The MTV Movies team’s list of the Top 50 Movie Characters of 2012 continues today with spots 40 through 31 taken by a dwarf, a tiger and a wallflower.
For the second leg of our ultimate countdown to the greatest movie character of the year, a bunch of classic — even “un-adaptable” — characters get their day on the big screen. Stick with us all this week to see which of your favorites end up on top.
40. Richard Parker (“Life of Pi”)
Pro-tip: if you’re ever lost at sea, try not to get trapped on a life boat with no one but a massive, flesh-hungry tiger for company. If there’s no other possible option, however, you could do worse than having a tiger like Richard Parker at your side. Richard Parker is as ferocious as he is majestic, a mythic creature who threatens the life of Pi at nearly every turn. But it’s the tiger’s very existence that forces the shipwrecked protagonist to confront and embrace the realities of his life-or-death situation. It’s Pi’s greatest threat that keeps him alive… and kept us entertained for the film’s two-hour runtime. — Josh Wigler
39. Jack Reacher (“Jack Reacher”)
“He doesn’t care about the law. He doesn’t care about proof. He only cares about what’s right.” That’s the logline on ex-military police investigator Jack Reacher (played by Tom Cruise). A near-ghost following his tour of duty, he returns to the grid to help solve a grisly shooting purportedly carried out by an ex-army sniper. Reacher is a shrewd investigator with a surprisingly comedic edge, simultaneously delivering zippy one-liners to the foes who dare face him, while handily disposing of them with a well-placed right hook or roundhouse kick. Which all goes to show if you’re wrongly accused of a crime, your one and only request should be “Get Jack Reacher.” — Amy Wilkinson
38. Anna Karenina (“Anna Karenina”)
Bringing a character from classic literature to life takes bravery and creativity. Joe Wright and Keira Knightley’s spin on the tragic heroine from Leo Tolstoy’s masterpiece met both qualifications by bringing Anna to life, through the stage, and onto the big screen. As Knightley and Wright had done with Elizabeth Bennett in “Pride and Prejudice” before, the duo approached a towering and iconic role with courage and an interpretation that reinforced her stature and timelessness. — Kevin P. Sullivan
37. Whip Whitaker (“Flight”)
Denzel Washington could read the phonebook onscreen for two hours, and I wouldn’t complain. That, frankly, would have made for more compelling viewing than the tasks “Unstoppable” forced him to undertake. In “Flight,” though, Denzel has been gifted with super-juicy material to work with, and he’s rightly a lock for an Oscar nod because of it. Whip is a coke-sniffing, Miller High Life-swilling commercial airline pilot who averts a plane crash by flying the damn thing upside down. Unfortunately for Whip, but certainly for the betterment of the jetsetting public, the feds don’t take too kindly to the idea of a schwasted pilot, no matter his midair heroics. After saving his passengers, we witness Whip suffer through what seems, from a 30,000-foot perspective, to be a clichéd addiction-and-recovery narrative, but which, thanks to Denzel being, well, Denzel, feels real and tragic and painful. — Eric Ditzian
36. Charlie (“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”)
It’s difficult to single out one or two characters from “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” because all of them are interesting, complex and relatable. However, there wouldn’t be any perks to being a wallflower without the titular “Wallflower” himself, Charlie (Logan Lerman). We love him for his sincere sweetness, because he “sees things” and has such a positive effect on those around him, all the while struggling with his own inner demons. — Kara Warner
35. Freddie Quell (“The Master”)
At the heart of Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film about what we all do to find meaning in life, there is one very lost soul. Without the animalistic Freddie Quell and the instant classic performance from Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master” would have lost so much of its filthiness, its humor, and its spontaneity. Watching Freddie is like watching an ape break out of its cage. You’re never sure what he’ll do next, but you know when that something happens, it won’t be what you expected. — Kevin P. Sullivan
34. Tiffany (“Silver Linings”)
Tiffany is both the eccentric instigator and the precocious voice of reason, the catalyst and the reconciliation around the dysfunctional family in “Silver Linings Playbook.” As the perfect balance to the manic-testosterone flowing from Bradley Cooper’s charismatic Pat, Lawrence brings a refreshing change to the all too familiar rom-com formula as Tiffany. Already having one Oscar nomination under her belt, it’s no secret that Lawrence is already one of the more accomplished actresses working today, but even so, it still is pretty awesome watching the girl better known as Katniss Everdeen go toe-to-toe with acting heavyweight Robert De Niro with hilarious results. — Joel Hanek
33. Wreck-It Ralph (“Wreck-It Ralph”)
Sure, John C. Reilly did his thing as Will Ferrell’s speed racing side-kick in “Talladega Nights” and as Renée Zellweger’s simple-minded hubby in “Chicago,” but the veteran thespian may have found his calling as the animated video game villain with a heart of gold in “Wreck-It-Ralph.” Not since “Scarface” have we so eagerly rooted for the bad guy. Maybe it’s just because Jack McBrayer’s Fix-It Felix was so incredibly annoying; still anyone who can make nice with Zangief, kick ass with Q-Bert, and put up with Sarah Silverman’s nasally whine gets the top score in our game. — Rob Markman
32. Thorin Oakenshield (“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”)
He’s several feet shorter and quite a bit angrier, but Thorin son of Thráin gives Aragorn son of Arathorn a run for his money in the “Sexy Men of Middle-earth” competition. (Yep, that’s a real thing.) (No, no it’s not.) The leader of the company of dwarves that comes to wreck Bilbo Baggins’ quiet little life, Thorin is razor-focused on the task at hand: reclaiming his rightful kingdom from the wretched dragon Smaug. He’s stubborn and cold, but his lesser traits are compensated by his determination, bravery and skills with a blade… a blade called Orcrist. As far as fantasy weapon names go, it doesn’t get much cooler than that. Josh Wigler
31. Snow White (“Snow White and the Huntsman”)
Forget everything those Brothers Grimm told you about the girl who bit into the poison apple — because this Snow White (played Kristen Stewart) is no damsel in distress. Both fair and fierce, she carries a sword and isn’t afraid to use it when it comes to reclaiming her inheritance from the clutches of evil Queen Ravenna (played Charlize Theron). And with the oratory faculties to deliver a “Braveheart”-worthy monologue, she’s a well-rounded royal ready to rule.
— Amy Wilkinson