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Characters / The Invisible Man (2020)

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    Cecilia Kass 

Cecilia Kass
"There you are!"
Performed by: Elisabeth Moss
A young woman who leaves her abusive boyfriend, Adrian, in the middle of the night. After he commits suicide, Cecilia is left with a share of his fortune, but she suspects that he is still alive after eerie situations start happening.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: At the end, she becomes an Invisible Woman to kill Adrian for good.
  • Broken Pedestal: Thanks to Adrian, she was initially this towards her sister Emily, her best friend James and his daughter Sydney for crimes committed against them, despite her established good relationships beforehand. After realizing her innocence, James and Sydney now view her as a Rebuilt Pedestal, though with the unfortunate realization that the trauma she's gone through has hardened her into a Vigilante Woman with signs of sociopathy who's turned James into an accessory for murder.
  • Composite Character: She's essentially an amalgamation of the novel Griffin's enemy Kemp and his 1933 counterpart's girlfriend Flora. Her storyline of being framed for murder and becoming invisible herself comes from Geoffrey Radcliffe from The Invisible Man Returns.
  • The Cassandra: Cecilia becomes this when Adrian begins framing her for terrorizing her friends and family and making her look like a Broken Pedestal in the front of them despite their established stable relationships, with James, Sydney and even her sister Emily not believing her of her innocence and Adrian being still alive.
  • Guile Heroine: She's fairly Genre Savvy when it comes to detecting the Invisible Man and figures out his weaknesses early in the film. Unfortunately, Adrian is usually two steps ahead and slips out of almost every situation while simultaneously painting her as the crazy one.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: As part of Cecilia's Establishing Character Moment, she encounters Adrian's dog Zeus on the way out of the house and nearly sabotages her carefully planned escape attempt by going back to remove Zeus's cruel shock collar.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: When Adrian frames her for actions against her friends and family, from nastily emailing her sister Emily to assaulting Sydney to finally Emily's murder.
  • Meaningful Name: Cecilia means "blind" in Latin, as ironically, she can't see the Invisible Man. Her nickname "C" (as in "see") is also suitably ironic. Kess also sounds similar to Arthur Kemp's surname in the original novel.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: After clearing herself of Emily's murder and any other crimes committed by Adrian, she becomes this towards James and Sydney. However, the look on James' face also indicates that he knows he's just become an accessory to murder by allowing Cecilia to get away killing Adrian, possibly with the additional realization that Cecilia's trauma has potentially pushed her down a dark path.
  • She Who Fights Monsters: She appears to undergone this by the end of the film after killing Adrian with cold satisfaction.
  • The Shut-In: After seemingly escaping Adrian, she becomes a compulsive shut-in stuck in her friend James's house. When she hears of Adrian's death, she quickly gets over it, but Adrian's apparent return forces her back into a paranoid mindset.
  • Vigilante Woman: When she decided to take matters to her own hands in confronting Adrian and then killing him as payback for everything he has done to her. Even after letting her killing of Adrian slide, James knows it's an act of lawless vigilantism that he has become an accessory to.

    Adrian Griffin 

Adrian Griffin
"You're learning how to beat me."
Click here to see him as the Invisible Man 
Performed by: Oliver Jackson-Cohen
Cecilia's abusive, controlling boyfriend. He commits suicide shortly after Cecilia leaves him, but he may not be entirely dead...
  • Adaptation Name Change: While he retains the name Griffin from the novel, it's used as his surname here, with his first being Adrian.
  • Adaptational Job Change: He's reimagined from a chemist to an optics magnate.
  • Adaptational Modesty: The original version is nude when invisible, in here he has a suit that makes him invisible, keeping him clothed most of the time.
  • Adaptational Superpower Change: While the original book makes him invisible due to a potion, here it's due to a technological optics suit.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Zig-zagged. While this Griffin is far less destructive than the 1933 Invisible Man, who derailed trains and terrorized whole villages, his single-minded torment of Cecilia and total lack of any redeeming qualities make him much more loathsome a character than Claude Rains' bombastic though pitiable version.
  • Asshole Victim: With all the abuse he inflicted on Cecilia, absolutely no one, not even his brother, pitied him when he apparently killed himself. It becomes much more cathartic when he dies for real after putting Cecilia through absolute hell using his invisibility suit.
  • Bastard Boyfriend: Even before he was invisible, Adrian was domineering and abusive towards Cecilia. Once she finally worked up the courage to leave him, he becomes a whole new brand of bastard.
  • Big Bad: The titular Invisible Man tormenting Cecilia as revenge for her leaving him.
  • Big Brother Bully: Towards his brother Tom, who claims he abused him the same way he did Cecilia when they were younger and that he was even relieved to hear Adrian had killed himself. With the reveal that Tom was actually working with him, however, it calls into question how much of it was true. Still, Adrian had no problem throwing his brother under the bus after he got himself killed by Cecilia.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: In this adaptation, Griffin's invisibility comes from a advanced full-body camo suit rather than a potion. It's also possible that the suit gives him a degree of superhuman strength, though since we later see he is powerfully-built he might just be a strong man.
  • Control Freak: As Cecilia describes, Adrian has to be in control of everything and everyone around him. He dictated how she dressed, how she talked, what she ate, down to what she thought and if he even got the idea that she was doing or thinking what he wanted, he would physically beat her "among other things". This is also why he puts Cecilia through so much torment. He can't fathom the idea of someone else leaving him.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: He's one of the leading scientific minds in optical research and even invented a suit that renders the wearer completely invisible. This would be considered a technological marvel and he squanders it to enact revenge on his ex-girlfriend for leaving him. Downplayed due to the fact that he's already used his other inventions to become extremely wealthy, and merely acquiring more money doesn't seem to interest him as much as controlling and dominating the people in his life.
  • Domestic Abuse: Adrian is controlling and violent to those around him, with no hesitation towards beating them, 'among other things' should they resist.
  • Driven to Suicide: Cecilia leaving him drove Adrian to kill himself. Of course, this ends up being subverted when he turns up alive and well in his invisibility suit. Ironically, when Cecilia kills him for real, she stages it as a suicide.
  • Endearingly Dorky: He is either a dark version of this or good at acting the part, given his awkwardness and stuttering at the end.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • A pretty effective one. After realizing that Cecilia is trying to escape him, he sprints to the car she's in and begins pounding on the door, angrily demanding that she get out. When she doesn't immediately comply, he punches through the passenger side window and tries to drag her out of the car. This whole sequence is less than a minute long and firmly establishes him as a violent Control Freak.
    • Even before that, his controlling nature is shown when Cecilia carefully deactivates security cameras that cover every room of his expansive house.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Subverted. He's been so hellbent on getting Cecilia because she's pregnant with his child. However, knowing how controlling and abusive Adrian acts towards her, it's highly unlikely he would have been an ideal father figure, and it was more likely that he wanted to use the child as an anchor to keep Cecilia from leaving him. Adrian doesn't have people he loves, he has things he owns.
  • Evil Genius: A brilliant scientist who's also a controlling sociopath who invented an invisibility suit.
  • Evil Is Petty: He really doesn't take well to Cecilia leaving him. In fact, she's the first person to do so. Rather than accept or consider he was the one who drove her away, he uses an expensive invisibility suit to psychologically torture her into getting back together with him, because his ego can't stand losing control of someone.
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: His suit works by being covered in thousands of tiny camera lenses, projectors and reflectors. When he is uncloaked, it looks like he is covered head-to-toe in black eyes. He's a walking embodiment of surveillance paranoia.
  • The Faceless: Even without his invisibility, he's not given clear facial features until the very end.
  • Faking the Dead: Knowing how Adrian was, Cecilia is immediately skeptical of his apparent suicide. She was right to be.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Puts on an Endearingly Dorky façade at the end.
  • Gaslighting: His entire scheme is to drive Cecilia insane and force her to submit to him.
  • Genius Bruiser: He created an invisibility suit, and is physically quite formidable. While the suit obviously gives him a huge advantage as his victims can't easily defend themselves, he does show a considerable degree of brute strength and accuracy when he fights, and when we finally see him without the suit, he is quite powerfully built.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Instead of a serum like the original novel, Adrian's invisibility comes from an suit he invented, which is equipped with a lattice of tiny projectors/cameras that seamlessly project an image of what's on the opposite side, unlike a chameleon's ability to blend into its environment.
  • Mad Scientist: A petty and controlling sociopath who is still smart enough to invent a suit that gives the illusion of invisibility.
  • Narcissist: He has all the telling signs, such as inflated self-importance, inability to accept responsibility or admit fault, lack of empathy, a disregard for the lives and feelings of those around him, and a tremendously fragile ego. Cecilia leaving him was such a slight, he used an invisible suit to torment her.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Adrian may be smart and calculating, but he has poor self-control and is easily wounded by things not going his way, taking things out on people physically even though doing so would likely expose him. There are numerous times where he could have killed Cecilia by accident because he could barely keep his tantrums in check.
  • Silent Antagonist: In the invisible suit, he is very nearly this as he has only a couple of lines. To remain hidden, he has to be as quiet as possible, after all, and even when he's alone with Cecilia he never gives her the satisfaction. Outside, he is much more talkative.
  • Slashed Throat: How he murders Emily and also how he meets his own end at Cecilia's hands.
  • The Sociopath: He's pathologically incapable of recognizing wants and needs beyond his own yet maintains a superficial charm to appear affable. This especially shines in his final scene with Cecilia where he appears to physically struggle with apologizing and exhibiting sympathetic emotions.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: Whenever he speaks in invisible form.
  • Something Only They Would Say: In their final meeting, Cecilia tries to get Adrian to confess to being the Invisible Man that had been torturing her and not the innocent victim of his brother that he was pretending to be. Either suspecting she was wearing a wire or just trying to gaslight her again, he denies everything. Then he claims he knows her better than anyone and that shouldn't come as a... "surprise," putting specific emphasis on the word. Earlier in the film, he'd texted her "SURPRISE" from an unknown number and said it to her with the exact same inflection after he had her framed, drugged and incarcerated for her sister's murder. After this, Cecilia excuses herself, grabs the invisibility suit she'd hidden and uses it to force Adrian to slash his own throat, making it look like a suicide. When no one else can hear them, she tells him, "Surprise."
  • Super-Persistent Predator: He will absolutely never stop stalking Cecilia. She's not even safe in public spaces.
  • Technically a Smile: The only kind of smile he can make.
  • Visible Invisibility: Averted for the vast majority of the film, barring scenes of his suit glitching out or liquids staining it. Adrian really is completely invisible to both the characters and the audience, fuelling constant paranoia about whether or not he's even onscreen.
  • Undignified Death: Dies by Cecilia's hands and left to bleed out while she mocks him.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He has a history of domestic abuse with Cecilia, which firmly lands him in this trope's territory. He also murders Cecilia's sister Emily by slashing her throat.
  • Would Hurt a Child: He punches Sydney in the face while invisible (to make her and James believe Cecilia did it) and, though he doesn't do it himself, he has absolutely no qualms about having her murdered by his brother, all just to spite Cecilia.
  • Yandere: Adrian is rather possessive of Cecilia, stating that he'll kill her if she even tries to leave the house. And this is before he becomes invisible.

    Emily Kass 

Emily Kass

Performed by: Harriet Dyer
"Cecilia, what is going on? Are you okay?"
Cecilia's sister, who helps her escape from Adrian.
  • Death by Irony: In the heat of the moment, she accuses Cecilia of being weak for getting into a relationship with Adrian. She calms down after she realizes Adrian has been setting Cecilia up, but both she and Cecilia herself agree that she's the stronger of the two. Adrian kills Emily effortlessly, while Cecilia not only fights back, but wins against him and his brother Tom later on.
  • Faux Action Girl: An In-Universe example. She has a confrontational, no-nonsense demeanor, she initially dismisses Cecilia as weak for getting involved with Adrian, and Cecilia praises her for her toughness, but Cecilia is the one to defeat Adrian, while Emily is disposed of in short order. Combined with her judgemental attitude earlier, this serves to emphasize that Emily is a talker with an overly high opinion of herself, while Cecilia is a fighter.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: She is killed just after reconciling with Cecilia, starting to realize her innocence, re-owning her as her sister and was about to listen to Cecilia's explanation about what's really going on and how Adrian was trying to turn both sisters against each other.
  • Idiot Ball: At the beginning when Cecilia is running away from Adrian's mansion and instructs Emily to arrive in a car, pick her up and drive her away, Adrian catches Cecilia in the act and in only a few seconds is able to get to Emily's car. After Cecilia gets in, Emily doesn't go but tries to make chat with her. Adrian catches up and starts banging on the window, but Emily STILL doesn't drive, she just asks, "What is happening?" Only when Adrian cracks through the window and clutches onto Cecilia, Emily screams then drives.
  • I Have No Son!: Or rather sister, as by closing the door in her sister's face after thinking the latter insulted her with an email without hearing her out first of her innocence, Emily just disowned Cecilia as her sister on the spot for something she did not do, much to the latter's devastation. However, she is willing to re-own her when the sisters get together again, only to get a Slashed Throat.
  • Jerkass Ball: She initially thought Cecilia insulted her with an email, angrily refusing to believe her protesting her innocence and that the still-alive Adrian framed her for it and then closing the door in her face when Cecilia meets her in person and learns of this Frame-Up against her, apparently disowning Cecilia as her sister for allegedly condemning her like that.
  • Sacrificial Lion: She is murdered by Adrian's hands.
  • Slashed Throat: How Adrian kills her.

    James Lainer 

James Lanier

Performed by: Aldis Hodge
Cecilia's childhood friend, a police detective, and Sydney's father. He lets Cecilia hide in his home after leaving Adrian.
  • Agent Scully: He refuses to believe in any bizarre explanation, especially not that Adrian is alive and invisible. At least at first.
  • Fair Cop: A good looking police officer, to say the least.
  • Friend on the Force: He's Cecilia's best friend and a police detective.
  • Good Parents: He adores his daughter Sydney and states his first priority is protecting her, and may play a part for Cecilia's child.
  • Inspector Javert: He swings between this and being a Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist. He's a police detective, but doesn't believe Cecilia about Adrian being still alive and instead question her sanity and thinking she is the one committing the crimes that were actually by Adrian. It's not until the climax James realized Cecilia's innocence and Adrian really being back.
  • Meaningful Name: He shares his first name with James Whale, who directed five classic Universal Horror films, including The Invisible Man (1933).
  • Nice Guy: James is a very kind man, giving Cecilia shelter without any hesitation when she needs it.
  • Papa Wolf: James is very protective over Sydney and doesn't hesitate to rush into danger to defend her.
  • Police Are Useless: He's a police detective, but initially did not believe Cecilia about Adrian terrorizing her again and framing her. He couldn't even hold out on his own when Tom subjected him to a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown until Cecilia comes to the rescue. Lampshaded by Cecilia when James offers to help her while she said he can't either when visiting her at the mental hospital for the criminally insane in a Missing Trailer Scene or at the police station after clearing her name of her sister's murder and other misdeeds committed by Adrian near the end of film.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He's a police detective who willingly provided aid to Cecilia with shelter and even still show some compassion towards her despite being the only prime suspect for Adrian's crimes while she was incarcerated and instead blames himself for Cecilia to end up this way. He also let Cecilia's revenge killing of Adrian slide despite knowing it's a crime of lawless vigilantism.
  • Secret Keeper: By the end, he is the only one aware of the invisibility issue and the fact that Cecilia murdered Adrian herself.

    Sydney Lanier 

Sydney Lanier

Performed by: Storm Reid
James' teenage daughter.
  • Nice Girl: She's a young girl who wants to become a fashion designer.

    Tom Griffin 

Tom Griffin

Performed by: Michael Dorman
"[Adrian] needs you, because you don't need him."
Adrian's brother, and a lawyer.
  • Adaptation Name Change: From Thomas Marvel to Thomas "Tom" Griffin.
  • Adaptational Job Change: In the novel, Thomas Marvel was a homeless man-turned-inkeeper and tourist trap owner. Tom is a lawyer.
  • Amoral Attorney: He acts as Adrian's lawyer and turns out to be as morally bankrupt as him, having no scruples over psychologically torturing an innocent woman to the point of near insanity or even murdering a teenage girl.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Despite appearing sympathetic toward Cecilia, Tom is just as manipulative as his brother. She even calls him on it, deeming him "like [his] brother but without the spine".
  • Cain and Abel: He reveals that Adrian controlled and abused him the same way he did Cecilia, making him the Abel to Adrian's Cain. It gets subverted later on, when he turns out to be in cahoots with Adrian.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Thanks to his invisibility suit, James can't even get a hit on Tom before he's utterly beaten into a bloody pulp. Tom receives one in turn when Cecilia highlights his body with a fire extinguisher, then fills him full of lead.
  • Dirty Coward: He's reliant on Adrian's wealth to stay afloat, which allows Adrian to use him as a pawn in his scheme. Tom doesn't have the spine to stand up to Adrian and sides with him, regardless of the torment his brother inflicts on others. Cecilia even calls him this to his face.
  • The Dragon: He's in on Adrian's plot to torment Cecilia. After Adrian frames her for the murder of Emily, he's the one to relay the option of getting back together with him in exchange for her freedom and is later sent to kill Sydney at Adrian's behest for Cecilia's defiance.
  • Fall Guy: Once Cecilia shoots him dead, the police conclude he was the one in the suit all along. However, Cecilia rightly deduces that he was only in the suit for the attack on Sydney and James, and that Adrian intended to pin the entire thing on him to get off scot free. It almost works.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: He comes off as a sleazy lawyer, but makes the excuse Adrian had dominated him since childhood. Turns out he's just a slimy, spineless creep willing to murder a teenage girl in his brother's schemes.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Because James can't see him in the suit, Tom absolutely pummels him into an unconscious, bloody mess.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Griffin's accomplice in the book is reinvented as his brother.
  • Would Hurt a Child: He has no qualms with attempting to murder Sydney, a young teenager who was close to Cecilia, on Adrian's orders.

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