Michael Fassbender is at his best when he brings humanity to the bad guys

Since making her big-screen debut in the fantasy epic 300, Michael Fassbender has steadily made a name for himself as one of the greatest working actors. Her choice of movies, ranging from superhero blockbusters to intimate character dramas, allowed her to try her hand at a wide range of roles. Although its production has declined in recent years (probably he can devote more time to his other passion, driving), his future role as a hitman in David Fincherthe last movie of The killer sees him return to a character type he excels at – the villain.

While many actors have made a career out of twirling their comically overdone mustaches while chewing on as many sets as possible, Fassbender took a different stance. Instead, he approaches these roles with the respect they deserve, turning them into complex characters who avoid the barrage of clichés antagonists are subjected to. Examples of this can be seen throughout his career, and with even his most heroic roles containing a degree of darkness, it seems Fassbender is also aware of his strengths. So before he unleashes his talents in the brutal and bloody world of professional assassination, let’s take a look back at some of his most iconic roles that illustrate why he’s the master at bringing humanity to the bad guys.

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The best example of this comes from Fassbender’s most famous role, that of the notorious supervillain Magneto in the x-men movies. Whereas Ian McKellen had already introduced him to the world in a previous trilogy of films, Fassbender really made the role his own. when he debuted in 2011 X-Men: First Class. From the film’s opening scene, showing a young Erik Lehnsherr separated from his mother at the gates of Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944, it’s clear that he’s much more than just a monster villain of the week. This makes him a traumatized and scarred man, a survivor of the worst hell one can experience and whose prosecution against those who wronged him becomes difficult to oppose.

Several scenes later, the now-adult Lehnsherr follows two former Nazis to a bar in Argentina, and the result is one of the most daring moments in any superhero movie. Fassbender’s performance sells the scene, and the way he goes from innocent passerby to avenging harbinger of death with the simple act of twisting his arm (revealing the numbers he’s still tattooed on his skin since childhood) is sure to send shivers down anyone’s body. It perfectly establishes Magneto, a character trying to cleanse the world of evil that inhabits it, but whose methods of doing so place him at the uncomfortable crossroads between hero and villain.

It’s a thread that continues through the x-men series, with Magneto never becoming an overt antagonist despite his repeated clashes with the titular team. Instead, their conflicts stem from a difference of ideas, with her close but simultaneously distant friendship with Charles Xavier (james mcavoy) creating one of the most interesting dynamics of the genre. While much of what makes Magneto such a compelling character can be attributed to the writing, Fassbender’s contribution to the role cannot be underestimated. A scene in X-Men: Apocalypse which sees Magneto living in perfect harmony with his wife and daughter, at least until he is tragically cut short following an incident with the local militia, displays his best skills.


The moment he holds his family’s bodies, painfully whispering ‘not my babies’ as he watches the one thing that’s ever brought him happiness crumble before his eyes, is a fully sold moment on the excellent performance. by Fassbender. The sequence after which Magneto uses his daughter’s necklace to kill those responsible, a decision made without a single line of dialogue, showcases Fassbender’s mastery of conveying internal conflict with only the most subtle of facial expressions. Within seconds, Magneto’s entire character changes, setting him on a path of malevolent destruction that leads him for the rest of the film. This glimpse into an idyllic life adds a staggering amount of humanity to someone who is essentially the franchise’s main villain, all aided by Fassbender’s excellent performance.


But the x-men films are far from the only showcase of Fassbender’s skills in this area, with another key example coming from Justin Kurzelthe elegant 2015 version of macbeth. Playing the titular King of Scotland whose acts of betrayal and murder against those he once called friends serve as a definitive warning against seeking power at any cost, Fassbender finds himself working on the perfect material to set in evident his skills in bringing humanity to the villains. Macbeth is inherently a tragic character, a man with lofty dreams beyond his assigned role in life who is manipulated by his scheming wife into committing deeds he would otherwise never have contemplated, Fassbender excelling at portray his tortured soul as he descends further into madness and fear. There’s a sadness to his performance that previous screen adaptations lacked, with Fassbender playing him as a completely broken man for much of the film’s second half as he realizes the cost of his actions.


Its fragile exterior forms the perfect shell for the infamous Lady Macbeth to work out her evil plans, with by Marion Cotillard seductive performance weaving an insidious web of lies and deceit that allows both actors to assert their claim as the greatest on-screen representations of famous characters. But Fassbender knows very well when toss out nuance intricacies in favor of stronger performance, a decision best seen during the film’s impressive fight sequences. Here we see a Macbeth who always lurked beneath the surface, a man with thoughts no rational man should possess and who is willing to sacrifice anything and everyone for just a little extra power. Fassbender masterfully updates the character from stage to screen, tweaking his performance in both delicate and grand ways to suit the situation, and the result is one of his greatest performances as one. of the Bard’s most complex characters.

But even in roles that aren’t overtly villainous, Fassbender still brings a darker edge to many of his performances. Her role as a sex addict in by Steve McQueen psychological drama Shame sees Fassbender at his most vulnerable, with his insatiable desire to find solace in others proving to be the very thing that keeps him from finding true intimacy. His self-destructive habits alienate him from those who love him, sinking him further into his harmful addiction which only exacerbates his problems. Fassbender approaches the role with a level of commitment that most actors would balk at, delving deep into the psychosis of someone struggling with such an addition. The result is one of his most captivating and likeable performances.

Along the same lines, his role as tech entrepreneur Steve Jobs in Danny BoyleThe titular film sees him tap into his darker side while celebrating the talents of the late billionaire. While it’s hard to describe a real person in the context of heroes and villains, Jobs undoubtedly had a tougher side that he apparently shared with all tech moguls, but he was also unmistakably a genius who was ultimately just an imperfect human being. . A sentiment best summed up by the way he treats his daughter, changing from aloof to loving as the film progresses. Fassbender may not look like Jobs on the surface, but he perfectly captures his essence.

Even in supposedly heroic roles, Fassbender always keeps one foot on the opposite side of morality. His main roles in the years 2016 Assassin’s Creed as Cal (an outcast who begins the film on death row for murder) and Aguilar de Nerha (an assassin during the Spanish Inquisition) are the closest Fassbenders to playing a traditional hero, but both are far from the protagonists typical of these successful films. They may be trying to save humanity from being enslaved by the Order of the Templars, but their method of doing so by deploying their personal brand of bloody justice with no regard for the rule of law would paint them as villains. in most other movies. It’s a compliment to Fassbender that he can convince audiences to believe he’s a hero without even questioning it.


Likewise, his appearance as the unfortunately named Harry Hole in the equally unfortunate The Snowman sees him tackle the archetypal grizzled police detective in a role that feels tailor-made for him. He’s a character who walks forever between hero and villain, always one drink away from joining the ranks of Norway’s most infamous criminals. His habit of using problematic and borderline illegal methods to achieve results ensures that he is always an observable character. The film’s troubled production undercuts the potential he clearly had, but Fassbender does his best with what he has, and it’s another example of where his acting skills are best suited.

It’s a testament to Fassbender’s skills that this is only a small percentage of this type of role. It would have been possible to rewrite this article with a whole new set of performances, like a corrupt MI6 agent in whack or as an android turned divine figure David in the Extraterrestrial prequels, who makes a strong claim to being the franchise’s biggest character. Tying all of these roles together is its unparalleled ability to create genuine likability for characters who commit heinous acts, turning them into some of the most complex figures who often overshadow their respective films’ intended idols. None of these characters fit a standard definition of a villain and seeing the occasional glimmer of humanity in them as they battle internal and external demons makes them all the more tragic. Here is the hope The killer is another fine addition to his delightful (and wicked) repertoire.


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