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Just because they’re cool doesn’t mean that their actions aren’t criminal. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the "Top 10 Awesome Movie Heroes Who Totally Belong in Jail."
For this list, we’ll be taking a look cinema’s heroes—and anti-heroes—who don’t so much brush up against the law as body slam it, and who, all things considered, should realistically have wound up behind bars for their actions. Some plots points ahead, so a minor spoiler alert is in effect.
Subscribe to WatchMojo—Ranking Pop Culture Since 2006
#10: Superman “Man of Steel” (2013)
Since debuting in 1938, this DC hero has been saving the lives of the citizens of Metropolis and beyond. Standing up for the little guy, as well as the principles of justice overall, Superman is humble and even-tempered despite his God-like abilities. However, in Man of Steel, we got a darker, less joyful Clark Kent. Unlike the comics, where the Last Son of Krypton does his best to ensure the safety of all, he’s involved in the destruction of Metropolis (and killing untold thousands) as he battles Zod. Intentions aside, he was one half of a brawl that claimed countless lives, and under the circumstances, that sort of activity comes with legal consequences.
#9: Hit-Girl “Kick-Ass” (2010)
We’re pretty sure there’s many a child psychologist who would want to have a talk with this little lady; they could likely make their careers off her! Yes, her actions can be explained by the fact that her father, Big Daddy, trained her to be a killing machine, and that he is ultimately responsible for their folie a deux. However, in the eyes of the law she would not be exempt from justice in some form—be it a juvenile penitentiary, or institutionalization. Straight up murdering anyone who gets in her way, this lethal lass won’t just kick your ass—she’ll kill it.
#8: Dominic Toretto “The Fast and the Furious” Franchise (2001 -)
All around, Dom is a pretty good guy. He has morals, a code of honor, and cares about his family and friends deeply. However, no matter the reasoning behind it, robbery is a crime and illegal street racing… well, it’s in the name. Within the popular and long-running franchise, he has already been arrested at least once, and has even aided law enforcement services like the Diplomatic Security Service. Still, anti-hero status aside, does he even know how many serious traffic violations he’s committed? We’re thinking he’s lost count.
#7: Bryan Mills “Taken” (2008)
One of the most memorable action heroes of the late aughts, Bryan Mills was easy to root for. After all, what wouldn’t a person do to save a loved one from human traffickers? And if you had a particular set of skills, wouldn’t you want to put them to good use too? Most probably. However good it might look/feel to see him apply his chops to the baddies, doling out swift and strategic justice as he follows the traffickers’ trail to his daughter, vigilantism is illegal. So is torture. And murder. So is carjacking, and kidnapping, and—jeeze, the list goes on. Thankfully, avoiding hard time also seems to be among his skillset.
#6: Dr. Emmett ‘Doc’ Brown “Back to the Future” (1985)
One of the most beloved pop icons/mad scientists around, Doc Brown entertains with his wacky inventions, knack for defying the laws of physics, and double-crossing Libyan terrorists. All in good clean fun… right? But to power his time-travelling DeLorean, Doc Brown needs plutonium (because science). And what a better way to get a hold of a transuranic radioactive chemical than to steal it… from terrorists? So many questions. Theft and a total lack of clearance to use such a volatile substance aside, how was he in contact with the terror cell? What was the original deal that would get him close enough to their plutonium? That might be treason Doc, and that’s pretty heavy.
#5: Bruce Wayne “Batman Begins” (2005)
A walking, talking lesson in why dealing with childhood trauma is important, Bruce Wayne is a walking bag of legal problems, but vigilantism is the biggest of the bunch. Trying to “clean up the town” is all well and good, but for some reason, the law doesn’t like citizens taking it into their own hands. The Dark Knight (a rich man with a lot of gadgets and a bat cave’s worth of psychological damage) doles out his brand of justice all over Gotham like it’s going out of style. Good thing he’s got the mask and that vocal fry down, or else he’d been swooping straight into a jail cell.
#4: John Wick “John Wick” (2014)
After gangsters’ kill his dog and steal his car, former assassin John Wick decides to come out of retirement. We want to say they all had it coming because WHO KILLS A PUPPY, but the law is less sentimental than the average viewer. Even before the movie begins, his life as a cutthroat gives plenty of reasons for him to be locked up for life. But then the movie begins, and the body count rises. Also, and we don’t mean to be so particular, but getting professional cleaners to come in and remove the bodies is tampering with a crime scene, and obstruction of justice, sir.
#3: Jack Sparrow “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise (2003-)
It’s a pirate’s life for him… and right there, an arrest. Just his chosen profession alone would be (and often times is) enough to land Captain Jack Sparrow in the slammer. Whenever this booze-soaked brigand staggers into shot, you know there are some misdeeds to be done. Whether it is theft, hostage taking, resisting arrest, conspiring against Her Majesty’s Navy, or just a good old fashioned drunk and disorderly charge, it’s clear that his cup runneth over with more luck than morals. And with rum. It's runs over with lots and lots of rum.
#2: Han Solo “Star Wars” Franchise (1977- )
The original space cowboy, Han ran with a pretty rough crowd before teaming up with Luke and friends. However, depending on where you live (and we can’t speak for that galaxy far, far away) being a mercenary may or may not be illegal. That aside (and we know that they’re totally the baddies, but bear with us), in Empire-controlled space, actions such as harboring and transporting fugitives, impersonating a soldier, attacking Imperial ships, B&E, and so forth are sure to get you more than just a little slap on the wrist. Also, he totally shot first. He might be charming, but go ahead and add murder to the rap sheet.
Before we reveal our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- SPFD Homicide Inspector Harry Callahan, Dirty Harry (1971)
- Robin Hood, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
#1: Deadpool “Deadpool” (2016)
Unlike the other superheroes on this list who might accidentally kill an innocent bystander here or there, but largely have no-kill codes (even for the most despicable of bad guys), Deadpool really gives zero shits. Not only is Wade Wilson really, really good at taking out enemies with both maximum precision and minimum effort, but you can also tell he enjoys his work. Cracking jokes as he’s cracking skulls, slicing, dicing, and icing, he’ll be the first one to tell you that he’s no hero. We are inclined to believe him, and we think a jury of his peers would agree in courtroom scenario. Doesn’t mean we can’t love him, though.