Anti-heroes are seeing a resurgence thanks to recent films like Suicide Squad and the new Deadpool movie. Now, it looks like we’ve got another anti-hero coming to the big screen. You’ve probably seen the trailer for the upcoming Venom movie with Tom Hardy as the parasitic alien’s host (but if you haven’t, just hit play below) and instead of being the villain, you’ll notice that he’s actually more of an anti-hero this time around.
As human beings, we’re not always interested in the most straightforward, goody-two-shoes Captain America path to justice. The allure of the tortured badass is real. After all, why do you think Batman is so popular? What viewers want to see are those people who seem like they could be someone they know, albeit with a twist – these people have superpowers.
So in conjunction with the release of Venom, here are some other anti-heroes we think you should get to know a little better.
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He’s a foul-mouthed, grouchy, adrenaline-junkie warlock. He looks like a drunk walking off a bar fight but don’t be fooled, he could flip a demon on its ass in an instant. Constantine doesn’t fit the typical mould of ‘hero’, but he does actually save lives on occasion, when he isn’t sleeping his way around each realm.
There have been several renditions of this charming trench coat-wearing sarcastic Brit, derived from the original character in 1993’s Hellblazer comics. In 2005, Keanu Reeves brought to life a more muted, brooding portrayal whereas Matt Ryan’s was a little more true to character in the television series than Reeves’.
The ultimate anti-hero, he’s relentless and unforgiving, known for dispensing of his villains without a second thought. War veteran Francis ‘Frank’ Castle lost his wife and child when they were in the wrong place at the wrong time and got caught in the middle of a gang war. He now seeks to punish those who do wrong.
He’s Ghost Rider without the flames and chains and is armed to the teeth with guns galore. Make no mistake – The Punisher goes through gangsters like a knife through butter. He has no qualms playing judge, jury and executioner.
Most recently, Jon Bernthal gave us a very convincing Punisher, one much more heartfelt and gritty, a man with a serious but disturbed mission. The previous Punishers have been more comedic in nature, with Dolph Lundgren and Thomas Jane taking on the white skull bullet vest, a testament to the earlier Punisher comics.
Everyone loves Deadpool and now, thanks to Ryan Reynolds’ cheekily likeable portrayal of the character, it’s not just the comic book nerds hiding in the dark recesses of the internet proclaiming their adoration of him. Given the performance, it’s easy to forget that Deadpool is actually an anti-hero, whose comics are known for their blatant violence, bad language and sexual innuendo. He’s fought alongside The Avengers on occasion, has made a friend out of Spiderman and is a constant thorn in the X-Men’s sides.
A symbol of vengeance only rivalled by The Punisher, Ghost Rider again holds no bounds and plays outside of the law. Chucking villains straight to the other side with his fiery chains, Ghost Rider is the demonic Judge Dredd.
It’s hard to forget Nicholas Cage’s stint as Ghost Rider in 2007, when he played wild child Johnny Blaze. However, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recently gave us a different Ghost Rider in their fifth season with Gabriel Luna playing young Robbie Reyes.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the star of the moment. This symbiotic parasite from another planet has inhabited many different people and taken various forms.
The trailers introduce us to Eddie Brock, the original host of Venom, who was previously played by Topher Grace in Spiderman 3. Instead, this time he’s a normal guy wanting to do good, but who also has to deal with the inconvenience of being inhabited by this bloodthirsty alien parasite. Tough hand of cards, eh?
Venom is out in cinemas now.