Columns, Opinion

Flick Critique: The five best and worst sidekicks

Sidekicks have been protagonists’ counterparts since the beginning of time. While they are often overlooked, sidekicks offer valuable contributions to films. Today, we will discuss the five best and worst sidekicks that made it on the big screen.

On the best sidekicks, we have to start off with a true classic: Chewbacca. The Wookiee has been a key member of the “Star Wars” franchise for decades. While he is unable to speak, his moans and groans still manage to help his friends and teammates, and even make him one of the most beloved characters of all time. Chewbacca breaks from the stereotypical mold given to most sidekicks, and yet, even incomprehensible, he still manages to save the day and win the hearts of audiences.

Another non-understandable sidekick has to be Mini-Me from the “Austin Powers” series. While he does not speak, he still adds a different dynamic to these movies, serving as the villain’s helper. Not only can Mini-Me fight his own battles, he also tries to help Dr. Evil and serve as a helpful addition, despite losing to Austin Powers. Unlike the previous two examples, in some rare instances, the sidekick manages to complement the protagonist and sometimes even outshine them.

The most obvious example is Kato from “The Green Hornet,” as his amazing martial arts skills come in handy to save The Green Hornet. However, this approach of outshining the protagonist seldom happens as the most common sidekick is one who works alongside the protagonist. Perhaps the most well-known example is Watson from “Sherlock Holmes.” Not only does Watson help Sherlock resolve his complicated cases, but he also provides a sensitive and more humane side to his companion’s analytical nature. Watson goes beyond helping him professionally and contributes to Sherlock’s personal development.

Another case of a loyal and caring sidekick is Batman’s butler: Albert. While Robin is perhaps the most famous sidekick of all time, he sometimes does more harm than good. Albert, while perhaps not the most conventional definition of a sidekick, serves as a second father to Batman and is always concerned for Bruce Wayne’s well-being and safety.

Now, onto the worst sidekicks of all time. These sidekicks manage to find a way to complicate the protagonist’s life or just annoy audiences. On the flipside to Chewbacca’s great courage is C-3PO’s cowardice. C-3PO — while helpful in some instances — frequently ends up making the protagonists’ goals to save the galaxy more difficult. Additionally, his constant complaining and uptight comments make him a less than desirable sidekick.

Donkey from “Shrek” is another example of a sidekick who has no valuable contribution to the protagonist’s mission. While entertaining at first, his constant meddling and incessant whining soon become irritating and ineffective for the movie’s development and progress.

Another prime example of a sidekick who simply wants to be in the limelight at the expense of the protagonist’s well-being is Mushu in “Mulan.” Rather than help his admirable owner, Mulan, Mushu tries to sabotage her happiness with Li Shang for his own personal gain. While Mulan always looks out for others, this is even more reprehensible when her companion only acts against her for selfish reasons.

Ron from the “Harry Potter” franchise is a prime example of a sidekick who ends up being useless at the end of the day. Whenever Harry Potter feels alone or needs his friend, Ron is jealous, leaving him alone during his times of despair. Ron’s lack of character and maturity are only detrimental to Harry Potter’s well-being.

Finally, one of the worst sidekicks has to be Walter Sobchak from “The Big Lebowski.” Walter’s greed and reckless behavior endanger not only himself but also his best friends’ safety. He makes rash decisions without discussing them with The Dude, who is at the forefront of all of these choices and their possible consequences. Regardless, Walter chooses to ignore his friend’s concern, acting out of sheer impulse for the sake of it.

Sidekicks are valuable additions to films’ plots and character developments. Whether they help the protagonist save the day or manage to do the complete opposite, sidekicks almost always add depth to movies and shape them to be the stories we know and love today.

One Comment

  1. Excellent article! You made me laugh!