Monday, January 14, 2013

He's NOT a Magnificent Bastard?

                    George C. Scott as Patton immortalizing the term "Magnificent Bastard."

I've covered what a Complete Monster truly is, which villains I think of as Complete Monsters, which villains who've been labeled as such are NOT Complete Monsters, and why Complete Monster is the worst, most mishandled trope ever on TV Tropes. But there's another trope which used to hold that honor, and that trope is Magnificent Bastard. Now to me, it's easy to understand what a Magnificent Bastard is. Seeing as the name of this title is made up of a compliment ("magnificent") and an insult ("bastard"), it's used to define keen-minded, uber efficient antagonists whom you love to hate and hate to love: one whom the audience and characters are against, but have a grudging admiration and reverence or respect for at the same time. However, for most Tropers, the definition was just really unclear. So these foolish people kept on adding the label to A: their favorite villains, B: any cool and badass villain, C: any smart and competent villain, or D: any character who was like totally awesome. It was mess, much like Complete Monster is nowadays. Magnificent Bastard was a definitive good trope: a trope that fans viewed as a badge of honor for the characters and series that they were fans of. Which cheapened it a great deal. A Magnificent Bastard should not be just any awesome villain, any smart, competent, manipulative Chessmaster, or especially any great character period. This type of character is supposed to be a mix of several competent antagonist tropes but with a special style, flare and charisma about him/her that makes him/her worthy of a "magnificent" label. The "magnificent" part is meant to signify awed and impressed feelings about the smart efficiency and stylish audacity of the bastard's...well, bastardry, coupled with audience enjoyment, grudging respect, and even some admiration depending on the bastard in question. It's not a headscratcher!

The official TV Tropes definition is this: If there was ever a character that deserved to be called “Magnificent”, that character is the Magnificent Bastard. The Magnificent Bastard is what happens when you combine the Chessmaster, the Trickster, and the Manipulative Bastard (a bit of Large Ham is optional): bold, charismatic, independent, and audacious. Capturing the audience with his charisma, incredible intellect, mastery of manipulation, and boldness of action, this character is a show-stealer, demanding your reverence at every turn. The term "Magnificent Bastard" was first used by General Patton in reference to Erwin Rommel in the film "Patton", upon realizing that he was facing a man who literally wrote the book on deceptive warfare. It acquired its current meaning courtesy of Lionel Luthor of "Smallville", who was given this nickname by the fanbase.
So what makes a character a Magnificent Bastard? Let's break it down:
  • He is brilliant and utterly devious, to an almost breathtaking, mind-boggling degree. Call it genius, call it virtual omniscience, but he always seems to know what everyone else is planning at any given moment, and exactly how to arrange the game so he wins.
  • He is a smooth operator. He always knows exactly what to say to position you where he wants you, always has a backup strategy and rarely loses his cool. Even if on the remote chance something happens that wasn't in his plans, you'd never know it.
  • He has a goal, he's not going to stop until he's completed it. To that end he will do almost anything. He'll move heaven and hell, and we want to see him do it! Despite his choice of tactics, he is rarely pointlessly cruel, and has reason for everything he does.
  • He is charismatic, often charming, his personality like a physical force. People tend to like him, sometimes even when they know he isn't on their side, and even those who hate his guts have to admit respect. Even when at his darkest, he has traits which one can't help but admire. This goes for characters in-universe and audience members out of it.
  • They are savvy. They do not fall for obvious traps, release the Sealed Evil in a Can or negotiate a Deal with the Devil before having devised The Plan to deal with it. Bringing them down is a long process of getting them cornered, although sometimes it is abrupt and played for shock value to show someone's awesomeness by comparison. Heaven help you if you do manage to trick them.
  • They detest usurpers of their power. Intensely. Anyone under their charge who even thinks of toying with them, competing with them, or going behind their back will learn quickly that Failure Is the Only Option. As far as the Magnificent Bastard is concerned, they have a full-fledged patent, copyright and trademark on the word "evil", and they live for reminding their entire circle of minions and thugs who is in charge. Those who can't handle it might as well team up with the good guys, because they'll probably die at the Magnificent Bastard's hands anyway.
  • They are Audacious beyond belief. Probably the biggest thing that sets the Magnificent Bastard apart from your average Chessmaster or Manipulative Bastard is their ability to set themselves goals that seem suicidally over-ambitious yet succeed with style. If everything goes exactly to plan, they don't just succeed in this outlandish goal, they do so in a way that leaves their foes screaming the Magnificent Bastard's name at the sky.
  • They are definitely not Dirty Cowards. If they have to fight, they can and they will. f they are skilled in hand-to-hand combat, they may deliberately choose to save that as their last-ditch "Plan Z" effort - only to be implemented after Plans A-Y have failed. If they are skilled in psychologically exploiting the heroes' vulnerabilities, they will use that as a weapon, too - without mercy. When they fight, they fight with precision and purpose. If it's their last stand, they will pull out all the stops. Ultimately, if anything can be said about how the Magnificent Bastard carries an endgame, it can only be described as nothing short of a breathtaking showstopper.
Other common aspects of a Magnificent Bastard include being a Large Ham, a Sharp Dressed Man of Wealth and Taste, Wicked Cultured, Crazy Awesome, and Dangerously Genre Savvy.
A key difference that separates the Magnificent Bastard from other character tropes like the mere Manipulative Bastard or The Chessmaster is the Bastard's willingness to step onto the playing field in person. The risks are obvious, but the strategic advantages are numerous.

While usually an antagonist, especially if he's the Big Bad, the Magnificent Bastard can be aligned on either side of a conflict. Hell, he's so amazing he tends to forgo the idea of good and evil all together, instead following his own agenda, choosing to aid whichever side will further his own goals. However, it's true that his penchant for manipulation at the expense of others means it's common for him to be a Villain, Villain Protagonist, or at least an Anti Hero, but heroic examples exist. Either way, he's almost always in charge of whatever organization he's involved with, or might as well be.

Aside from all the various aspects which come together to define the Magnificent Bastard, compare and contrast the Smug Snake, who may once have been a Magnificent Bastard in the making but fell short due to his own arrogance. When a villainous Magnificent Bastard becomes so over the top that he is no longer believable, then he becomes a Villain Sue. Also compare the Guile Hero, who uses cleverness, trickery and manipulation but lacks the flair and depth of-planning to elevate him to Magnificent Bastard status. Despite the term, he is not likely to be a Bastard Bastard, thanks to that person's inherent daddy issues, but there's nothing preventing him either.

Bonus points if at one point he or she (more commonly he) offers the enemy a Xanatos Gambit choice, and gives a Psychotic Smirk or Slasher Smile.

Rarely a Complete Monster, because audiences are likely to find it harder to admire such a character, but some bastards are so magnificent that they can get around this. Being a Smug Snake is a common trait of bastards trying to be magnificent.

With all that said, let me look through fiction to see whom I consider to be Magnificent Bastards:
* - Indicates bastards whose magnificence might be arguable or vary, but still have enough style and ingenuity to be solid contenders.

Disney Animated: Maleficent, Shere Khan, Professor Ratigan*, Ursula*, Jafar*, Scar*, Hades*,
Long John Silver, Dr. Facilier*, Mother Gothel*, King Candy/Turbo*, Prince Hans*. Varian*, and Obake

Disney Spin-off: The Evil Manta, Mozenrath*, Zira*, Renard Dumont, and the Phantom Blot*

Disney Live: Mr. Dark, Kalabar II, Royal Pain, Ramsley, Jack Sparrow, and Hector Barbossa

Pixar: Henry J Waternoose*, Anton Ego*, Lotso Huggin' Bear*, and Ernesto de la Cruz*

Lord Of The Rings: Sauron, Celebrimbor, Glaurung, and Smaug (Film Version)

Star Wars: Darth Sidious/Sheev Palpatine, Count Dooku, Hondo Ohnaka, Darth Maul, Barriss Offee, Darth Vader*, Grand Moff Tarkin*, Grand Admiral Thrawn, Lando Calrissian*, and DJ
EU:  Boba Fett, Prince Xizor, Tyler Zann, Darth Revan, Kreia, Nom Anor, HK-50 and GO-TO

Kingdom Hearts: Xehanort, Maleficent, Hades*, Axel, and Marluxia

Harry Potter: Tom Marvolo Riddle, Barty Crouch Jr., Severus Snape, and Albus Dumbledore

Chronicles Of Narnia: King Miraz and Lord Sopespian (Film Versions)

Pokemon: Giovanni, Mewtwo, Cyrus, Colress, Ein, Greevil*, Dusknoir, Darkrai, Butler, TR (BW)*, Green, Pryce/Mask of Ice, and Ghetsis (Manga)*  New Pokemon: Oda Nobunaga,, Lysandre*, Malva*, and Lusamine

Avatar: Princess Azula, Amon/Noatak, Varrick & Zhu Li*, and Kuvira

Batman: The Joker, the Penguin*, the Riddler*, Ras Al Ghul, Talia Al Ghul*, Bane, Catwoman, Hush*, Lady Shiva, Professor Hugo Strange, Anarky, Owlman, Derek Powers and Paxton Powers

DragonBall: King Piccolo, Vegeta, Cell, Paragus*, Super Buu*, Zamasu*, Freeza*, and Demigra

Super Mario: Dimentio and Bowser*

The Legend Of Zelda: Ganondorf, Yuga, Princess Hilda, and Lana

Spider-Man: Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin (sometimes), Roderick Kingsley/The Hobgoblin,
Doctor Octopus*, Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin, and L. Thompson Lincoln/Tombstone/"The Big Man"

Gargoyles: David Xanatos, Fox, Thailog, Owen Burnett/Puck, and John Castaway*

Yu-Gi-Oh!: Yami Bakura, Maximilian Pegasus, Seto Kaiba*, Dartz*, Amnael*, Sartorius Kumar, Yubel, Rex Goodwin, Z-One, Vector, Leo Akaba*, Declan Akaba, Dennis Mackfield, and Jean-Michael Roger*

Digimon: Devimon, Myotismon, Diabolomon, Yukio Oikawa, Daemon, Catsuramon, Mephistomon, Lucemon*, Murmuskmon, AxeKnightmon, Ryouma Mogami*, Quartzmon*, and Millenniummon

Superman: Lionel Luthor, Lex Luthor (sometimes), Brainiac, General Zod, the Prankster, and Darkseid

Final Fantasy: Garland, The Emperor, Kefka Palazzo, Sephiroth, Rufus Shinra, Kuja*, Yunalesca*, Seymour Guado*, Delia Heiral, Vayne Solidor, Barthandelus, Caius Ballard, Ardyn Izunia, and Cid

Sonic The Hedgehog: Dr. Finitevus*, Mammoth Mogul*, Ixis Naugus*, Dr. Ivo Robotnik *(sometimes), Metal Sonic (Sonic Heroes), Merlina, and Shadow The Hedgehog*

Where Is Carmen Sandiego?: Carmen Sandiego and Dr. Maelstrom

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Gendo Ikari and Kaworu Nagisa/Tabris*

Hey Arnold: La Sombra

DuckTales: Arpin Lusene

Darkwing Duck: Taurus Bulba

Death Note: Light Yagami/Kira* and L?*

Teen Titans: Slade (Season 3-4), Red X*, and The Brain*

The Powerpuff Girls: Mojo Jojo, Him*, and Gnomey

Jim Henson: Jareth the Goblin King and Long John Silver

Slayers: Rezo the Red Priest*, Xellos Metallium, Hellmaster Phibrizzo*, Jillas, and Valgaav*

Yu Yu Hakusho: Suzaku*, Sakyo, Yoko Kurama, Younger Toguro, and Shinobu/Minoru Sensui

One Piece: Sir Crocodile, Rob Lucci, Trafalgar Law, Vice Admiral Johnathan, Donquixote Doflamingo, Marshall D. Teach/Blackbeard, and Buggy the Clown

Haruhi Suzumiya: Haruhi Suzumiya*(sometimes) and Ryoko Asakura

Sailor Moon: Kunzite, Professor Tomoe, Cele Cele*, and Sailor Galaxia

Blade Of The Immortal: Anotsu Kagehisa and Habaki Kagimura

Black Butler: Claude, Lau, Hannah, and Ciel Phantomhive

Black Lagoon: Balalaika, Chang, Eda, and Rock and Revy?

Bleach: Sosuke Aizen (SS Saga), Mayuri*, and Yhwach

Naruto: Kabuto, Itachi Uchiha*, and Madara Uchiha*

Legend Of Galactic Heroes: Adrian Rubinsky and Paul von Oberstein

Case Closed: Ano Kata, Gin/Melkior, Dr. Narumi/Seiji, and Phantom Thief Kaito Kid

Code Geass: Lelouch, Schniezel, Cornelia, Emperor Charles*, Empress Marianne*, and C.C

Full Metal Alchemist: Zolf J. Kimbley, Father, Wrath, Roy Mustang, and General Grumman

Future Diary: Yuno Gasai, MurMur, Keigo Kurusu, Minene Uryu, John Bacchus, and Aru Akise*

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Dio Brando, Kars, Funny Valentine, Yoshikage Kira, and Enrico Pucci

Ouran Highs School Host Club: Kyouya, Tamaki*, the Twins, and the Lobelia Zuka Club*

Pandora Hearts: Vincent Nightray, Xerxes Break, Glen Baskerville, and Jack Vessalius

Psycho-Pass: Shogo Makishima

Romeo X Juliet: Lord Montague

Rurouni Kenshin: Makoto Shishio

Record Of Lodoss War: Ashram and Karla

Revolutionary Girl Utena: Akio Ohtori

Rave Master: Pumpkin Dohryu*

The Sacred Seven: Dr. Kenmi

Studio Ghibli: Lady Eboshi

Tenchi Muyo: Kagato

Tokyo ESP: Professor

Monster: Johan Liebert

ERASED: Gaku Yashiro

Ergo Proxy: Proxy One

Eureka 7: Dewey Novak

Eyeshield 21: Yoichi Hiruma

Fist Of The North Star: Rao

Gankutsuou: Edmond Dantes/The Count Of Monte Cristo

Gundam: Char Aznable, Kycilla Zabi, Paptimus Scirocco, Haman Khan, Tassilo Vago, Master Asia, Wong Yun Fat, Major Ulube, Trieze Kushedera, Rau Le Creuset, Gilbert Durandal, Lacus Clyne*, Aeolia Schenberg, Ribbons Almark *(not!),  Guin Sard Lineford, Flit Asuno*, Rustal Elion, and ohters

Ao No Fujin: Takao

Bakugan: Mag Mel

Berserk: Sir Griffith*

Black Cover: Patry/Licht

Claymore: King Isley

Devilman: Ryo Asuka

Dinosaur King: Seth

Duel Masters: Kokujo and the Choten

Fairy Tail: Future Rogue and Zeref

Attack On Titan: Erwin Smith

Hajime No Ippo: Miguel Zail

Hunter X Hunter: Crhollo Lucifer

Jormungand: Koko Hekmatyar

Killing Bites: Reiichi Shidoh

Nisekoi: Adelt Wogner Kirisaki*

Outlaw Star: Ron MacDougal

Puella Magi: Kyubey and Oriko

Shut Hell: Genghis Khan

Mon Colle Knights: Redda

20th Century Boys: Friend

Ranma 1/2: Nabiki Tendo*

Toradora: Ami Kawashima*

Blood -C: Fumito Nanahara

D Gray Man: D. Campbell

Darker Than Black: Amber

Durarara: Izaya Orihara

FLCL: Haruko Haruhara

Fruits Basket: Shigure

Fushigi Yuugi: Nakago

Golgo 13: Duke Togo

Elfen Lied: Director Kakuzawa

Heat Guy J: Lorenzo Leonelli

Hellsing: The Major*

Inu-Yasha: Naraku*

Jackals: Lee Meilang

Mai_me: Nagi Homura*

Noragami: Yato's Father

Scry-Ed: Martin Jigmarl

Sgt. Frog: Dark Momoka

Seven Mortal Sins: Lucifer

Shaman King: Hao Asakura

Soul Eater: Medusa Gorgon

Star Driver: Kanako Watanabe

Speed Grapher: Chouji Suitengou

St. Seiya: Saga, Shaka, and Radam

Sword Art Online: Akihiko Kayaba

Akame ga Kill: Esdeath and Seryu

Divergence Eve: Jean-Luc Leblanc

Date A Live: Sir Isaac Ray Westcott

Higurashi: Miyo Takano and Shion Sonozaki

Kindachi Case Files: The Gentleman Thief

Kill la Kill: Satsuki Kiryuin and Nui Harime

Lupin III: Arsene Lupin and Fujiko Mine

Macross Frontier: Dr. Grace O' Connor

Magi, The Labyrinth Of Magic: Sinbad

My Hero Academia: Sensei/All For One

Soul Hunter: Shinkohyou and Chou Komei

Space Battleship Yamato: Albelt Dessler

Dance In The Vampire Bund: Alphonse de Borgiani

Fate/Stay Night: Kirei Kotomine, Archer, and Caster

Mahaou Sensei Negima: Dynamis and Haruna Satome

Katekyo Hitman Reborn: Byakuran and Daemon Spade

Lone Wolf And Cub: Ogami Itto and Yagyu Retsudo

Penguindrum: Masako Natsume and Sanetoshi Watase

Rosario To Vampire: Hokuto Kaneshiro and Alucard

Shakugan no Shana: Bel Peol and the God Of Creation

Trigun: Legato Bluesummers, Millions Knives, and Gallon Getaway

Tokyo Ghoul: Nimura Furuta, One-Eyed Owl, and the Clown Gang

Tommorows Nadja: Rosemary Applefield and Duke Preminger

Umineko: Bernkastel, Beatrice, and Lambdadelta

Vinland Saga: Askeladd Olafson

Yami No Matsuei: Dr. Muraki *(not!)

Zatch Bell: Zeno Bell and Wiseman

Goosebumps: The Masked Mutant

Hannibal Series: Hannibal Lecter

Twilight: Aro of the Volturi *(Film version)

The Queen's Thief: Eugendes and Atotlia Irene

Redwall: Ferahgo the Assassin and Ruggan Bor

Stephen King: Randall Flagg and Leland Gaunt

Star Trek: Khan Noonien Singh, Kruge, Chang, Elim Garak, Gul Dukat, Seska, and Q

The Hunger Games: President Snow*, Caesar Flickerman, Plutarch Havensbee, and Foxface*(?)

Game Of Thrones: Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, Lord Varys, Tyrion Lannister, Tywin Lannister,
Roose Bolton, Doran Martell, Wymen Manderly, Oleynna Tyrell, Margaery Tyrell, Alayne Stone,
Mirri Maz Durr, Xaro Xhoan Daxos*, the High Sparrow, Arya Stark, and Daenerys Targaryan* (somewhat)

Shakespeare: Iago, Claudius, Richard III, Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, Octavius/Caesar Augustus, Aaron the Moor, Petruchio, Edmund, Falstaff, Lady Macbeth*, the Three Witches, Titus, and others

Buffy: Angelus, Spike, Ethan Rayne, the Mayor, Darla, Lindsay McDonald, Lilah Morgan, and Holtz

Once Upon A Time: Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold, Regina Mills*, Cora, Peter Pan, Ingrid, and Hades

Fire Emblem: Jedah, Rudolf, Arvis, Zephiel, Naesela, Lekain, Caellach, Manfroy, Sephiran, Zelgius, and Walhart the Conqueror

Ace Attorney: Manfred Von Karma, Kristoph Gavin, Matt Engrade, Luke Atmey, and Calisto Yew

Assassin's Creed: Robert DeSable, Haytham Kenway, and Franciose Germaine

Castlevania: Dracula, Death, Mathias Crongvist, Celia Fortner, and Dmtri Blinov

Call Of Duty: Raul Menendez and General Hershel von Shepard

Baldur's Gate: Amelssian, Jon Irencius, Bhaal, and Sarevok

Kirby Series: Meta Knight, Marx, Magolor, and Yin-Yarn

Metal Gear: Revolver Ocelot, Big Boss, and Steven Armstrong

Mega Man: Dr. Wily, Spider, Albert & Thomas, and Mr. King

Mass Effect: Illusive Man, Monrtih, Aria, and the Sovereign

Suokiden: Albert Silverberg, Jowy Atreides, Shu, and Luc

The Witcher: Emhyr, Jacques, Letho, and Gaunter O'Dimm

Blaz Blue: Relius Clover, Yuuki Terumi, and Rachel Alucard

Borderlands: Handsome Jack

Bravely Default: Konoe Kikyo

Resident Evil: Albert Wesker*

Sly Cooper: Constapple Neyla

Street Fighter: M. Bison

System Shock: SHODAN

Team Fortress: The Spy

Thief: Garrett

.Hack: Ovan

Portal: GLaDOS

Odin Sphere: Ingway

For Honor: Apollyon

Dead Rising: Tyrone King

Dragon Age: Solas/Fen'Harel

God Of War: Zeus and Hera

Guilty Gear: Asuka R. Kreutz

Kid Icarus: Hades and Dark Pit

Metroid: Ridley and Dark Samus

Jade Empire: Master Sun Li and Sir Roderick

Jak Series: Metal Kor, Count Veger, and Rayn

Lunar: The Silver Star: Emperor Ghaleon

BioShock: Frank Fontaine and Andrew Ryan

Dragon Quest: Orgodemir and Marcello*

Dishonored: Daud and Delilah Cooperson

Disgaea: Etna and Seraph Lamington

Devil May Cry: Arkham

Legacy Of Kain: Kain

Max Payne: Vladimir Lem

Pony Island: Asmodeus.exe

Brutal Legend: Doviculus

Command & Conquer: Kane

Fatal Fury: Geese Howard

Tales Of Legendia: Maurits*

Tales Of The Abyss: Jade Curtissand Anise Tatlin*

Dangan Ronpa: Junko Enoshima and others*

Doki Doki Literature Club: Monika

Fallout: Ulysses and Robert E. House

Grand Theft Auto: Mike Toreno

RosenkreuzStillete: Iris Sepperin

Super Smash Bros: Master Hand

Valkyria Chronicles: Maximilian

Vampire: The Masquerade: Smiling Jack

Xenoblade: Egil, Amalthus and Malos

Xenogears: Krelian and Miang

Xenosaga: Albedo and Wilhelm

The World Ends With You: Joshua, Kitaniji*, and Mr. H

Warcraft: Darkuru, Loken, Kil'jaeden, and Deathwing

Watchmen: Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias

V For Vendetta: V

X-Men: Magneto, Mystique*, Mr. Sinister, Apocalypse*, Bolivar Trask, and Sebastian Shaw

DC: Lucifer Morningstar, Sinestro, Zoom, Tao, Prometheus, Vril Drox II, Edwin Alva, Amanda Waller, Wade Eiling, Maxwell Lord, John Constantine, Black Manta, Trickster, Satanus, Vandal Savage, etc.

Marvel: Loki, Doctor Doom, Thanos of Titan, Obadiah Stane, the Mandarin, Kang the Conqueror, Namor the Submariner, Bruce Banner*, Bomb Queen, Baron Zemo, Romulus, Daken, Deadpool*etc.

Adventure Time: Marceline/Marshall Lee

The Boondocks: Ed Wuncler Sr. and Rollo Goodlove

Captain Planet: Looten Plunder*

Class Of The Titans: Cronus

Danny Phantom: Vlad Masters*

Gravity Falls: Bill Cipher

Hot Wheels BF5: Kalus

Invader ZIM: TAK and ZIM *(sometimes)

Jonny Quest: Doctor Zin*

Jimmy Two-Shoes: Heloise

Men in Black: Agent Alpha

Motorcity: Abraham Kane

Roswell Conspiracies: Wraith

Rick & Morty: Rick Sanchez and Evil Morty

Archer: Lana Kane and Malory Archer

Alfred J. Kwak: Dolf

Belphegor: Belphegor

Code Lyoko: XANA

Cyber Chase: Ledge

Dan VS: Impostor Dan

Dilbert: Dogbert

Reboot: Megabyte

Samurai Jack: Aku*

Sin City: Dwight McCarthy

Steven Universe: Navy Ruby*

South Park: Lennart Bedrager

SWAT Kats: Ulysses C. Feral*

The Secret Saturdays: VV Argost

TRON Uprising: General Tesler and Cyrus

Star Vs The Forces Of Evil: Toffee of Septarsis

Scooby Doo: Ben Ravencroft, Professor Pericles, and MI Fred Jones*(somewhat)

Thundercats (2011): Mumm-Ra* and Rataro

Transformers: Megatron and Shockwave

G.I. Joe: Cobra Commander(sometimes)

Huntik: Secrets and Seekers: Rassimov

Voltron Legendary Defender: Prince Lotor

Gaitar And The Golden Lance: Rava

Jackie Chan Adventures: Valmont

Xiaolin Showdown: Chase Young

Total Drama: Alejandro and Heather*

The Loud House: Luan Loud (On April 1)

The Simpsons: Malloy, Hank Scorpio, and Sideshow Bob*

The Venture Bros: Monstroso and Dr. Henry Killinger and the Monarch!?

Ben 10: Vilgax*, Zs'kayr, Aggregor*, Princess Attea, and Proctor Servantis

Generator Rex: Van Kleiss* and Black Knight and Caezar Salazar?

Kung Fu Panda: Lord Shen, Heilang, and Master Junjie

Dragons Of Berk: Alvin the Treacherous and Viggo Grimborn

My Little Pony: Discord, Queen Chrysalis, Lord Tirek, and Adagio Dazzle

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Ch'rell/The Shredder* and Agent Bishop

W.I.T.C.H: Nerissa*, Prince Phobos*(sometimes), Shagon the Hate, and Will Vandom*(somewhat)

Non-Disney Animation: Hexxus*, Mok Swagger*, Chief Tannabok, Don Lino, Pitch Black*, Skipper, Dr. Blowhole, Megamind, Dag, Soto, Captain Gutt, Xibalba, King Chichack, Jenner, Warren T Rat, etc.

Literature: Count Dracula, James Moriarty, Artemis Fowl, Senna Wales, Morgan LeFey, Odysseus, Dr. Fu Manchu, Long John Silver, Fagin, Valmont and Metruiel, Saint Dane, Kronos, Lord Vetinari, etc.

Live TV: JR Ewing, Jim Moriarty, Dexter Morgan, Alfred Bester, Londo Moralli, Morden, Sheridan, Morgan Pendragon, the Master, John Hart, Azrael, Don Draper, Alex Russo, Sylar, Mr. Linderman, Noah Bennett, Nathan Petrelli, Angela Petrelli, Ben Linus, Sherry Palmer, King Silas, Adelle Dewit, Lord Ba'al, Gaius Baltar, Cain, Crowley, Ryan O'Ryley, Percy, Arnold Rothstein, Gustavo Fring, etc.

Film: Addison De Witt, Matai Shang, Graham Marshall, Tony Wendice, Harry Lime, Bill Cutting, Daniel Plainview, Bill, Hans Gruber, Simon Gruber, Bill Daggett, Norman Stansfield, Agent Smith, Merovingian, Jackie Brown, Dalton Russel, Rotti Largo, Hayley Stark, Gordon Gekko, Mr. White, FrankNFurter, Hans Landa, Ian Howe, John Shields, Andy Dufrene, Vito Corleone, Peyton Flanders, Jason Bourne, Calvin Candie, the Man With No Name, Sweeney Todd, Mike Wilson, Sarone, Herod, James Hook, Freddy Krueger, Catherine Tramell, Lord Summerisle, Keyzer Soze, Vincent Price, etc.

There are actually a lot more examples in TV, Film and Literature, but I don't need to list all. For any other villains I missed, it's worth remembering to run them through the Magnificent Bastard criteria test. If more than one criteria isn't met, then the villain is not this trope. But these guys that I have listed here I feel most definitely are, so this here's a tribute to some of fictions' greatest bastards.


  1. I never saw Dag and Don Lino as Magnificent Bastards really, but I do think they were cool villains in otherwise mediocre films. I remember in the Noughties, how most animated villains were pretty goofy and non-threatening, there were otherwise good serious villains like Syndrome, Tai Lung and AUTO and some comedic villains worked like the Fairy Godmother from Shrek 2 and Bowler Hat Guy from Meet the Robinsons, but Dad and Don Lino felt like they belonged in better films.

    Dag seemed less like a meat-eating predator and more like the kind of predator Chris Hansen used to put away, only more sadistic. He was intimidating in both his dialogue and design, which, credit where it's due, didn't clash with the other characters and he seemed like a legitimate threat to the animals.

    Don Lino had a character arc that I didn't necessarily agree with, because he was rather prejudiced towards Lenny, but it was believable and sympathetic. It honestly made me wish the movie was about the sharks, the Godfather jokes were lame, but they were better than half the crap that Oscar came out with. How cool would it have been if Shark Tale was about another gang of sharks or orcas muscling in on Don Lino's territory, Frankie is killed and Lenny has to lead the sharks while still maintaining his vegetarianism. Not to toot my own horn, but you could have had a decent dramatic DreamWorks predating Kung-Fu Panda and How To Train Your Dragon, but nope, we get Oscar, who's such a parody of Will Smith, I wonder if they actually watched Will Smith's work.

    1. I think that's why they can be seen as magnificent in their bastardry - it feels out of the realms of their work's tones and narratives and livens up otherwise lackluster works. Don Lino in particular shows some magnificence purely due to Robert DeNiro's voice and his suave, smart, organized yet still emotional mob boss demeanor. And I agree, I HATED Oscar and his plot - the shark mafia concept and the relationships within Lino's family was my big takeaway from that movie. If it had been the focus, maybe Shark Tale wouldn't have sucked as badly.

  2. I questioned Anton Ego being a Magnificent Bastard, but then I watched the film again a few weeks ago and I noticed that there was some subtle magnificence and bastardy to how he approaches his job as a critic. The best instance is the "perspective" line, it's clear that he's trying to pull the rug out from under them and throw them out of their comfort zone and he's relishing it; he admits in his review that critics "enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and themselves to [[their]] judgment" and they "thrive on negative criticism which is fun to write and to read" and it's clear in that moment, he's enjoying that position very much. It's possible that this is could be what led to Gusteau's downfall, he went in not taking Ego seriously, Ego pulled a similar technique which threw Gusteau off guard and didn't perform to his standards which led to the bad review. Yeah, that's probably bullcrap, but from what we see of Ego, it's not beyond possibility.

    I think what stops Ego from being an entirely Magnificent Bastard is that his standards seem unhealthily high with no real idea what his goal is so the extent of his bastardy seems pretty self-defeating. It's not like Ben Ravencroft and Professor Pericles where their goal ultimately defeated them, for all his want of perspective, he doesn't know what he actually wants, when he tastes Remy's ratatouille, he's at a loss for words.

    P.S. Just asking, is the Mr. White in the Film section from the recent James Bond films?

    1. Plus there's no denying that Ego just went all out in giving this sort of villainous flare and style to a position (food critic) that really doesn't warrant it - he just feels like coming off as villainous because he can get away with it given his prestige and reputation, not to mention how generally intimidating he is. And how absolute in his convictions he is too. When your bad review is so scathing and yet also rings so true due to the passion and conviction behind it that it leads to the death of the chef being critiqued, you get some serious Magnificent Bastardry points.

      Yeah, I think that;s him.