Heroes vs. Villains: Where does Michael Corleone from 'The Godfather' fall?

Vicious killing machine or tragic victim of his family's legacy?

<p>Just a sweet moment between brothers for hero Michael Corleone</p>

Just a sweet moment between brothers for hero Michael Corleone

Credit: MGM
The NCAA basketball tournaments are less than a month away. Because it's obviously never been done before, HitFix is going to host its own tournament, but this battle won't take place between teams on Tobacco Road. We've got something more exciting in mind.  In our competition, the greatest Heroes from the worlds of television and movies will face off versus the greatest Villains.  

The committee is currently mulling over the brackets, but we need your help.  There are six characters who some would consider anti-heroes, but we know then need to part of the battle royale. Do they fall in the Heroes bracket or the Villains bracket? 

You decide.  You have 48 hours. Choose wisely.
 
 
Sepinwall started things off this morning with Walter White. That was a no-brainer. No matter how cool you think Heisenberg was, once he let Jane die and poisoned Brock, he was already way to the "Villain" side of the scale and once he orchestrated a jailhouse massacre, I think the conversation was over. In fact, those of you who called Walter White a "Hero" scare me a little. He's a "Protagonist," but he's not a "Hero."
 
I'm not sure that Michael Corleone is going to be much different. 
 
In fact, Walter White's orchestrated assassination of myriad incarcerated witnesses is pretty much a straight-up homage to Michael's orchestrated decimation of the heads of the other New York crime families in the first "Godfather" movie. And that's after he personally kills Sollozzo and McCluskey at a restaurant. Michael goes on to order the killing of his poor, spineless brother and instigate a number of murders that probably goes into the "countless" range. Oh and he closes the door on Kay. That's pretty evil and sad.
 
But it's not like he *wanted* to do any of this. I mean, Vito and Sonny? They're the venal villains of the Corleone clan. Michael's a war hero with no interest in joining the family business. He just wants to go to Dartmouth and marry Kay and be happy. And even after all of the stuff he does in the first movie, he has a plan to make the Corleone family entirely legitimate, but nooooooo. Every time Michael gets close, somebody else screws things up. As he famously puts it in "Godfather III," just when he thinks he's out, they PULL him back in. Sonny wanted to be a crime lord. Michael just wants to do what's right for his family.
 
So the question, as with many or most anti-heroes, becomes: Do we judge Michael Corleone on the sum of his actions or on the sum of his aspirations? If you go with the former, of course he's a villain. If you go with the latter, he's a tragic hero, laid low by the elusive boundaries of the American Dream. 
 
VOTE NOW, BELOW!
 
See also...
 

HitFix Poll

Is Michael Corleone from the "Godfather" franchise a hero or a villain?

Dan-feinberg-sm
Daniel Fienberg
Executive Editor
A long-time member of the TCA Board and a longer-time blogger of "American Idol," Dan Fienberg writes about TV, except for when he writes about movies or sometimes writes about the Red Sox. But never music. He would sound stupid talking about music.
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