relies on technological advantages; he's pushed for all-out war since the beginning. "He doesn't know tactics," Jake says, "he fights with a sledgehammer."
  • Adus in David Eddings' Elenium trilogy. "Just put armor on a gorilla and you've got him." He's a mentally-handicapped thug who serves Martel as his best enforcer and killer. Martel considers Adus to be little more than a weapon ("I use him for killing people") and everyone who meets him looks down on him due to his stupidity and lack of hygiene. He has all the hallmarks of the personality type too, being dumb, but a savante when it comes to small unit tactics, willing to cut through his own men just to get to the heroes, and lacking the ability to so much as read.
    • He may be the King of Cthol Murgos, but one could definitely make the case for Taur Urgas being The Brute in Eddings' other major series, The Belgariad. He's got all the hallmarks of the personality: no empathy, Axe Crazy, a Berserker in combat, and he also seems to fit in terms of his position and role in the villainous hierarchy: he's the ruler of one of the largest countries subject to Torak, and provides manpower and muscle for the Angarak armies, while still being subject to Ctuchik, Torak's Dragon.
    • In Eddings' stand-alone novel, The Redemption of Althalus Pekhal and Gelta are the ones that Ghend calls in when he and Daeva have a situation that requires straight up brute force, as opposed to cunning or subtlety (which Evil Genius Argan and Dark Chick Koman deal with). Both are relics from the Stone Age, and are vicious, cruel, more than a little stupid, and in Gelta's case prone to fits of psychotic rage. They don't get much more brutish.
  • Lu Bu in The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Initially, he is able to handily intimidate all dissenters from taking down Dong Zhou, drive away Cao Cao when Cao Cao comes to assassinate Dong Zhou, and take on Zhang Fei, Guan Yu, and Liu Bei at once. Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, and Liu Bei are held up as amazing warriors because three on one they didn't flee Lu Bu and forced him to retire. Lu murders his lord and adopted father for a horse, his next lord for a 16 year old dancer (not that kind), and dies an alcoholic wreck of a man.
  • Ronald Niedermann from The Millennium Trilogy is able to deal out a lot of pain, being able to break normal people's necks like sticks. Coupled with the fact that he is unable to feel pain due to a neuralgic defect, it makes him nearly unstoppable.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "A Witch Shall Be Born," Khumbanigash.
  • In Malevil, Armand serves as the Sinister Minister's enforcer; big, dumb, and cruel, a man who only understands bullying people.
  • Goliath, is probably the most triumphant example of this trope.
    • Not necessarily; all we are really told about him is how big he is and that he's his army's champion.
  • Crabbe and Goyle fill this role in the Harry Potter series, along with actual giants.
  • Tool in Ship Breaker is set up to be The Brute to first Lucky Strike and then Richard Lopez. Subverted, as he's actually a Genius Bruiser & The Unfettered, and is thus works for no one. Regular Halfmen, who are The Fettered fullfill the stereotype better.
  • In the Black and Grey Morality world of The Godfather, Luca Brasi is a rare protagonist version of this, but man is he brutal! Read 'throwing a newborn baby in a furnace because he didn't want illegitimate children' brutal.
  • In the late Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure Of The Mazarin Stone by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sam Merton fills the role of the brute.

    Live Action Television 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Kakistos comes more from the "Hulk Smash" school of approach.
  • Eliot Spencer, The Big Guy in Leverage sometimes acts more like this trope than is usual. The show also provides a number of straight examples, most of whom eventually fight Eliot at one point or another:
    • From "The Wedding Job", there's The Butcher of Kiev, who's probably the most archetypal Brute on the show. A hulking thug in the employ of the Russian Mafia, The Butcher is a Knife Nut who uses his massive size and fondness for meat cleavers to overpower his opponents, and is far too stupid to be anything more than a leg-breaker. He has a personal grudge against Eliot for scarring his face in an earlier confrontation.
    • Mr. Quinn, of "The First David Job" is a nondescript Badass in a Nice Suit retained by Nate's Evil Counterpart, Sterling, for the specific purpose of beating Eliot into submission. Not important enough to be The Dragon he displays enough personality to avoid being a simple Elite Mook, and his role as the muscle puts him firmly in this trope. He later reappears during "The Last Dam Job" to help Eliot when Eliot is recognized by the mark. He and Eliot seem to get along despite their previous conflict.
    • Finally we have Roper, a member of the kidnap gang in "The Carnival Job." He's a Psycho for Hire who seems to have a personal history with Eliot and is probably the best fighter the gang has available, as well as a ruthless Combat Pragmatist (seriously, he attacked Eliot in a funhouse, while he was injured, and still made sure to have a little girl as a hostage). However, he's not the Number Two, and seems to have been contracted for his skills at breaking heads and nothing else, not even appearing until the end of the episode.
  • Branken from Mahou Sentai Magiranger. He's the most hot-headed of the villains, and the only character in a magic-themed series to rely on a BFS rather than spells. He'd also qualify for Disc One Final Boss if N Ma hadn't been present, if trapped, from the beginning.
  • In the 2010 version of Nikita, Roan fills the role. A Cleaner who Nikita scarred by his own acid and silent badass, the universal reaction to encountering him is to wet your pants and run.
    • Roan may be so deadly that he qualifies as a Hero Killer. To date, Nikita is the only one who managed to get one-up on him, and she still runs if she has the chance when he shows up.
      • As of mid-Season 2, it can also be argued that Roan has elements of The Dragon — he's Percy's most loyal and deadliest remaining agent, and the one organized the Guardians into action when Amanda and Oversight locked Percy up.
  • Leo Johnson on Twin Peaks. Hired goon, abusive husband, profane loudmouth: the whole package.
  • The appropriately named Eartha Brute from Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?.
  • The Wire has at least one for each major organization. The Barksdale Organization has Roland "Wee-Bey" Bryce in Season 1, (and later Slim Charles after Wee-Bey gets life in prison) Husky Ukrainian Sergei Malatov for The Greeks, and the rare case of a female brute in Felicia "Snoop" Pearson for the Stanfield Organization.
  • Revenge: If you go by Alternate Character Interpretation, Jack Porter is this to Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke.
  • In Season 2 of Justified Coover Bennett plays this role to his mother, Mags and brothers Dickie and Doyle. A hulking, dim-witted Mighty Glacier with a marijuana problem, and a penchant for descending into Unstoppable Rage, Coover's about as archetypal a Brute as you can get.
    • Boyd Crowder has the less obvious Jimmy Tolan, a quiet, loyal thug who plays back up to whoever Boyd's Dragon of the moment is, displays some Blood Knight tendencies and acts as his enforcer while being at the edge of the inner circle.

    Pinball 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The wrestling term for a Brute is a "Monster." This usually (but not always) distinct from The Giant wrestling archetype. Notable examples include Kane, early Mankind, The Big Show, Vader, Brock Lesnar, the Great Khali, André the Giant, and TNA's Abyss.
  • Another type of Brute that pops up occasionally in professional wrestling is the most physically imposing member of a heel stable, such as Batista's role in Evolution. This can sometimes overlap with being The Dragon to the stable leader's Big Bad, such as Mason Ryan in The New Nexus.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 


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