The name of the movie is "The Green Hornet," but everyone knows that the title character isn't the coolest costumed cat to appear in Michel Gondry's new flick.
That honor goes to Kato (Jay Chou), ostensibly the Green Hornet's driver and sidekick, but also a kung-fu badass capable of delivering the smackdown to evil wherever he finds it.
He's just the latest entrant in a lineup of superhero second bananas who shine as brightly as the guys they back up, so join us as we salute the guys behind the guys.
9. Chronic, 'Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back' (2001)
Hey, did you guys know that Kevin Smith has a fondness for marijuana? It's true and, for proof, look no further than the super-team he created as comic book subjects in "Chasing Amy," Bluntman and Chronic. Bearing an uncanny resemblance to View Askewniverse characters Jay and Silent Bob, the duo's success went on to play a big part in Smith's "Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, and lead to the most awesome bong/lightsaber fight ever filmed. Chronic is certainly the quieter of the two, but just like the guy who inspired his creation, he packs hidden depth, unleashing Force powers and sweet fighting moves when faced with the master of all evil...Mark Hamill. And while he ends up getting dispatched, we prefer to think he just knew when to step aside and let the hero take center stage, as any good sidekick should.
8. Abigail Whistler, 'Blade: Trinity' (2004)
Who knew that crotchety old Whistler, Blade's weapons guy and assistant in the first two flicks, would have a super-hot, vampire-ass-kicking daughter? And yet, here was Jessica Biel in the third film, wielding a UV-powered compound bow and some sweet, sweet martial arts moves as exactly that character. A member of the vampire-hunting cadre known as the Nightstalkers, Abigail is a formidable (albeit somewhat impractical -- listening to one's iPod is perhaps not the best use of the senses when engaged in a life-or-death struggle with the lapdogs of Satan), fighter and her dedication to the art of exterminating bloodsuckers rivals that of her father and Blade, himself. Score one for the Whistler clan.
7. Milo the Dog, 'The Mask' (1994)
The Mask may be impervious to harm, able to bend reality to his whims and just generally a cool guy, but he started out as Stanley Ipkiss, sad sack without a friend in the world but his faithful Jack Russell terrier, Milo. Milo is generally in this movie to be cute, which he does exceedingly well, but he also proves his sidekick bona fides by helping spring an imprisoned Stanley from the hoosegow in one of the film's more sweetly funny moments. The payoff, however, comes at "The Mask's" climax, during which Milo actually dons the titular facewear and becomes, for the briefest of moments, the super-powered badass every small dog wishes it could be. Using such weapons as razor sharp teeth and his own urine, he helps Stanley conquer a team of mob baddies before returning to his less outrageous - but still damn cute - original form.
6. Choda Boy, 'Orgazmo' (1997)
Trey Parker and Matt Stone may have written one of the silliest movies of all time when they penned this tale of a Mormon porn star-turned-hero, but they knew their comic book tropes, and so gave the title character a sidekick in the form of the ever-eager Ben Chapleski, aka Choda Boy. A brilliant scientific mind and a master of the hamster style of kung fu (although he prefers not to use it), Choda Boy is also cursed with a strong sex drive and a lack of luck with the ladies. Fortunately for Orgazmo (and we, the viewers), this leads him to the porn industry, while he spends most of his spare time crafting amazing and, usually, sex-themed inventions. It's his working Orgazmorator that serves as Orgazmo's most potent weapon, and he's instrumental in saving G-Fresh's sushi place from the evil Maxxx Orbison because, in Choda Boy's own words, "There's nothing sadder than a sad Japanese man."
5. Abe Sapien, 'Hellboy' (2004) and 'Hellboy II: The Golden Army' (2008)
Mike Mignola's demonic do-gooder is all id, prone to smash first and think later, so it stands to reason that his partner would fit neatly on the other side of the coin, full of intellect and refinement. Abe Sapien is absolutely that kind of guy, but he also happens to be a blue, gilled fish-man. And lest you think his social graces make him a pushover, he's also possessed of superhuman toughness and extrasensory mental powers. This makes him not only a formidable BPRD agent and an excellent accomplice in Hellboy's hijinks, but also the coolest human/fish hybrid since Darryl Hannah in "Splash."
4. Lt. Col. James 'Rhodey' Rhodes/War Machine, 'Iron Man' (2008) and 'Iron Man 2' (2010)
Comic book fans got a jolt in the first "Iron Man" movie when Tony Stark's buddy and military contact James "Rhodey" Rhodes - portrayed by Terrence Howard - smiled and said, "Next time, baby," when confronted with a gallery of exo-suits. They knew it could only mean one thing: That we'd be seeing the character don a suit himself as War Machine in the second flick. That's just what we got, albeit with a different actor in the role, and the results certainly didn't disappoint. An MIT graduate (and therefore capable of matching wits with the hyper-intelligent Stark), Rhodey turned out to be no slouch in the action department, either, taking it to his drunken friend in a suit-to-suit fight and later aiding in the vanquishing of Ivan Vanko.
3. Frozone, 'The Incredibles' (2004)
It's tough to call Frozone a sidekick, seeing as he was a successful superhero in his own right back in the day, but when you spend the majority of your time palling around with the world's most powerful family and its uber-patriarch, you're going to end up with second billing. That's OK, though, because Frozone is one cool character, capable of freezing bullets in their tracks and doing all the stuff that Iceman should have done in the "X-Men" movies if the folks behind them had one-tenth the creativity of Pixar. Plus, he's voiced by the one and only Samuel L. Jackson, which more or less automatically qualifies him for any "Best of Something Something" list. Sure, he's a LITTLE whipped, but every good superhuman has to have his or her kryptonite.
2. Hit Girl, 'Kick-Ass' (2010)
Given the way this pint-sized dealer of death became the breakout character from "Kick-Ass," you'd be forgiven for forgetting that she was actually only the protege of her father, the costumed vigilante Big Daddy. You'd be forgiven by us, anyway; we can't guarantee she won't stylishly cut off your arms in some crazy katana whirlwind and then laugh about it, because that's just how she rolls. She also had a softer side, of course, as evidenced by the downright awesome relationship she shared with her crime-busting father. Portrayed with gleeful sadism by Chloe Moretz, Hit Girl was, simply put, the best part of "Kick-Ass" (sorry, McLovin), and her insanely intense fight scenes were pretty much what got everybody jazzed to see this movie in the first place.
1. Alfred, 'Batman Begins' (2005) and 'The Dark Knight' (2008)
You'd think, if we were going to talk about Batman here, we'd have to mention Robin; after all, the Boy Wonder is only the most famous superhero sidekick of all time. But let's face it: every movie incarnation of Robin has sucked. Hard. Instead, we're going with Bruce Wayne's butler, a man whose only super-power is an intense and undying devotion to his employer. Still, at the end of the day, you know Alfred is going to have Batman's back when the chips are down, and know just what to say to get him back on the streets when the Caped Crusader's emo side takes over. Portrayed with quiet dignity by both Michael Gough and Michael Caine, Alfred is everything a hero could want in a second.