Josh Brolin is a badass. That's a universal truth. He's so badass in fact, that Marvel Studios even cast him as their maniacal titan and main antagonist of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thanos!
Lionsgate just dropped an adrenaline-filled, action-fueled trailer for one of their upcoming films, Sicario. What's a Sicario, I hear you cry? Well, in Mexico, Sicario means 'hitman,' and the film finds itself located in the lawless border area stretching between the U.S. and Mexico. Starring the wonderful Emily Blunt, the film also sees Josh Brolin cast as a gritty, dark character named Matt, a character who is once again drenched in an air of ambiguity. This seems to be a signature type of role for Brolin, one that we've become accustomed to him playing over the years. With his rugged bad guy features and commanding grasp on his vocal abilities, Brolin has received some of the most incredible roles recently.
Which got me thinking...
Is Thanos REALLY Josh Brolin's most badass character?
Now, before you start yelling at me through the screen, let's take a step back and check out this guys impressive back catalog onscreen appearances. To simplify this process, we'll rate each role's 'badassery' between 1-10. Of course one being the least badass, with the numbers climbing up to 10 - the most badass.
Kicking things off we have Josh Brolin's first ever role in none other than the classic film, The Goonies. Beloved by many, Brolin starred as Brand - the older brother to Sean Astin's Mikey - who recently failed his driving test. Brand comes across as a very strong character, and although at first glance he comes across as a typically overbearing big brother, it's evident that he seems to genuinely care for his kid brother and the Goon Dock's dire situation. Due to the family nature and feeling of this film, we're going to have to kick things off low on the badassery level...
Badass Rating: 5/10
In this tribute to the zombie genre, the Rodriguez directed thriller follows a group of people attempting to survive the onslaught of the undead. Josh Brolin plays the sinister Dr. William Block, the man in charge of treating the infected townspeople. With quotes like, "I'm gonna eat your brains and gain your knowledge." and "No more dead bodies for Daddy tonight," I'm not entirely convinced Dr. Block would pass the ethical standards required to actually be a doctor. Upon discovering that his wife was going to leave him for Tammy, when he sees messages on the recently deceased's phone, Brolin lives up to the psychotic nature of the character and attacks Dakota with her own anesthetic syringe needles, stabbing her repeatedly before locking her in a closet. Eventually Dr. Block becomes infected and killed, but for his sheer psychotic nature, and for straight up not giving two hoots about the impending zombie apocalypse, this scores pretty high on the badassery chart.
Badass Rating: 7/10
In this American biographical crime film, Brolin teamed up with iconic writer and director Ridley Scott, for his movie adaptation on the criminal career of Frank Lucas, a gangster from La Grange, North Carolina. In the film, Brolin plays the corrupt NYPD detective Nick Trupo. His character attempts to blackmail and extort money from Lucas, played by Denzel Washington. Undeterred by the drug tycoon and undisputed head of the Harlem crime scene, Trupo breaks into Lucas' mansion to steal his emergency cash pile, killing his dog in the process. Eventually karma catches up with Trupo, and he takes his own life to escape prison along with a whole slew of workers from the New York DEA. For his no-holds-barred mentality when it comes to the law and extorting money from fantastically dangerous criminals, we're going to score this pretty high up there on the badassery chart.
Badass Rating = 7/10
No Country for Old Men
This 2007 American neo-Western saw the first of two collaborations that Brolin has had with the Coen Brothers throughout his career. Set in West Texas during the 1980s, it tells the story of an ordinary man to whom chance delivers a fortune that is not exactly his. What ensues is a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse between three men, all vying for the monetary gain for themselves. Brolin plays the role of Llewelyn Moss, who, while hunting in the desert, comes across the aftermath of a drug deal gone awry and $2 million dollars left unclaimed. He must evade the ruthless hitman Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), but alas meets his demise alone in a motel room. For his guts, determination and will to battle for his wife, this role scores handsomely on the charts of badassery.
Badass Rating: 8/10
The Coen Brothers remake of the 1969 film True Grit was a phenomenal success and was the second collaboration between Brolin and the brothers. Garnering a staggering 10 Academy nominations, the movie returned Brolin to a dark, rugged character in the role of murderer Tom Chaney. Wanted for murders in both Arkansas and Texas, Chaney is pursued by Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross, Jeff Bridges as U.S. Marshal Reuben J. 'Rooster' Cogburn, and Matt Damon as Texas Ranger LaBoeuf. Chaney is undeniably two things in this film: entirely unpredictable and especially hard to kill. It takes a rifle shot from close range to finally take him out.
Badass Rating: 8/10
Thanos in the MCU
Finally we come to our concluding role... the most powerful being in the universe, Thanos the Mad Titan! This role is what may cement Josh Brolin in cinematic history once and for all. Although we've only seen brief cameos of the character in multiple Marvel films, that alone is already enough to have the whole world oozing with anticipation for the events to come. Thanos is a 6'7" tall power-hungry maniac, consumed with the concept of death. Within the MCU he will stop at nothing until he has all of the Infinity Stones in his possession, setting up one of the greatest climatic conclusions to a movie franchise ever. Yet it's not all brawn and superhuman strength, Thanos is also a master strategist. As Earth's Mightiest Heroes have been protecting the globe, and others the universe, Thanos has been quietly and efficiently pulling the strings of chaos, playing the master puppeteer. His lack of presence is deliberate, and when he does come... well, let's just say that we're going to see the biggest badass in the universe, period. And really, with all of the evidence above, who better to play him than Josh Brolin?