32 Main Characters That Are The Worst Part Of Their Own Movies

Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver delivering a warning in their Na'vi forms in Avatar.
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

For starters, I am not necessarily saying that any of these movie characters are outright “bad,” nor am I trying to make a case against any of the films they lead. However, I personally believe that these characters are deeply flawed for one reason or another — either because of the way they are written, the way their respective actors portray them, or even just their moral weaknesses — and what makes matters worse is that they are supposed to the protagonists of their stories. Please bear with me as I explain my reasoning for why these characters make the movies they lead just a bit more of a struggle to follow.

Harrison Ford looks puzzled in Blade Runner: The Final Cut.

(Image credit: Warner Bros/Alcon Entertainment)

Rick Deckard (Blade Runner)

One of my all-time favorite actors is Harrison Ford who has played some of the most charming characters in cinematic history, but I do not believe Rick Deckard is one of them. Ford does not give a bad performance at all in Blade Runner, but his role — a cop assigned to “retire” artificial humans in a dystopian future — is the least interesting and likable character in Ridley Scott's 1982 film, the real hero of which is Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer), if you ask me.

Kate Winslet in Titanic

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Rose (Titanic)

On The Ringer podcast, The Rewatchables, Bill Simmons and Van Lathan spend more than 10 minutes discussing why Rose (Kate Winslet) is the worst character from James Cameron's Titanic. The spoiled socialite's unimpressed reaction to first seeing the titular ship, her reluctance to immediately explain Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) saved her life as he is being arrested, and her hogging the makeshift lifeboat (a door) that likely could have prevented Jack's death are just a few reasons.

Michael Cera in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Scott Pilgrim (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World)

Michael Cera's title character from Edgar Wright's hilarious and visually stunning 2010 comic book movie is a smug, selfish, and lazy oaf whose troubles — notably having two unassuming girlfriends at once — are no one's fault but his own. I will say, however, that a main point of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is that the protagonist is deeply flawed and, through defeating Ramona's (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) evil exes, thankfully learns to be a better person.

Kristen Stewart in Twilight

(Image credit: Lionsgate)

Bella Swan (Twilight)

It is a shame that Kristen Stewart's stint in the Twilight movies cast cursed her with an undeserving reputation for wooden acting because, in retrospect, it was clearly not her fault. In fact, you could say the future Academy Award nominee's performance as the cinematic version of Bella Swan perfectly suits the role’s astonishing lack of personality and emotional depth in a romance about vampires.

Charlie Hunnam in Pacific Rim

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Raleigh Beckett (Pacific Rim)

Charlie Hunnam has turned in many wonderful performances in his career, especially in the Sons of Anarchy cast as Jax Teller. Yet, he gives a decidedly one-note performance in 2013’s Pacific Rim as the hero of Guillermo del Toro’s monsters vs. machines epic, Raleigh Beckett, who certainly does not have his aggressively generic and unmemorable characterization.

Mila Kunis in Jupiter Ascending

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Jupiter Jones (Jupiter Ascending)

There are many reasons why The Wachowskis' Jupiter Ascending is one of their most infamous flops and among them is Mila Kunis' title role. The young house cleaner who discovers she is the heir to a royal, intergalactic kingdom is written as not much more than a disengaging damsel in distress.

Sam Worthington sits in front of his Na'vi tank in Avatar.

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Jake Sully (Avatar)

The reason why anybody went to see 2009's Avatar, or rewatches it to this day, and showed up for the 2022 sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, was to experience the wondrous world of Pandora. The groundbreaking success of James Cameron's franchise has absolutely nothing to do with its hero, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), whom many regard as one of the most generic action movie protagonists you could imagine.

Julia Roberts in My Best Friend's Wedding.

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

Julianne Potter (My Best Friend's Wedding)

As the Queen of Rom-Coms, Julia Roberts has played many charming and lovable characters, but Julianne Potter is not quite one of them. The whole plot of My Best Friend's Wedding sees her conspire to ruin the impending nuptials of her lifelong buddy, Michael O'Neil (Dermot Mulroney), after realizing she wants to have him for herself.

Mark Hamill in Star Wars: A New Hope

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Luke Skywalker (Star Wars: A New Hope)

I really, truly hate to include one of the most beloved heroes from George Lucas' galaxy far, far away on this list, but it is a decision that I believe many die-hard fans of the Star Wars movies might be able to understand. They may especially agree that Mark Hamill's performance as Luke Skywalker in the 1977 original is not exactly one of his best and the farmer-turned-resistance-fighter's characterization — specifically at that time — is a bit bland and, at times, annoying.

The Little Mermaid

(Image credit: WDAS)

Ariel (The Little Mermaid)

Is there a single character who represents the most egregious tropes associated with Disney Princesses more than Ariel in 1989’s The Little Mermaid? For one, she literally and willfully silences herself all for the chance to be with her crush, which is far from role-model behavior, as far as I am concerned.

Dwayne Johnson in Black Adam

(Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Teth-Adam (Black Adam)

Let alone the fact that Teth-Adam was originally created for DC Comics as a Shazam villain, Dwayne Johnson gives a tonally uneven and one-dimensional portrayal of the extremely powerful Kahndaq "champion" whose verbal rejection of being called the hero of his story grows tiresome. Personally, I would have rather seen a movie that centers on the members of the Justice Society of America than what Black Adam turned out to be. 

Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird.

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Christine McPherson (Lady Bird)

Greta Gerwig's feature-length directorial debut, 2017's Lady Bird, is one of the sharpest coming-of-age dramedies of its time, anchored by a spellbinding, Oscar-nominated performance by Saoirse Ronan. Yet, even the acclaimed A24 movie's biggest fans agree that Ronan's title character (whose real name is Christine McPherson) is often too rude and self-absorbed to enjoy watching.

Val Kilmer in Batman Forever

(Image credit: Warner Bros. / DC)

Bruce Wayne (Batman Forever)

When it comes to the best Batman actors, the bottom of the list, for me, is occupied by Val Kilmer. The normally charismatic and dynamic actor implants little to nothing of his signature talents in 1995's Batman Forever, resulting in one of the most bland and forgettable portrayals of the Dark Knight on record.

Cinderella in ball gown

(Image credit: WDAS)

Cinderella (Cinderella)

I realize that Cinderella is, essentially, the ideal fairy tale character, and her age-old story inspires people to not give up on their dreams. However, her depiction in the 1950 classic does not have much of a distinct personality, causing it to be one of the few Disney animated movies that pales in comparison to its live-action remake, in my opinion. 

Megan Fox and Shia LaBeouf in Transformers

(Image credit: Paramount)

Sam Witwicky (Transformers)

To be fair, Shia LaBeouf really puts his heart and soul into playing Sam — an awkward, nervous teen caught up in a war between shape-shifting alien robots. However, the performance is just a little too convincing and often tends to distract from the true mechanical heroes of 2007's Transformers.

Ben Platt in Dear Evan Hansen

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Evan Hansen (Dear Evan Hansen)

While the cinematic adaptation of Dear Evan Hansen certainly has its fans (many of whom already loved the original stage musical), its toughest critics agree the title role is a hard person to warm to by the end. The consensus has less to do with actor Ben Platt (reprising his Tony Award-winning role) being nearly twice Evan's age, and more with how he allows himself to benefit from a classmate's suicide after being mistaken for his friend.

Brian O'Halloran in Clerks

(Image credit: Miramax Films)

Dante Hicks (Clerks)

I am sure there are many convenience store workers who strongly empathize with Dante (Brian O'Halloran), but his incessant whining and lack of gratitude for his girlfriend, Veronica (Marilyn Ghigliotti), kind of makes it hard to. Not to mention, in competition with Randal (Jeff Anderson), Jay (Jason Mewes), and Silent Bob (writer and director Kevin Smith), he is easily one of the least memorable characters from 1994's Clerks despite being the center of it all.

Olivia Newton-John in Grease.

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Sandy Olsson (Grease)

No one can deny that the late, great Olivia Newton-John is phenomenal in Grease, as both an actor and a musical performer. Yet, you could make the argument that her role, Sandy Olsson, is not a great character, especially for the way she submits to changing her personality to be more like her crush, Danny Zuko (John Travolta), while he gets to stay the same at the end.

Bradley Cooper in Burnt

(Image credit: The Weinstein Company)

Adam Jones (Burnt)

If not for a charismatic actor like Bradley Cooper in the lead role, the otherwise delicious food movie, Burnt, might not have been worth taking a bite out of. Cooper's character, a talented chef named Adam Jones, pretty much revels in treating people like scraps and boasts little to no redeeming qualities.  

Alexander Skarsgård in Mute

(Image credit: Netflix)

Leo (Mute)

Duncan Jones, director of acclaimed sci-fi films Moon and Source Code, did not receive as much love in 2018 for his Netflix original futuristic noir, Mute. Much of the complaints were centered around Alexander Skarsgård's lead role, Leo, whose otherwise intriguing trait as a non-speaking character becomes a disadvantage as the role offers just about nothing else of interest to the table.

Matthew Broderick in The Cable Guy

(Image credit: Sony)

Steven (The Cable Guy)

Jim Carrey's demented performance is meant to convince you that his character is the "villain" of 1996's The Cable Guy. However, in retrospect, the pathetic, self-centered, hypocritical Steven (Matthew Broderick) is the one we should really be rooting against. 

Eddie Redmayne in Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Newt Scamander (Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them)

For a film in which the main draw is watching wondrous creatures run amok, it makes sense that the lead performance would be as understated as Eddie Redmayne's portrayal of Newt Scamander. Yet, even some major Harry Potter fans agree that the Magizoologist is, ultimately, too awkward and dull of a protagonist to carry Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tom in (500) Days of Summer

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

Tom Hansen ((500) Days Of Summer)

To be clear, my main reason for including Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character from 2009's (500) Days of Summer in this list is because many often misinterpret the point of his arc in the modern romantic-comedy classic. Tom is so obsessed with living the perfect love story that he selfishly ignores Summer's (Zooey Deschanel) request to keep things casual and blames her for their breakup.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Godzilla

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Ford Brody (Godzilla)

If I am being honest — and the same goes for many examples of disaster and/or monster movies, really — the human characters are easily the weakest part of 2014's Godzilla. However, the otherwise talented Aaron Taylor-Johnson's lead role as Lt. Ford Brody makes less of an impact on the story than anyone else. To be fair, though, I imagine it was hard to stand out amid Bryan Cranston's brief, but memorable, performance as his father.

Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins in Lord of the Rings

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

Frodo Baggins (The Lord Of The Rings)

By the end of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) does achieve the end goal by destroying the One Ring, but is he really the true hero of this saga? When you look at how often Samwise (Sean Astin) came to his rescue and compare him to the fearless Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), the hobbit really does come up short.

Hugh Jackman as PT Barnum in The Greatest Showman

(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

P.T. Barnum (The Greatest Showman)

Hugh Jackman's portrayal of P.T. Barnum in The Greatest Showman is, for the most part, extremely charming, and that is precisely the problem. The otherwise dazzling 2017 musical is not at all historically accurate, especially in the way it depicts the founder of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, who, in real life, was a greedy schemer known for exploiting an enslaved woman for his show.

Stars of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

(Image credit: Europa)

Valerian (Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets)

Luc Besson's highly inventive, visually stunning, and admirably optimistic utopian adventure, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, could have gone down in history as a modern sci-fi classic. Unfortunately, the one-note, generic, frustratingly unimpressionable title hero, played by the otherwise very talented Dane DeHaan, resulted in an ultimately forgettable experience.

Seth MacFarlane and Charlize Theron in A Million Ways to Die in the West

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Albert Stark (A Million Ways To Die In The West)

Writer and director Seth MacFarlane also stars in 2014's A Million Ways to Die in the West as Albert Stark — an aimless, perpetually dissatisfied oaf whose main character trait is lengthy complaints. If the character was not just, essentially, a live-action, human version of one of MacFarlane's Family Guy roles, Brian Griffin, he might have been stronger protagonist for the Western-Comedy. 

Kurt Russell and the Big Trouble in Little China cast

(Image credit: Disney/Fox)

Jack Burton (Big Trouble In Little China)

I can't deny that I have nothing but love for Kurt Russell's hilarious performance as California trucker Jack Burton in Big Trouble in Little China. Yet, did you ever notice just how imbecilic he is, not to mention, the fact that he achieves not a single heroic act until he kills Lo Pan (James Hong) at the end? His bumbling nature does give the many Asian cast members their chance to shine as the true heroes, but even that only further earns him a lower ranking among Russell’s best characters.

Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems

(Image credit: A24)

Howard Rattner (Uncut Gems)

Adam Sandler gives one of his most electric performances as Manhattan jeweler Howard Rattner in the Safdie Brothers' 2019 thriller, Uncut Gems. Honestly, if a less likable movie star had played the selfish, self-destructive gambling addict than the charismatic comedy icon, we would have no reason to root for him and the story could have suffered as a result.

Nita-Josée Hanna in Psycho Goreman

(Image credit: RLJE Films)

Mimi (Psycho Goreman)

The ancient extraterrestrial warrior (voiced by Steven Vlahos and portrayed physically by Matthew Ninaber) may be the title character of Psycho Goreman, but the true protagonist is Mimi (Nita-Josée Hanna). However, as far as I am concerned, the 2020 horror-comedy would have been much more enjoyable if the young girl who awakens "PG" were not such a spoiled, rotten, loudmouthed bully.

Seth Rogen and Jay Chou in The Green Hornet

(Image credit: Sony)

Britt Reid (The Green Hornet)

Director Michel Gondry's 2011 reboot of The Green Hornet reimagines L.A. news publisher Britt Reid (producer Seth Rogen) as an absent-minded man-child whose vigilante aspirations seem completely out of place with his character. While this does work as a parodic commentary on Kato (played here by Jay Chou) always being the more obviously capable one in the 1960s series (which starred Bruce Lee in the role), it is a one-note joke that quickly loses steam.

I promise that my intention was not to ruin any of these main movie characters for you, but at least offer some additional perspective regarding how they fit into their stories.

Jason Wiese
Content Writer

Jason Wiese writes feature stories for CinemaBlend. His occupation results from years dreaming of a filmmaking career, settling on a "professional film fan" career, studying journalism at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO (where he served as Culture Editor for its student-run print and online publications), and a brief stint of reviewing movies for fun. He would later continue that side-hustle of film criticism on TikTok (@wiesewisdom), where he posts videos on a semi-weekly basis. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.