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Kent Mansley

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Villain Overview
Kent Mansley, I work for the Government.
~ Kent Mansley

Kent Mansley is the main antagonist of Warner Brothers' 1999 animated feature film, The Iron Giant.

He is a federal government agent who was sent to investigate a gigantic iron robot coming from outer space and into Rockwell. However, he secretly plans to boost his career once he gains evidence of the Giant's existence.

He was voiced by Christopher McDonald who also played Kerr, Shooter McGavin, and Wilson Croft.

History

Kent first appeared following an unidentified object that has landed near the city of Rockwell and fed through a power relay station. He heads over to investigate the incident himself, where he finds a broken BB gun. He is later seen at a railroad crash, where two engineers explain that they saw a giant robot man (known as the Iron Giant) before the collision on the tracks. At first, Kent doesn't believe them, but is shocked to see his car chomped off (presumably by the Iron Giant himself).

Kent goes over to Annie Hughes' residence to use their phone, where he explains his discovery to General Rogard. However, Rogard doesn't believe him, but suggests to Kent that he get some evidence first before hanging up. Eventually, Kent learns that the BB gun actually belongs to Annie's son Hogarth (the protagonist of the film), so he decides to rent a room in the Hughes residence to keep a close eye on the boy, much to the latter's anger. Eventually, Kent manages to get hold of a picture of Hogarth and the Giant, so Kent interrogates Hogarth of the Giant's location, threatening to have him permanently removed from Annie's care if he refuses to oblige. Dejected, Hogarth confesses that the Giant is currently in the local junkyard owned by an old friend and beatnik artist named Dean McCoppin. Delighted by this, Kent confines Hogarth to his room (even nailing his window shut to prevent him from escaping). He sends over the evidence to Rogard, who agrees to send in some soldiers to the junkyard tomorrow morning. Satisfied, Kent confines himself to his room, keeping a close eye on Hogarth all night.

The next day, Kent brings over Rogard and the soldiers to the junkyard to capture the Giant. However, Dean manages to have the Giant pose as an art sculpture to avoid attention, resulting an angry Rogard to berate Kent for wasting millions of dollars over a silly investigation. Rogard then tells Kent to pack up and leave for Washington to face dismissal. However, the town becomes aware of the Iron Giant's existence after he was forced to reveal himself to save two boys from falling from a balcony. Spotting the Giant walking through town, Kent points him out to Rogard and the soldiers, lying to them that the Giant is attacking the town (though the citizens don't consider the Giant as a threat as they witnessed him rescuing the boys). This led the army to attack the Iron Giant with their gunfire, forcing the Giant to run off with Hogarth in his hands. However, the Giant is struck down by several aircraft, allowing Kent and the army to close in to his location. Upon seeing Hogarth having seemingly died from the gunfire and Kent ordering the soldiers to continue shooting, the Giant was forced to activate his self-defense mechanism to fight back. Kent even took the opportunity to lie to Rogard that the Giant killed Hogarth in order to authorize a missile launch to the robot's current position from a nearby submarine. Fortunately, Hogarth regains consciousness and arrives to calm the Giant to his normal state while Dean informs Rogard of the self-defense mechanism that the Giant can't control. The Giant then presents Hogarth to the army to prove that he's not a threat, making Rogard realize that Kent lied to him. However, Kent doesn't care and demands Rogard to launch the missile at the Giant, but Rogard refuses and instead orders his men to stand down, as he doesn't want to provoke the Giant into attacking them again.

Rogard then tries to call the submarine to abort the missile launch, but Kent (still believing that the Giant is a threat) refuses to back down and instead snatches Rogard's radio, ordering the submarine to fire the missile at once. Upon hearing this, Rogard angrily berates Kent, informing him that it will result not only the Giant's death, but also the destruction of Rockwell (since the Giant is still residing in the town). Kent suggests that they can duck and cover, but the General furiously tells him that there is no way to survive this and also informs they are all going to die for our country. Despite realizing this, Kent refuses to take any regard in the town's fate and instead renounces his patriotism before trying to escape from Rockwell on a stolen jeep. Fortunately, Kent was stopped by the Giant, who then allows Rogard's soldiers to arrest Kent before the Giant had to sacrifice himself to the missile in order to save Rockwell.

It is unknown what happened to Kent afterwards, but it is presumed that he was arrested and sent to prison for his crimes and treachery.

Personality

Although suave, respectful, and well-mannered on the outside, Kent Mansley is a paranoid, cunning, ruthless, egocentric, and manipulative agent with a hunger to further his own career. Scripted as a lowly agent in Washington, Kent has spent most of his life as an unnoticed federal government agent working in a cubicle. With the possibility of a "monster" in Rockwell, Kent hopes to advance his career and become a hero by destroying the creature lurking in the woods of Maine. Through his charm and charisma alone, he is able to fool both Annie Hughes and General Rogard into trusting him, proving his power of manipulation. However, like many villains, Mansley is very relentless and argumentative in his quest to seek his ultimate goals; contrastingly, he is also afraid. Mansley mainly exemplifies the era of Cold War fear over the creation of the Soviet Sputnik 1; he does not care who created the Giant or whether it is actually dangerous: it must be destroyed for the safety of humanity. However, his paranoia is also his greatest weakness, as his own foolishness causes him to launch a nuclear missile toward Rockwell and its citizens in his attempt to destroy the giant.

Mansley also appears to be rather aggressive, cantankerous, and short-tempered as well. As time passes, Mansley's techniques become more vicious in desperation to find the giant. Mansley not only harasses Hogarth for his knowledge of the Giant but openly loses his temper and corners Hogarth on two separate occasions. After finding a photograph of the Iron Giant, Mansley even traps Hogarth in the shed by his home and interrogates him, while his mother is away at work. He even threatens to take Hogarth from his mother to pry the information he needs out of him, before cruelly knocking him out and trapping him in his room to prevent him from helping his friends. His cruelty is only rivaled by his cowardice though. Even after dooming the city of Rockwell, Mansley refuses to take note of the town's fate and tries to escape Rockwell in order to save himself, leaving the rest of the citizens to fend for themselves and likely perish.

Quotes

Part 1

Every once in a while, things happen that just can't be rationalized in a conventional way. People want to know that their government has a response. I am that response.
~ Kent Mansley to Marv Loach.
Two nights ago, at approximately 1900 hours, S.A.T. com radar detected an unidentified flying object entering Earth's atmosphere, losing contact with it two-and-a-half miles off the coast of Rockwell. Some assumed it was a large meteor, or a downed satellite, but my office in Washington received a call from someone reporting an actual encounter with the object. This is no meteor, gentlemen. This is something much more serious.
~ Kent Mansley discussing about the information to the mayor of Rockwell and his associates.
Hey there, scout! Kent Mansley, I work for the government.
~ Kent Mansley first meeting Hogarth.
All right, fine. You want evidence? I'll get you evidence! And when I do, I'm gonna want a memo distributed. And I wanna have that memo carbon-copied and REDISTRIBUTED!! AND-
~ Kent Mansley arguing with General Rogard on the phone at the Hughes' residence before Rogard hangs up.
"Hogarth?" That's an embarrassing name. They might as well have called him "Zeppo" or something. What kind of person would name their kid "Hogar...? (stops and looks over to Hogarth's smashed B-B gun which Kent found at the power station. It reads part of Hogarth's name: Hog- Hug) Hog Hug? HOG HUG? 'HOGARTH HUGHES!! (screeches his car to a stop)
~ Kent Mansley discovering the B-B Gun he found at the power station belongs to Hogarth.
You know, Hogarth, we live in a strange and wondrous time: the Atomic Age. But there's a dark side to progress, Hogarth. Ever hear of Sputnik? Foreign satellite, Hogarth, and all that implies. Even now, it orbits overhead. Watching us.
~ Kent Mansley tells Hogarth about the satellite at the Pharmacy having an ice cream shake
We can't see it, but it's there. Much like that giant thing in the woods. We don't know what it is or what it can do. I don't feel safe, Hogarth. Do you?
~ Kent Mansley tells Hogarth that the Giant was in the woods and thinks he was never safe.
What am I talking about? What am I TALKING ABOUT?! I'm talking about your goldarn security, Hogarth! While you're snoozing in your little jammies, back in Washington we're wide awake and worried. Why? Because everyone wants what we have, Hogarth. EVERYONE! You think this metal man is fun, but who built it? The Russians? The Chinese? The Martians? Canadians? I DON'T CARE! All I know is, we didn't build it, and that's reason enough to assume the worst and blow it to Kingdom Come! Now, you are going to tell me about this thing, you are going to lead me to it, and we are going to destroy it before it destroys us! [his stomach gurgles]... Hold that thought and stay right there! [Rushes to the restroom]
~ Kent Mansley's tirade towards Hogarth.
Thanks! I think I'm feeling better now. Much. Much better...
~ Kent Mansley tells Annie the he feeling little better with the toilet paper.
You're late for dinner, Hogarth. (locks Hogarth in the barn) Your mom's working late tonight, Hogarth. So it's just us guys. And we're gonna have a little chat. Sit down! How's that? A little too bright? Good. Forgive me, Hogarth. I wanted you to learn something. (Hogarth: What can I learn from you?) You can learn this, Hogarth, that I can do anything I want whenever I want if I feel it's in the people's best interest. The giant metal man. Where is it? (Hogarth: I don't know what's you're talking about.) You don't? Well. Does this ring a bell? No? How about this? (shows a picture of Hogarth and the Giant) You've been careless, Hogarth.
~ Kent Mansley interrogating Hogarth of the Giant's location.
It's enough to get the Army here with one phone call. (Hogarth: Then what's stopping you?!) WHERE'S THE GIANT?! You can't protect him, Hogarth, any more than you can... protect your mother. (Hogarth: My mom?) It's difficult to raise a boy all alone. We can make it more difficult. In fact, we can make it so difficult that it would be irresponsible for us to leave you in her care. And all of that implies... you'll be taken away from her, Hogarth. (Hogarth: You can't do that!) Oh, we can... and we will.
~ Kent Mansley threatening to have Hogarth removed from Annie's care if he doesn't tell anything.

Part 2

The junkyard, of course! Food for the metal eater. I wouldn't worry about this, Hogarth. This isn't really happening. It's only... a bad dream.
~ Kent Mansley getting the Giant's location from Hogarth before drugging him to sleep.
Yes, sir. This thing is real, sir. I not only have incontrovertible evidence General, I know where it's hidden. I don't know who built it, but it's here and massive and we're running out of time. There's no doubt we should act. The only question sir is...can you afford not to? Excellent, sir. You won't regret it. Thank you, sir.
~ Kent Mansley having a conversation on the phone with General Rogard.
The army arrives in the morning, Hogarth. Don't get cute. I'll be watching you.
~ Kent Mansley claims that he will keep on eye on Hogarth all night.
Please call me Kent.
~ Annie Hughes mistakes Kent's last name is "Mansley".
All right, where is it? (Dean: What?) You know darn well what. The monster. The giant thing. The metal man.
~ Kent Mansley describes the Giant that was the metal man.
Stop! Look! Look behind you! The giant, it's attacking! It's stomping the town! I was right! Look, damn you!
~ Kent Mansley notice that the Giant was attacking its town.
This is all your fault, beatnik! (Dean: Will you shut up and listen?! You gotta make them stop! The Giant's got the kid with him!) I'll take care of it. (Dean leaves) He said the monster has killed a kid. Sir, we must stop it at all costs.
~ Kent Mansley lying to General Rogard that the Giant killed Hogarth.
Just shoot at it!
~ Kent Mansley orders one of the soldiers to shoot towards the Giant.
Let's get out of here!
~ Kent Mansley escapes from the Giant.
Drive, baby, drive! Step on it! Floor it! It's gaining on us! Faster! Faster! Faster! Hurry!
~ Kent Mansley was screaming using his words to flee from the Giant.
Not everything, general. The bomb. The Nautilus isn't far offshore. (Rogard: You scare me, Mansley. You want us to bomb ourselves in order to kill it?) General, the giant seems to follows whatever it attacks it. We can lure it away from the town, then destroy it.
~ Kent Mansley convincing Rogard to use a missile to destroy the Giant.
Don't listen, General! Destroy the monster while we still have the chance! (Dean: General, you shoot now, and the whole thing starts all over again!) Stop it now, General! Our future's at stake!
~ Kent Mansley begs the General to destroy the Giant despite Dean's objections.

Part 3

It's a trick! Launch the missile!
~ Kent Mansley tells the General to launch the missile after his lies are exposed.
LAUNCH THE MISSILE NOW!!!
~ Kent Mansley ordering the Nuke launched at the Giant, standing about five feet away from him.
Screw our country! I WANNA LIVE!
~ Kent Mansley's last line.

Trivia

  • Mansley is similar to the following villains:
    • Harold Attinger from Transformers: Age of Extinction: They are government agents who seek to advance their positions by destroying alien threats, and are ruthless, paranoid and manipulative, but Mansley is far less evil.
    • Mitsuo Yamaki from Digimon Tamers. They are government agents who wanted to destroy creatures that are beyond human, and antagonize the kids that are guarding the creatures from them. They lose their positions after their schemes to get rid of the creatures failed and they got exposed. The only difference is that Yamaki reformed and regained his position, while Kent didn't.
    • Tzekel-Kan from The Road To El Dorado. They are paranoid, corrupt officials, seek to exploit the heroes' traits, and work with the leader of a destructive organization (General Rogard of the Military, Cortes of the Conquistadors), only to have the latter turn on them.
    • Carter J. Burke from Aliens. They are corrupt officials bent on destroying nonhuman entities, and are revealed to be cowards in the end when they try to leave the protagonists to die from their mistakes.