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Bring On The Bad Guys: 10 Streaming Anti-Heroes To Revisit Before ‘Suicide Squad’

Bring On The Bad Guys: 10 Streaming Anti-Heroes To Revisit Before ‘Suicide Squad’: DC Comics

DC Comics

With Suicide Squad blasting its way into theaters this weekend, audiences should prepare for another dose of characters who are so bad, they’re good. After all, who doesn’t love a villain when they’re forced to be the lead character in their own story?

Almost as long as cinema has been around, we’ve been thrilling to stories of bad guys having to do good (against their best wishes, quite often) or trying their best only to find out that their best isn’t good enough. Before you head to the multiplex to check out Harley Quinn, Deadshot and the rest of the superheroic Squad, here are ten other movies to check out where the good guys aren’t quite good enough.

Martin Scorsese’s classic of urban nihilism makes an anti-hero of sorts out of Robert DeNiro’s creepy vigilante Travis Bickle without ever losing the distance that allows the audience to see just how not a good guy he actually is. In lesser hands, this could have turned into a horrifically long-lived franchise like Death Wish. Available to stream from Amazon Prime

MAD MAX (1979)
Mel Gibson’s first starring role — and, let’s be honest, probably his best, even considering the many other movies he’d go on to make—sees him cast as the last, best hope for a post-apocalyptic world where water is in short supply. Decades later, he’d be reincarnated as Tom Hardy, a fate that most men of a certain age wish awaits them. Available to stream from Amazon Prime

If 2016 is proving to be a difficult year, one look at John Carpenter’s 1980s idea of 1997 might make you feel a little better about the distance with which we’ve yet to go before reaching pure dystopia. The only question is, when we get there, will former soldier turned badass Snake Plissken (Kurt Russell, never cooler) be there to save our asses? The answer, of course, is “We probably wouldn’t deserve him.” Available to stream from Amazon Prime

AMADEUS (1984)
Of course, it’s not just action movies or grim urban dramas that are populated by anti-heroes. Take a look at Salieri’s behavior in this classical movie drama. Not only is he jealous, bitter and oh, so twisted by his inner rage, but he’s also responsible for the death of the movie’s eponymous subject… kind of. Perfect anti-hero territory. Available to stream from Netflix

The movie that made Quentin Tarantino’s reputation is filled with anti-heroes and tough guys, as fans would soon come to realize was pretty much what would turn out to be his comfort zone. Come for the music and the Harvey Keitel, but stay for Tim Roth’s underrated performance, which stands up better than expected decades later. Available to stream from Hulu

THE CROW (1994)
Best remembered as the movie that killed Brandon Lee, it’s possible that you’ve forgotten about the mid-90s angst and anti-hero that Lee played, but don’t worry: rock musician turned creepy goth revenger Eric Draven hasn’t forgotten you. Especially not if you’re involved in the death of his girlfriend… Available to stream from Netflix

Revisiting Bryan Singer’s claim to fame 21 years after the fact, there’s a fun game to be had: pretend that Kevin Spacey’s Verbal Kint later changes his name and gets into politics, leading to House of Cards a decade or so down the road. (I mean, sure, you could just enjoy the stylish, slick noir-lite of the movie by itself if you really wanted.) Available to stream from Netflix

Is Christian Bale’s Patrick Bateman really an anti-hero, or just an outright villain? Given his actions in Mary Harron’s adaptation of the Bret Easton Ellis novel, the argument could be made either way, but Bale’s charm—and the off-kilter tone of Harron’s direction—tilts things in the anti-hero direction. Should we be disturbed when we’re rooting for an investment banker? Available to stream from Amazon Prime

It took three installments, but finally the theme-park-ride-inspired movie series wised up and realized what the audience had known all along: it was all about Johnny Depp’s roguish Cap'n Jack Sparrow all along. But even in this first installment, Sparrow steals the show and then some—but what else should we expect from a pirate? Available to stream from Netflix

That most modern of anti-heroes, Lisabeth Salander, comes to life in a way that many didn’t believe was possible in this first screen adaptation of the Stieg Larsson book series, with Noomi Rapace filling the role in a way that (deservedly) made her career. Available to stream from Netflix

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