Five Sidekicks That Make the Movie

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema
February 1st, 2013

Five Sidekicks That Make the Movie

Sidekicks are a common element in action movies and comic books, but some take their roles to the next level. These sidekicks don't only stand alongside their often-heroic partners making funny jokes or delivering snide asides; they become a part of the film that is commonly as important as their spotlight-centered partners. Whether they're providing an emotional anchor for moviegoers to experience the highs and lows of their films or enabling the heroes to get their jobs done, the action movies containing these sidekicks rely heavily on their wit, charm, or intelligence for their worldwide appeal.

Chewbacca - "Star Wars" (1977)

While many of the cast of "Star Wars" could be considered sidekicks to Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca holds a special place in the hearts of many fans. His relationship with Han Solo goes far beyond the slapstick roles of many sidekicks. Chewie brings both comic relief and drama to the entire Star Wars series. Moviegoers are likely to remember the wookiee from the moment he is introduced as the only alien to join the main crew to the agonizing howl he produces upon seeing his injured friend in "The Empire Strikes Back." Chewbacca set the standard for aliens and sidekicks that could be both ferocious and cuddly without becoming the butt of the main crew's humor.

James Carter - "Rush Hour" (1998)

Buddy cop movies are nothing new in the genre of action films, but "Rush Hour" took the buddy cop film to the next level. FBI detective James Carter is nothing short of hilarious as the wisecracking sidekick to Hong Kong detective Lee, played by iconic kung fu legend Jackie Chan. Carter brings levity to even the most dangerous and life-threatening moments, while still exuding the feel of camaraderie and brotherhood that buddy cop movies are all about. Many scenes in the movie serve to underscore the incredible bonding that takes place between the two law-enforcement officials, and Carter provides the perfect hook on which to hang such evocative emotions. The clash of urban American culture and Hong Kong or Chinese tradition provided fuel for many films in this series, with Carter constantly fanning the flames of comedy at every turn.

Samwise Gamgee - "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001)

"The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" was the first of three films full of excellent cast members, all of whom are worthy in their own right. This fantasy action film, however, relies heavily on the relationship between Frodo Baggins and his gardener, Samwise Gamgee. Sam is the perfect sidekick in many ways. He's loyal to a fault, willing to fight off ringwraiths and rangers alike with nothing more than a frying pan. He's willing to carry not only the burdens of his friend but literally carry his friend over many rocky and dangerous passes. The "Lord of the Rings" series could have ended very differently if not for Samwise's role at Mount Doom, and from the first film, he demonstrated his unwavering commitment to the Fellowship and Frodo in particular.

Lucius Fox - "Batman Begins" (2005)

Batman has had a number of sidekicks over the years, ranging from young male wards to tagalong children belonging to his closest friends and allies. Lucius Fox stands as one of the greatest sidekicks to join the caped crusader, even though he's never gone into a fight alongside the titular hero. In "Batman Begins," Fox quickly proves his worth as the head of the Applied Sciences division and shows that he's at least on par with the world's greatest detective, if not better than Batman himself, by synthesizing an antidote for a dangerous toxin in an incredibly short period of time. In later films, Fox remains the person that Batman turns to when he has to figure out everything from how to get into a plane without it landing to how to spy on an entire city.

Spock - "Star Trek" (2009)

Captain James T. Kirk sits at the helm of the original Enterprise in the "Star Trek" universe. He's rarely without his right-hand alien. Spock stands front and center in the newest version of the popular franchise, occasionally eclipsing even the gold-uniformed captain in the latest action movie based on the series. Spock's cold logic and war to contain his emotions provide a perfect foil to the hot-blooded and rash Kirk, who gives into his passions at every turn. The new film explores the rivalry between the two from their time in training to command of the Federation's flagship vessel.