Breaking Bad 

Breaking Bad: 5 Movie Villains Walter White Can Outsmart ( & 5 He Can’t)

Breaking Bad's Walter White is one of the smartest TV villains ever, but what movie villains can he outsmart & beat? From Joker to Jigsaw, here we go.

Not many fully human television villains can withstand Walter White or Heisenberg’s criminal genius. Walter White literally went from a school teacher to an international-level druglord in the span of just two years. Even a feat would have made Pablo Escobar green with envy and brimming with admiration. Heisenberg is simply too much for most television villains.

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That’s why we turn our attention to Hollywood with its more dramatic flair for theatrics and over-the-top antagonists. How exactly does Heisenberg match up against these villains ought to be quite an interesting subject since he’s one of the few television villains to actually succeed. For the sake of more objective comparison, these Hollywood villains are all human and have no superpowers. Will Heisenberg still be the danger when it comes to these Hollywood heavyweights or will he just someone who answers the door when they knock? Let’s find out.



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Norman Bates from the classic 1960 Psycho movie by Alfred Hitchcock has been hailed as one of the most deceptive movie villains ever since his first appearance. Coming off as an eccentric and innocent hotel caretaker at the start of the movie, we’re slowly given glimpses and hints of who Norman really is until he finally gets tired of putting on a facade and goes full psychopath.

Norman is certainly as smart as he needs to be in order to be a successful serial killer whose usual victims are helpless damsels. Even so, he doesn’t quite hold up well to Walter White’s capacity for calculated mass murders. His deeds and his persona simply pale in comparison to Walter White’s who most often just kills because his mental math dictates he should.


Kevin Spacey as Keyser Soze

Hailing from the 1995 film The Usual Suspects is Kevin Spacey’s Keyser Soze, a cunning and devious “perfect criminal.” His safety persona is even more compelling and believable than Heisenberg’s, being a handicapped and seemingly harmless man. Turns out Keyser is a leader of the criminal underworld and he did it so quite effortlessly.

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Heisenberg might be a master at maintaining a poker face, but he still got made out by Hank. Keyser Soze was so skilled at lying to everyone that he even appears to convince himself that he’s not Keyser Soze. Keyser’s mastery for theatrics and deception is a cut above Walter White and he doesn’t seem to have any emotional weakness.


Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men

As ruthless as Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men might be, Walter White has simply faced more ruthless criminals. Anton is most notably represented in his own film as a hand of fate, a chaotic and intelligent serial killer who sometimes uses coins to determine someone’s life or death.

That alone should give Heisenberg enough luck to just about avoid being killed by someone like Anton. Moreover, Walter White has survived men like Anton, namely the cousins from the Salamanca Cartel family who are just as effective or as violent as he is. The rule of thumb here is that if he’s more badass than Walt, then he’ll likely find a way to defeat him.


Sure, being a drug lord and taking over two drug empires is impressive, but taking on the Avengers and succeeding in a mere matter of months? That’s something not many human villains can claim to have achieved. That’s exactly what Zemo did in Captain America: Civil War. He drove a wedge between the Avengers, making Captain America and Iron Man nearly killed each other.

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What’s even more astonishing is that Zemo mostly did all this alone and without a lackey or expendable human chess pieces. By comparison, Walter White could not have done about a third of what he did without Jesse Pinkman.


Inglourious Basterds Hans Landa

Col. Hans Landa from Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds is what made Christopher Waltz win his first Oscar. Hans is a master manipulator Nazi officer and can sniff out his victims from a mile away no matter how hard someone tries to hide them. Through this, Hans has risen through the ranks of the Nazi secret service and became one of the highlights of Tarantino’s movies.

Grand and inquisitive as he may be, Landa never really showed much skill other than interrogation and torture. Moreover, Walter White has faced and killed more threatening Nazis (Jack Welker) in his own shows. Walt will easily find a way to poison or surprise Hans with his chemistry experiments and whatnot.


Hannibal Lecter wearing the Bite Mask from Red Dragon

As bad as Walter White might have been, he’s not exactly pure evil. The Devil certainly won’t find him exceptional enough to turn into a VIP in hell. That spot is best reserved for someone like Hannibal Lecter, a sophisticated cannibal whose mind is as deep as the abyss itself and filled with depravities and psychosis. Coupled with his own brand of genius, Hannibal is a walking terror.

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Lecter is smart enough to escape a personal maximum security prison just by himself and with little to no tools other than human skin and his own mind. It’s just hard to imagine Walter White coming up with something even remotely similar without his Jesse Pinkman or his chemistry set.


Hans Gruber holding a gun in Die Hard

If you spend Christmas watching movies with your family, there’s no way you missed Hans Gruber from 1988’s Die Hard. Hans is a mastermind and one who planned big by deciding to steal $640 million and simultaneously inciting a hostage crisis in order to mask their grand heist. If it weren’t for Bruce Willis, Hans would have gotten away with it.

Sure, $640 million is huge, but you also have to factor in the multiple-way split since Hans has minions. Walter White could have easily made that much from his short-lived drug empire alone and with fewer people to split it with. In the contest of using your smarts to get money, Heisenberg wins here for being more careful and with better long-term results.


John Kramer, better known as Jigsaw from Saw, is about as brutal and macabre as villains go. He’s probably just as depraved as Hannibal when it comes to torture. Jigsaw loves to toy with his victim with elaborate contraptions and psychological methods before ending them.

RELATED: Breaking Bad: 10 Ways Walter White Changes From Season 1 To The Finale

Sure, Heisenberg can kill him if he ever does find out who Jigsaw is but as with all the Saw movies, Jigsaw has possibly planned for that outcome as well since he’s a dying man himself. He’ll be there alright, ready to torment Walter White long after he has left Earth. That’s how persistent he can be.


Sharon Stone Interrogation Scene in Basic Instinct

Now for the battle of who’s the bigger narcissistic villain, we present you with Catherine Tramell from Basic Instinct. Catherine, from the moment she could walk and talk, has always been a criminal and it was suggested that her first victims were her parents. Her modus operandi revolves around seducing people and then murdering them to fuel her literature career as a murder novelist.

How well will she fare against a fellow narcissist like Walter White? Sadly, Walter White is a good father and a decent husband, meaning he’s not really susceptible to Catherine’s games. If anything, Walter can easily find a way to shut her down just as he dealt with Lydia, Catherine does appear to like drinking and smoking.


Finally, we have here another crimelord just like Heisenberg, the crown prince of crime himself, Joker. We’ll be referring to the Joker from 2008’s The Dark Knight. That one easily took on several crime families including the Russian and Italian mafia in Gotham, that’s something even Heisenberg won’t be able to do in such a short timespan.

Moreover, Joker’s unpredictability and lack of empathy or weakness will make it hard for Heisenberg to know how to deal with such a menace. The Joker might even just destroy Heisenberg’s international drug network for giggles, proving once and for all that Walter White is not the danger he makes himself out to be.

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