With Kristen Stewart an Oscar heavyweight, Robert Pattinson playing “The Batman,” and the Twilight Renaissance showing no signs of slowing down, there’s no better time than now to take a look back at everyone’s favorite family of vampires: the Cullens. More than a decade ago, moviegoers around the world fell in love with them; today, where do the members of the Cullen clan rank on a likeability scale?
Just because you might think it would be fun to hang out with Alice or Carlisle, that doesn’t mean we should all be inclined to choose the least intimidating Cullens. Some, like Emmett, are utterly lovable precisely because they are likely to rip the throats out of anyone who attempts to harm a friend. When you need an undead being to protect, defend or come to your aid, there’s something very likable about that.
Some of the other Cullens might be the least intimidating dinner guests; it is only beneath their warm smile and friendly disposition that vampiric tendencies lie in wait. There are so many different factors playing into likeability, one must consider a variety of different aspects of each vampire’s personality. Considering moral core, general disposition, and a host of other character traits, here’s a comprehensive breakdown of the most copacetic Cullens.
Jasper (Jackson Rathbone) finishes last in terms of likeability for a number of reasons — and the character certainly has his die-hard fans who’ll be disappointed, but when you’re ranking Cullens, its hard to put his personality anywhere near the top.
Chief among his less-than-likeable attributes are a haunting blankness (as both a character and as a screen presence) and the ensuing creepiness that accompanies it. Perhaps the least interesting of the Cullen clan in the films, it is ironic considering he has the power to influence emotions, often manifested as a powerful charisma. It’s Jasper’s lot in life to look blank, and there often isn’t much beyond that.
While Rathbone gave a committed physical performance, portraying Jasper like he was in eternal agony, such hints at the chaos swirling inside the character don’t offer much to latch on to from the outside. The look is intended to convey Jasper’s struggle with his newfound “vegetarianism” (meaning only animal and not human blood); instead of coming off like a volatile bomb that could go off at any moment, however, his unrelenting anguish sometimes just seems like he needs to loosen up.
While many of the other Cullens can come across as intimidating (Rosalie’s temper, for instance, is not something you’d want to encounter), Jasper is heavy on the creepy, light on the charisma.
While the success of the entire “Twilight” franchise hinges on Edward’s likeability — after all, if you don’t believe that Bella would risk it all to be with him, its entire central plot falls apart — he really isn’t all that likable, at least as a character. Sure, Robert Pattinson is a handsome, charismatic actor, and plenty of people long to spend time with a mysterious, hot guy. But although he never fails to make Bella feel special, when we consider his actions, he leaves something to be desired.
For starters, Edward has a pattern of abusive behavior, as well as a tendency to gaslight and take possessiveness to the extreme. While Edward does grow as a character over the four books (and five films), when the saga comes to its end, he still seems to harbor some questionable, if not backwards, ideas about sex. Some even argue that Edward’s stance makes the saga “anti-sex” overall.
The only reason Edward a notch better than Jasper in this ranking is because he at least has some depth. Recalling his moments of sweetness, charm, and physical prowess might be somewhat selective memory, but at least he gave the fanbase those memories.
Esme (Elizabeth Reaser) is both similar to and entirely opposite from Jasper. In the same way that Jasper doesn’t offer much as a character, Esme can be a bit one-note. The major difference is that Esme’s note is a warm, welcoming kindness — as far as single note characters go, she’s one of the better ones, in “Twilight” or any other franchise.
The warmth she exudes makes her a perfect matriarch to the large, often complicated Cullen clan. The love she has for each of her family members makes her well suited to ease tensions as they arise.
It’s also what makes her such a good partner for Carlisle, whose character is largely notable by his compassion. A caring, supportive partner to a character constantly working to save lives (and not always in the least complicated or morally clear ways), Esme is the backbone of the Cullen family. Carlisle may have brought them together, but she keeps them together, serving as a conflict-resolving matriarch and an always-supportive partner.
Emmett (Kellan Lutz) is a fan favorite for a reason: he’s fun. He’s the most boisterous and full of life (well, as full of life as vampires can be) of the clan, and that goes a long way. He may not be the most complicated character, but his joy and energy are infectious in almost any context, whether it be baseball or preparing for battle. He’s a himbo, in the best way. Which is also why he’s such a perfect partner for Rosalie — opposites attract for a reason, and they balance each other.
He’s also the funniest of the Cullens. After Edward and Bella, Emmett is likely the most memed character from the series. A number of these memes (unlike those featuring Edward and Bella who mostly have offered the internet templates) are extensions of his character in the movies, if not direct quotes of the funny, charming things he says. Then, of course, there’s the bag of eggs.
Carlisle (Peter Facinelli) is among the more complex characters in this family. He’s the reason the family exists as so-called “vegetarian” vampires, as well as the reason many of the members of the family became vampires. Carlisle saved Edward, Rosalie, Emmett, and Esme from death by turning them into vampires, just as they were about to die.
But he also struggles with guilt over his choices. After all, saving people’s lives by turning them into bloodsuckers who can’t sleep isn’t necessarily an entirely good deed. Even though these choices were born out of his great compassion and a desire to save lives, he has condemned these people to live as vampires — which would seem to clash with the Hippocratic Oath.
This is why he continues to practice as a doctor for human patients, using his heightened vampire senses to be the best physician he can be, saving lives and healing ailments to the best of his (superhuman) abilities. Carlisle is a great leader because of his compassion, inspiring those around him to care for others and do the right thing while leading by example.
Rosalie (Nikki Reed) is perhaps the most under-appreciated character in the entire Cullen family. One who can be easily mischaracterized as simply “the mean one,” Rosalie is stealthily among the most interesting, endearing members of the clan.
According to her backstory, Rosalie’s healthy skepticism of people is not unwarranted. When she was a human, she was raped, beaten, and left for dead by her fiance and his friends. Carlisle came to her rescue — and with newfound vampiric powers, she went on an avenging spree, killing each of the men who had wronged her, before turning her focus to the man who was supposed to love her, torturing him to death.
While Rosalie’s backstory would make for a thrilling revenge movie that deserves to be made as an R-rated spinoff, it also greatly informs her character’s present mindset. She doesn’t trust people easily, is often openly-hostile (an obvious defense mechanism), but she deeply loves those she has come to trust, and would do anything to protect them.
Alice (Ashley Greene) is perhaps the most important of the Cullens when it comes to plotlines in the “Twilight” movies. Yes, even more important than Edward.
Her ability to see the future plays a key role in almost every one of the films, and becomes one of the factors in the major conflict in “Breaking Dawn Part 2,” as the Volturi want Alice to join them so that they can make use of that power.
But beyond her importance to the story, Alice is also simply the most lovable of all the Cullens. From her very first moments on screen in “Twilight,” she exudes an inviting warmth and sense of whimsy. When Bella first visits the Cullen home, Alice is enthusiastic about having a new friend, and in “New Moon” she plans a birthday party for her new friend. Like Emmett, Alice would be a blast to hang out with — but she takes it to the next level, assertive and kind in equal measure. She employs her powers of foresight and love for design, fashion, and partying to make the lives of those around her the best she can, whether that means putting together a wedding or making plans to protect against an incoming attack.
Alice is also a huge fan favorite. She’s the focus of more “The Storytellers: New Voices of The Twilight Saga” short films than any other individual character, and some have argued that a reboot of the franchise should focus on her. Consider the fingers of “Twilight” fans everywhere firmly crossed.Internet Explorer Channel Network