Monday, September 23, 2013

The Top Ten Sidekicks in Movies

Many times a hero will have help on their journey.  Often overlooked, the sidekick becomes a useful tool for the protagonist.  They assist in fights, challenge the hero, or are written into the story to create romantic or comedic tension. Many show exceptional bravery and strength of character.  The following sidekicks really standout because they could be considered heroes in their own right. 

10.  Alfred Pennyworth from the Batman movies- Whether played by Michael Caine, Michael Gough, or Alan Napier, the character of Alfred has always been a steadfast and helpful butler.  He loves Bruce Wayne as if they were family and he understands much of why he must take up the mantle of Batman.  It makes him all the more interesting since he cares so much for the man he swore to protect. The major difference is that Michael Caine in the Dark Knight films seems to be mostly filled with a mass of sage advice where the others are a lot more selfless in their actions. All versions of Alfred show that they love and care for the versions of Bruce Wayne/Batman and want to help the boy they helped to raise.

9. Officer Anne Lewis from the RoboCop movies- Anne Lewis’s partner, Alex Murphy, died in the line of duty and was reanimated as the cyborg RoboCop.  She realized who he was and helped him recover his humanity.  Throughout the three movies she showed her skills until her untimely demise.  She stayed the course with all the glitches and emotional problems of Murphy and that made her a strong asset. Considering the hellhole that she patrolled, she was a collected individual and went into just about every situation with the poise that you’d expect from a professional police officer. 

8. Sallah from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade- Indiana Jones knows when he needs someone he can count on he can call on Sallah. As one of the strongest excavators in Egypt, Sallah is faithful and a strong friend.  When the Nazis blow up his brother’s car he goes out of his way to steal camels in compensation for the loss.  He is considered such a beloved character that Disney used his character and voice for the Indiana Jones ride at the Disney parks. He is a family man whose sense of humor and love of life is matched only by his quick wits.

7. Trinity from the Matrix movies- Trinity is an interesting character.  As the first character we are introduced to in the Matrix, she shows us that that some people really do know how to bend reality.  When it comes to finding Neo she is the one that introduces him to Morpheus. She moved much of the action of the films and was independently responsible for many of the events.  She didn’t even necessarily need to be attached at the hip of the main hero to do her part.  Trinity kept fighting until her death.

6. Russell from UP- Russell is the young man that befriends the elderly Carl Fredricksen. Together they go on an adventure in Carl’s floating house and find more interesting friends like a bizarre bird and a talking dog.  Russell is brave and is always willing to help.  At first Russell is out of enthusiasm to earn a merit badge, but soon after he becomes genuinely interested in assisting Carl and taking part in his adventure. Having him around helps both of them grow as characters and their story is great as a result. They face a lot of dangers but even grow to become something akin to family at the end of their tale.

5. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series- Hermione Granger seems to be the character that knows what’s going on.  She is the smart one and someone that shows her friends that she is willing to sacrifice a great deal to face the dangers her friends face.  In many cases the others in her circle seem to get by with the aid of dumb luck where she is book smart and knows when and where to bring those skills. As she grew as a character she found out how to use her wits more as well as her book smarts. She ended up turning into a very powerful and skilled witch.

4. Chewbacca from the original Star Wars trilogy- Chewbacca not only has the most memorable dialogue of the Star Wars films; he also has the greatest hairstyle.  He shows great skills at battle and at piloting.  Much like Han Solo, he is clearly a character that lives a free life and would do anything with for his friends.  Chewbacca’s loyalty is to his core.  If you mess with someone he cares about he will make you feel pain.  He is a tough sidekick and considering he can rip people’s arms out their sockets, he is a good one to keep on your side.

3. Spock from the Star Trek films- Spock is the sort of friend that you’d want to have at your side in any exploration or diplomatic activity.  He thinks logically, but in truth his logical attitude hides a very sensitive mind.  He would gladly sacrifice himself for his friends if he knew that it would serve the greater good.  It is a bold man that is willing to take that sort of action.  Besides that, his Vulcan abilities give him enhanced strength, keen intellect, and an ability to mind meld with any creature with intelligence (which can be keen in lots of situations).

2. Doctor Emmett Brown from the Back to the Future movies- In all the versions of history, Doc Brown has been helpful, if a little absent-minded.  He has shown that no matter what, he cares for Marty McFly and the human condition.  He wants nothing more than to make a better life for Marty’s family and occasionally himself.  There is no real explanation as to how Marty and Doc Brown became friends, but one thing is for sure- as long as there is a Hill Valley, there will be a McFly and Brown and they will be together causing havoc.

1. Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings trilogy- Possibly the greatest friend in literature and on film.  Samwise risks life and limb to stay by his friend Frodo.  He is even told several times he can leave, yet he refuses despite how tempting the option must be for him.  He eventually comes to terms with the grave possibility of his own death. Samwise is willing to carry Frodo up Mount Doom when it appears Frodo is too weak to carry the ring. He stays the course, showing how incredibly brave he is and in the end of it all, shows that he is one of the strongest of the smallest races in Middle Earth.
In the end, these sidekicks have proven themselves heroes in their own right.  Each one of them is brave. They are all amazing and unique and show that they are loyal to their friends.   The next time you watch a movie be sure to save a salute for the sidekicks. They are often the glue that holds the stories that we love together.

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