Maxim Horvath is the main antagonist of The Sorcerer's Apprentice. He was once one of Merlin's apprentices, but turned to the dark arts after his love interest favored his best friend, and became a follower of Morgana le Fay. He leads the Morganians and seeks to set Morgana free and help her unleash the curse known as The Rising.
He is portrayed by Alfred Molina who also played Doctor Octopus.
The Sorcerer's Apprentice
During the Arthurian era, Maxim Horvath, Balthazar Blake, and Veronica Gorloisen were disciples of the legendary Merlin. The aging sorcerer granted them eternal youth until they found and trained his heir. For centuries, they assisted their master against his worst enemy, the dreaded Morgana le Fay. The three were at first very close, but their mutual love for Veronica eventually split Maxim and Balthazar apart. Maxim could not bear that Veronica chose Balthazar over him and turned to Morgana out of petty jealousy.
With Horvath's help, Morgana murdered Merlin and gained the secret of the most evil curse in existence: the Rising, which would raise every dead sorcerers from the grave under their control, as an army they could use to take over the entire world. Balthazar and Veronica confronted and defeated Morgana, but at a terrible price, for Veronica was forced to seal Morgana's soul within herself and Balthazar had to seal her into a magic nesting doll called The Grimhold, to save her from being possessed. Horvath then disappeared, spending the following centuries recruiting and forming evil sorcerers to aid in his search for the Grimhold.
Horvath and Balthazar battled throughout the ages, with Balthazar trapping several of Horvath's agents into the Grimhold, finally bringing their conflict to modern-day Manhattan (It is implied that he defeated many more of Horvath's agents in more classical ways, only sealing the most powerful of them.)
Balthazar is now leader of the Merlineans: wizards who use magic for the benefit of mankind; while Horvath is the leader of the Morganians, who use magic as a mean to subjugate humans. This conflict lasted until Balthazar defeated Horvath and sealed him away in the Grimhold in his turn. (The novelization reveals that Horvath got trapped during the 1920s.)
In the year 2000, a ten-year-old boy named Dave Stutler ventured into Balthazar's antique shop, the Arcana Cabana, and was recognized by Merlin's magic Dragon Ring as none other than the fabled Prime Merlinean: Merlin's descendant who is to inherit all his powers and defeat Morgana once and for all. Unfamiliar with his newfound power, Dave accidentally stumbled upon the Grimhold and freed Horvath. Balthazar battled his old enemy once again, and after a violent struggle the two got stuck in a magic urn called the The Grimlock.
Ten years later, Dave is a physics student traumatized by the battle who grew up target to much ridicule, since none believed him after the magic disappeared with both sorcerers. As Dave is spending time with Becky Barnes, a female music student he loves since his childhood, the two sorcerers are finally freed. Horvath escapes first and throws the Grimlock through the window, but Balthazar escapes before the urn shatters dozens of stories below.
Horvath sneaks into Dave's flat and demands the Grimhold, but Dave threw it away. As Dave escapes, he brings to life a pack of wolves from a calendar's picture and sends them after him. Dave only owes his life to Balthazar, who turns the wolves into puppies and takes him away on one of the Chrysler Building's giant steel eagle statues, which he animated. He then starts training Dave in basic form of sorcery, much to his student's dismay.
On his track of the Grimhold, Horvath casually kills a passer-by after using used a form of clairvoyance magic to track down the Grimhold, finding out that it was taken by a Chinese woman. Knowing this, he goes to Chinatown during a celebration, but Dave and Balthazar are on their way as well. Horvath transforms into an old Chinese shop-keeping lady (probably the one who took the Grimhold and whom he murdered) to ambush Balthazar, but he sees through the disguise.
Unfortunately, Horvath found the Grimhold and released his old apprentice Sun Lok, who turns the parade dragon into a real one. Balthazar subdues his old foe and takes away the Grimhold, while Dave succeeds in defeating the Dragon, crushing Sun Lok under its weight. They take shelter into Dave's laboratory, but not before Horvath witnesses Dave's spellcasting.
Through suggestion of a mysterious fry cook who follows Morganians, Horvath recruits the foolish illusionist Drake Stone as his apprentice and sends him after Dave. Both sorcerers attack Dave in New York University's bathroom, but Balthazar once again saves his disciple, trapping Horvath in a Hungarian Mirror Trap. Once freed by Drake, Horvath compels the school's clerk into telling him Dave's whereabouts.
Drake transforms into Dave to take Balthazar by surprise and subdues him, and Horvath casts a fog spell to locate the Grimhold, which Balthazar turned invisible. Balthazar frees himself and engages a fight, getting nearly killed by Horvath's daggers, but Dave barges him and saves him at the last second. Horvath and Drake escape in Drake's car, with Dave and Balthazar in hot pursuit.
During the ensuing car race, Horvath transforms his car following his needs (stealth or speed) before trapping them into a Hungarian Mirror Trap of his own and destroying all the mirrors through which they could exit, but they escape through a shard before it shatters; so he turns his car into a truck to crush their own, before temporarily shape-shifting a woman into Veronica to distract Balthazar and flee.
Back at Drake's lavish condo, Horvath uses the Parasite Spell to drain his now useless apprentice's life-force, taking his enchanted skull ring as well, and uses them to free the legendary witch Abigail Williams from the Grimhold. He sends her capture Becky and steals her life-force and her own pendant amulet as well after she succeeds.
When Dave and Balthazar venture in to settle the score, they find the plans he drawn for casting the Rising, but Balthazar gets trapped by a Persian Quickrug. With Horvath holding Becky hostage and Balthazar too busy to save himself from the quickrug, Dave has no choice but to relinquish his Dragon Ring. Horvath then scares both Dave and Becky with a stray plasma bolt before leaving satisfied.
Horvath goes to Battery Park, at the centre of the buildings he chose for the pentagram formation needed for the Rising ritual. He frees Morgana, who is fully possessing Veronica, and Balthazar resolves to face them alone. Morgana orders Horvath to destroy the Grimhold and starts casting the Rising, but they are stopped by Balthazar who engages a decisive duel against his old foe. Alas, he is no longer a match for Horvath, who wields Drake's Ring, Abigail's Pendant and the Dragon Ring, all placed on Horvath's Cane.
Horvath animates a nearby Charging Bull statue to kill Balthazar. Fortunately, Dave comes to the rescue in Balthazar's car, on which he installed a makeshift Tesla coil (his expert subject in physics), knowing that all the Talismans Horvath put on his cane would make it a better conductor. Before Horvath can attack, he gets zapped by the coils’ discharge and blasted away by Balthazar, while the giant eagle statue flies off with the bull statue.
Just as the ceremony starts, rising dead sorcerers from the grave began to manifest physically all over the world, Becky (who was told about magic and Morganians and insisted on helping Dave) succeeds in disabling the satellite dish on top of one of the buildings, disrupting the energy flow and dispelling the Rising. With Morgana knocked out by the backlash, Balthazar attempts to absorb her soul to free Veronica, but Morgana briefly possesses him and escapes as a spirit.
With both Veronica and Balthazar recovering from the possession, Morgana attempts to kill them with a tremendous onslaught of fire, but Dave rushes to shield them and conjures a huge magic shield-like screen without his ring, awakening as the Prime Merlinean. Morgana then blasts them all with very powerful Plasma Bolts, grievously wounding Balthazar.
Enraged, Dave retaliates with equally powerful bolts, however, being a spirit, she makes them pass through her. She unleashes a tremendous barrage he can barely block and seemingly gains the upper-hand. Still, it turns out that one of Dave spells, which only looked like a Plasma Bolt, animated a janitor's mop to activate the high-voltage cabin, turning the surrounding lamps into another makeshift Tesla coil. Morgana is then zapped and turned solid by all the electric power in the district, enabling Dave to blast her into oblivion and destroy her once and for all.
Immediately after, Dave heals Balthazar, who can now reopen the Arcana Cabana and live his remaining time with Veronica, while Dave and Becky fly away on the eagle statue across the Atlantic Ocean to take breakfast in Paris.
What happened to Horvath after the final battle remains unknown, but since Balthazar mentioned that electrocution causes a sorcerer to lose his magic, it is fair to assume that he is now powerless, and will finish his life destitute, unable to threaten anyone ever again and having to provide for himself with normal means. However, the film's stinger shows the unidentified figure of a man with a cane, heavily implied to be him, retrieving his hat from the Arcana Cabana (this was meant to tease for a possible sequel, which was never made).