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8 Movies Where The Bad Guys Win

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Silence of the Lambs image
Orion Pictures

When watching movies, we normally know where it’s going to end, the bad guy is going to lose, and the good guys win right? Well, not all the time… There are, on occasion, films where the bad guys finish out on top. Granted some of these motion pictures are in the middle of franchises giving scope for more additions to come. But even in franchises, we’re used to the writers and creators making sure the endings are tied up as much as possible and that the hero is the one still in control. If you fancy a little change of pace with your films, below is a list of eight movies for you where the bad guys win.

SPOILERS Be warned if you read on. We might turn out to be the bad guys as there are spoilers ahead.

THE FRANCHISE MOVIES

1. Avengers: Infinity War

One of the biggest cliffhangers of recent years has to be the end of Infinity War. The moment Thanos (Josh Brolin) put the final infinity stone in the gauntlet, teased Thor (Chris Hemsworth) for a minute, then snapped his fingers. Fans knew they were in for a long excitable wait before Avengers: Endgame. Which lived up to all its expectations, unlike some final franchise films.

Having one of our beloved Marvel movies end with the antagonist winning, was probably one of the smartest plot lines for the studios. Normally as fans, we’re used to the bad guy winning a few battles within a feature to add suspense. But never really has one won the war. Even in other films where we know there is going to be a sequel, there’s always some kind of good guy wrap up to ease the viewer into knowing things are going to be ok. But, with the Avengers we couldn’t be sure as this ending really cemented to viewers that whatever was to come in Endgame, the Avengers part of Marvel, as we knew it, would be over forever and there would be some main character losses.

2. Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire

Another Franchise of books and films which up until the fourth film, The Goblet of Fire, exercised the normality of wrapping each film up with a bow. Letting Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Herminie (Emma Watson) be crowned as the heroes. Took a dark twist at the end as it introduced the full form of ‘He who should not be named’ and the first real-time demise of a character. Yes, Harry’s parents and most of the ghosts of Hogwarts were murdered at some point, and we were told of the demise of Moaning Myrtle (Shirley Henderson), but never included in real-time and never a direct peer to Harry. The death of Cedric Diggory (Robert Pattinson) was one that shocked fans, even though he was only in one book/film.

Even though there is a small wrap up at the end of the film. And we knew Harry was safe and it seemed like he had won a small battle. The fact that Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) had been able to regenerate and ordered Peter Pettigrew to ‘Kill the Spare’. Like it was nothing not only changed the whole pace of the rest of the stories. But as Harry had to run away from Voldemort and not the other way around it does, unfortunately, mean that he won in this film.

3. The Dark Knight

Like all great Batman films, we do tend to find ourselves backing some of the villains too. One of the best things about DC Comics and films is that the bad guys can sometimes be good, and the good guys can sometimes be bad. But even when the bad guys are just pure evil like The Dark Knight’s Joker, we still find ourselves backing him and being intrigued by him. Especially when he becomes one of the main characters of the film like Heath Ledger’s version of the Joker did.

The Joker win’s this film on so many levels as he initiates so much organised chaos wherever he goes. In this film, he amps up his destruction by corrupting Heavy Dent (Aaron Eckhart). He works him into madness, bringing down Gotham’s so-called White Knight, creating a whole new unpredictable villain – Two-Face. He then starts his own murderous rampage, ending up getting killed by Batman (Christian Bale). Not wanting Joker’s intentions of showing the people of Gotham that good people can turn bad, like a flick of a switch. Batman decides to put himself forward as the murderer of Two-Face and his victims stirring up a manhunt for Batman. Which as far as I can see, gives The Joker another thing he wanted… to get Batman out the way. So the bad guy The Joker wins at the end of the film.

4. The Silence of the Lambs

When filmmakers made Thomas Harris’ psychological horror novel into a movie, viewers knew they were in for a bumpy ride. Not a fluffy ending where good wins out. Even though the ending of the book gives Clarice (Jodie Foster) a little bit of breathing space and a more closed off ending. The creators of the film gave it a little bit more of an open ending allowing for more to come.

At the end of the movie, it looks like Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) is free. He’s roaming the streets as he hangs up the phone to Clarice and starts to follow Dr Frederick Chilton (Anthony Heald). Showing that he may have the upper hand at the end of this film.

THE STAND ALONE MOVIES

5. Phone Booth

This phycological thriller kept viewers on the edge of their seats as they tried to work out who The Caller and mass-murdering sniper was.

Even the creators of the film wanted to keep the identity of the actor playing the caller a secret. All so no one would know until the end. So much so that they didn’t even put any of the actor’s pictures in the posters or trailers for the movie, until its release on video and DVD. This also helped to keep the plot line a secret until the end of the film where we find out that the Police had got the wrong guy at the end and in fact, The Caller (Kiefer Sutherland) managed to walk away scot-free. Even giving Stu Shepard (Colin Farrell) some parting words as he walks past the ambulance where Shepard was sitting with a rifle case in hand.

6. Seven

One of the biggest film shock endings in the ’90s (next to The Sixth Sense) was Seven. Serial killer John Doe (Kevin Spacy) got the last word in. He had quite a gruesome present for Somerset (Morgan Freeman) and Mills (Brad Pitt) at the end of the film, presenting them with the head of Mills wife Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow) in a box. Finishing off his seven deadly sins killing spree by admitting his envy of Mills’ life and making Mills kill him in a fit of wrath.


Mills might have killed him, but John Doe still managed to finish what he started.

7. Basic Instinct

This film is probably more known for its provocative scenes. One in particular which has been parodied over and over! But it’s also a film where the bad woman wins. Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) is under suspicion of killing her famous boyfriend, with an ice pick. Tramell then writes a novel about it as a strange form of an alibi.

When Detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) comes to investigate her, he ends up falling for her, not long before he finds out she is writing a new book; one about a woman killing her Detective lover.

All the signs are there but for some reason hoodwinked by a pretty face and a bit of crotch flashing Nick finds himself at the mercy of Catherine and let’s face it we all know what happens there, especially when we see the ice pick under the bed.

8. Fight Club

So this one could be more of a tie! We’ve got another Brad Pitt film to finish off the list, this time but he is the antagonist in this story. Fight Club which is full of twists and turns was never going to have a fairy tale ending whichever way we look at it. And even though at the end it was perceived that the Narrator (Edward Norton) may have killed Tyler Durden (Pitt). It was all the same person on the crime and fighting spree, to begin with. So, if you think about it, does Tyler lose? Of course, he didn’t, the buildings still came down and there will always be a part of Tyler inside the Narrator.


So, that’s the list of eight movies where the bad guys win. If you think there were any more films worthy of this list, let us know in the comments below.


Check out the movies with the longest gap before their sequels HERE.

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Movie News

Disney’s Cruella – Review

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Cruella Emma Stone image
Walt Disney Studios

I went into Cruella with one question: “what led Cruella De Vil to want to skin puppies for a fur coat?” And while I left the theatre happy… and with the strong urge to buy a new wardrobe, that question was never answered. While I thoroughly enjoyed the new Disney remake, I have to admit that the film is better when divorced from the source material. Here’s what Cruella from Disney did right, and where the spots were in our review.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this we assume you’ve seen the show but there are major spoilers coming up. You have been warned.

Summary

The film serves as an origin story to one of Disney’s most infamous villains; Cruella De Vil from the 1961 film 101 Dalmatians. The original film follows two newlywed couples; Anita and Roger, and their Dalmatians, Pongo and Perdita. After the two dogs have puppies, Cruella De Vil tries to kidnap them to make a fur coat. Cruella had actually kidnapped 101 Dalmatian puppies in total, and the two dogs rescue the canines. Roger and Anita end up adopting all 101 Dalmatians.

Cruella chronicles the villain’s childhood and rise in the fashion industry set in 1960s London. Played by Emma Stone, Cruella, whose given name is Estella, definitely had an “extreme” streak growing up. This leads her to be expelled from school, causing her and her mother to move to London. On the way there, her mother asks an “old friend” for help. This friend being her old employer The Baroness played by Emma Thompson. But The Baroness sends her Dalmatians on Estella’s mother, pushing her off a cliff and killing her. Estella thinks it was her fault but, as the dilations were chasing her after she accidentally crashed the Baroness’ fashion show. She runs away and ends up joining a little gang of thieves, composed of Jasper (Joel Fry) and Horace (Paul Walter Houser). Both of whom are her henchmen in the original film.

After getting a job at a department store and catching the attention of The Baroness, Estella begins her career in fashion. The Baroness senses her talent, and Estella becomes one of her lead designers for The Baroness’ upcoming line. But when she learns that The Baroness killed her mother, she begins plotting her revenge, embracing her cruel alter-ego Cruella. Eventually, she discovered that The Baroness is her biological mother and a serial murderer. Estella decides to fully embrace Cruella, vowing to be an even better version of her psychotic biological mother. She fakes Estella’s death and reveals The Baroness’ murderous tendencies to the public, taking over her estate.

A perfect Cruella

Emma Stone was a perfect Cruella. As Estella, she was charming and awkward. As Cruella, she embraced an over-the-top cadence and flamboyance. She gives a surprisingly heartfelt performance and makes you root for the character even when she is acting, well, cruelly. Stone made a dramatic character feel believable in the real world and seemed to be having a blast playing her. On top of Stone’s performance were the costumes. Every single outfit Estella or Cruella wore was amazing. From the subtle yet unique every-day wear of Estella to the dramatic gowns and coats of Cruella. The costumes made the character feel set apart from the world and also believable as a talented fashion designer.

…But a soft one

My only complaint with Cruella in the film was that she wasn’t mean enough. While her plans for revenge were clever and unique, they didn’t feel like they were truly followed through with. Sewing a dress with moth cocoons to eat at The Baroness’ collection was fun and unpredictable. The heist to retrieve her necklace was entertaining. But when Cruella showed up in a Dalmatian print coat, taunting the Baroness with the fear that she had skinned her dogs… I wanted her to have actually done it. Instead, she just pretended to have killed her dogs. The Cruella from 101 Dalmatians absolutely would have skinned those dogs. I don’t need Cruella De Vil to have redeeming qualities. And I don’t expect her to take the higher road.

Skinning the dogs felt like the reveal the film was leading up to. Having her just pretend to have killed them made Cruella feel like a part Estella was playing and not who she was becoming. They actually had her bond with the dogs instead, when it felt like they should have been making Cruella hate Dalmatians given her later actions. Later in the film, she apologizes to Jasper and Horace for treating them poorly, when she treats them even worse in 101 Dalmatians. She also doesn’t kill the Baroness. Instead, Cruella takes the high ground again, simply sending her to prison. Once more, Cruella De Vil does not need to be redeemable, or even an anti-hero.

Post-credit

I wanted to see her descent into madness. Into one of Disney’s most unredeemable villains; a woman who wants to turn puppies into a coat! Furthermore, in a post-credit scene, it’s revealed that Cruella was the one who gifted Pongo and Perdita to Roger and Anita. While it’s a cute callback to 101 Dalmatians, it makes absolutely no sense for Cruella to later try to skin Pongo and Perdita’s puppy. Or even to kidnap Roger and Anita’s dogs, with who she is in good standing with at the end of this movie.

Throughout the film, Anita and Cruella were seen as childhood friends and later amicable co-workers. Anita even roots for Cruella. The actions of Cruella in 101 Dalmatians don’t feel like something this version of her would do. I don’t even think they truly set her up to be a villain. More like a ruthless fashion designer. She was mean, but she wasn’t evil. Certainly not a Cruel Devil.

Final thoughts

In spite of Cruella feeling weaker than she was in the source material, the film was still lots of fun! It might be one of the best Disney remakes. Stone’s performance was nothing if not delightful, and everyone in the film seemed to be enjoying themselves. Cruella felt new and nostalgic, showcasing a plot that was engaging with touching emotional beats. It’s definitely worth a watch, and a re-watch. But it didn’t feel connected to the Cruella De Vil we were first introduced to in 1961.


What did you think of Cruella from Disney, did you agree with our review? Let us know in the comments below.


Check out our review of Pixars Soul HERE.

Read IMDb information on Cruella HERE.

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