The recent trailers and clips for Kick-Ass — the upcoming big-screen adaptation of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.’s ultraviolent comic — have wisely focused on Hit Girl, the young, foulmouthed superheroine played by Chloe Moretz. Having seen the movie and read the comic, I can tell you that Hit Girl is the highlight of both. (Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if her name were the title of the sequel.)
Once the film hits theaters, on April 16, the high-kicking, quick-witted Hit Girl will go down as one of the best sidekicks in comic-book-movie history. But it’s a shame she isn’t in better company: take a look at other big-screen superhero sidekicks and you’ll find some sorry characters. But fear not — there are also plenty of resourceful heroes who do more than just stand around waiting to get captured. Check out some of the best and worst sidekicks below.
Best: Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz), Kick-Ass
If you’re waging war against the underworld, you could do worse than to have a pint-size version of Uma Thurman’s character in Kill Bill by your side. Trained by Big Daddy (Nic Cage) as a pigtailed killing machine, Hit Girl dispatches bad guys with sword, knives, and old-fashioned kung-fu moves. Whereas Kick-Ass is a wannabe fanboy in green tights, Hit Girl is the real deal.
Worst: Robin (Chris O’Donnell), Batman & Robin
In comic books, Robin is arguably the greatest sidekick of all time. On the big screen, he is a complete disaster. Falling in love with the bad guy? Robin spends most of Batman & Robin pining over Poison Ivy. Getting captured by the Riddler? (Hit Girl would have sliced Jim Carrey in half.) If there’s a rookie mistake, Robin will make it. The nineties Batman movies did a huge disservice to Robin fans, making the resourceful character impulsive, whiny, and downright dim-witted. The fact that O’Donnell was playing a teenager at the age of 25 didn’t help, either. This Robin would have fit in perfectly with the graying gang from Beverly Hills, 90210.
Best: Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), The Dark Knight
While Christopher Nolan has made the current Batman films a Robin-free zone, the Caped Crusader still needs the occasional hand. Alfred is always there to mend a cape or offer a helpful word of advice, but, for the nitty-gritty stuff, Bruce Wayne looks to Wayne Enterprises tech guru Lucius. Need a cool gadget? Lucius is your man. Nosy employee catching onto the boss’s nocturnal activities? Lucius will cover your tracks with a devilish smile. Like Alfred, Freeman’s character also acts as a conscious for the driven Wayne: he’ll operate Batman’s spying-on-cellphones super-computer, but he won’t feel good about it.
Best: Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), Iron Man
Whether stalling a SHIELD agent, digging up incriminating evidence on bad guy Obidiah Stane (Jeff Bridges), or showing her boss’s latest romantic conquest the door, Pepper proves an able sidekick and love interest to Tony Stark. Tony would be completely lost without trusty Pepper, who proves that a female character in a superhero movie can be more than just a damsel in distress. Can’t wait to see her go toe-to-toe with Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow in the upcoming sequel.
Worst: Fergie (Rob Schneider), Judge Dredd
There is so much wrong with this 1995 Sylvester Stallone junk-athon — chiefly remembered for Stallone’s mumbling “I am the law” as if he were chewing on gravel — that it seems unfair to pick on Schneider. On the other hand, bumbling hacker Fergie is a low point, even for the star of Deuce Bigalow. First of all, he’s probably the only hacker in movie history who doesn’t actually hack into anything. Most of the time, he just spouts terrible jokes and gets in the way. Did you know that Joe Pesci was supposed to play the role before Schneider came in? Pesci and Stallone together would have been too awesome to handle.
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