Why, hello there fellow nerds and nerdettes. I didn’t see you there. But since we’re now talking, how about we do another round of Ranked!, shall we?
Okay, so this list nearly gave me an anxiety attack. I consider myself a TV & film connoisseur of sorts, so to narrow this list down to my top 10 movie heroes was a tall task. Was I up for it? Absolutely. Did I awake in the middle of the night sweating, fearful that I couldn’t do this list the justice it deserved? Maybe. I originally had this list “TV & Film heroes” but let’s be honest, they have to be separate lists. In order to make this a little easier on myself, I added these self-imposed rules:
A. Said movie hero must not have existed in a comic book prior to his/her introduction on film.
B. Said movie hero must be fictional. Otherwise, this list could’ve been only characters from “Saving Private Ryan”, “Glory” & “Braveheart” (even though I’m 96% sure most of “Braveheart” was indeed fiction). As you can see, I dig me some war movies.
c. If said character existed in literature prior to his/her introduction on film, they are fair game. Is there really a difference between existing in novel form or existing in a comic book? No, not really, but this is my list, so shut up.
D. No Steven Seagal or Jean Claude Van Damme characters. Why? Because it deserves to be its own list, that’s why!
With that said, these are my…
Top 10 Movie Heroes
10A. Maximus Decimus Meridius- Gladiator
Set at the height of the Roman Empire, a decorated and well respected war general has his family murdered and is taken as a slave to fight as a gladiator after the Emperor he loved like a father is killed by his incestuous, man child of a son. Holy crap, you know just from that description that Russell Crowe’s Maximus is a man on a MF’in mission. Crowe embodies Maximus brilliantly, endowing him with silent rage that settles just below the surface until he is called to fight, at which time he becomes a beast of a man. When he finally gets his revenge on the cowardly Commodus, he is at full peace knowing he’s about to join his wife and child in the afterlife. Ah, dear God, I think I have something in my eye…
10B. John McClane-Die Hard Franchise
Until I turned 22, I imagined all detectives from New York City were like John McClane: profane, smart asses with a knack for random gunfire. I’m still unsure on whether or not that’s accurate, but I know for damn sure that Bruce Willis brought the character of John McClane to near iconic status with his portrayal in Die Hard, Die Hard 2: Die Harder, & Die Hard: With a Vengeance. Oh? You say there’s more Die Hard movies? Yeah, don’t remind me. I will choose to remember him as the cop who jumped off of Nakatomi Plaza and coined the phrase I yell at someone at least once a week: Yippie Ky Yay Mothe………….. oh, I can’t swear in this post, either? Uhhhhh, alright, for those of you over 17 years of age, just go watch the movie, please.
9. John Preston-Equilibrium
Long before Christian Bale became a household name for wearing the cowl of the bat and winning an Oscar for The Fighter (but after he sang in Newsies and pined for the affection of Jo in Little Women….man, this guy has had a hell of a career), he starred in this little known film modeled off of the success of the Matrix movies. As John Preston, he works as a cop in a world where human emotion is no longer permitted. Any outward expression of any type of feeling is considered a punishable offense. For those of you who haven’t seen the 2002 cult classic I won’t spoil too much of the plot, but what I will say is despite a slow moving narrative at times, this movie encompasses some of the best gun fight action scenes I have ever seen, showcasing their lead as a man not just trying to rally against the corrupt government, but a father trying to give his children a positive future. In my very humble opinion, John Preston’s skills with a firearm were unmatched in a movie, until this next guy came along, that is…
8. John Wick-John Wick
I know what you’re wondering, and no, not everyone on my list will be named John. But a list on movie heroes that doesn’t include this character is just not a list I’m willing to be a part of. John Wick tells the very accurate story of what happens when you kill a man’s puppy after he has just lost the love of his life. The result? A lot of people die in utterly spectacular ways. The gun fight scenes are unmatched by any other gun fight that I have ever seen on screen, and Keanu Reeves’ retired/now un-retired assassin John Wick does it all with a cool, bad ass confidence most guys wish they had a sliver of. Also, the guys looks and moves incredibly well in a full suit. I cannot tell you how excited I am for John Wick 2 coming in 2017….as long as no more dogs are killed. Shut up! It’s allergies!
7. Jason Bourne-The Bourne Identity Franchise
You see!? I can pick characters with other J names! To quote Paul Rudd in The 40 Year Old Virgin, “Ya know, I always thought Matt Damon was kind of a Streisand, but he is rocking the s— in this one!” Before this franchise exploded, I’m not sure many would’ve looked at Matt Damon and thought “action star.” These movies changed all of that. The way Damon plays an amnesiac, brain-washed assassin Jason Bourne is quite literally a work of art. Bourne’s hand to hand combat skills are unparalleled, and the way that they are filmed are a treat for the eyes. With Bourne, you truly believe that one man could take on an army of men and come out the other side with only scratches on him. While I enjoyed the Bourne Legacy with Jeremy Renner’s Aaron Cross at the forefront, there’s a reason the studio went back to the titular character.
6. Mike Lowry-Bad Boys
Smooth and Sophisticated, as cool as the other side of the pillow (RIP, Stuart Scott) and deadly with a firearm. Oh, how Mike Lowry is awesome in so many ways. The perfect counterpoint to Martin Lawrence’s fast talking family man Marcus Burnett, Will Smith’s Mike Lowry dressed well, drove a flashy car, but was a dedicated and driven cop, hell bent on finding the man who stole millions of dollars in drugs and killed one of his closest friends. Everything Lowry did had style and humor to it, from screaming at his partner about being a “bad boy” to diving on top of a moving car, to the greatest line in the movie: “Now back up, put the gun down, and get me a pack of Tropical Fruit Bubblicious…” I’m looking forward to Bad Boys 3, just please, no old jokes, okay? Mike Lowry will be cool as hell, regardless of age.
5. Hermione Granger-Harry Potter Series
“Whoa, whoa, whoa…you pick someone from Harry Potter, and it’s not Harry??” Uhhhhh, yeah. And do you know why? Because Emma Watson’s Hermione Granger might just be the greatest female hero we’ve ever seen on film. Here’s why: She’s smart, she’s fierce, she’s forever loyal to her friends, and at no point throughout the series (8 freakin’ movies!) is her integrity ever called into question! She grows from a smart and driven young girl whose best friends are her books to a powerful wizard who is constantly getting her friends out of trouble and out of harms way. She is devoted to her cause and the type of female character you are ecstatic to have your daughter (or son, for that matter) look up to and emulate. Also, it’s not leviOsa, it’s leviosA!
4. Han Solo-Star Wars Franchise
It’s a tall order to be cool here on Earth, but to be the epitome of awesome in a galaxy far, far away is even harder. Harrison Ford’s representation of Han Solo is not just iconic, it’s legendary. There are hundreds of characters in the Star Wars Universe, and I’m willing to bet that at least half of all fans would pick Han Solo as their favorite above all. The smarmy smuggler turned Rebel leader commands every scene he is in, and proves that its possible to handle yourself with just a blaster by your side. His friendship with his co-pilot Chewbacca is #bromancegoals personified, and Han and Leia are essentially the King and Queen of Science Fiction. Nothing cooler than having the love of your life say “I Love You”, responding “…I Know”, and have her fall further in love with you because of it. I’m willing to bet if I answered in the same way to my wife, being frozen in carbonite would be the least of my worries.
3. John Creasy-Man on Fire
My apologies for putting yet another “John” on this list, but this one is a no brainer. Denzel Washington. That’s it, because that’s all I have to say, and your response should be “Oh, yeah definitely. I get it.”. Denzel might just be the world’s greatest living actor, and has created several characters throughout his career that could arguably be on anyone’s list of all-time movie heroes, but above all, this one stands out. His portrayal of alcoholic/ex-military & CIA operative John Creasy, who takes a job as a bodyguard for the 9 year old daughter of a wealthy business man in the kidnap-heavy area of Mexico City is the stuff of legend. The bond that grows between this man and the girl he’s paid to protect is beautiful and heartbreaking, and once she is kidnapped, well…. I believe Christopher Walken’s character said it best about his old military friend: “Creasy’s art is death. He’s about to paint his masterpiece.” The final 45 minutes of this movie are as brutal as they are emotional, and Denzel is at his bloody, coldhearted & calculated best, as he’s trying to find the child who taught him how to love once again. I’m not crying. YOU’RE CRYING!
2. Connor & Murphy Macmanus-The Boondock Saints
Yes, I understand the Saints of South Boston are 2 people, but in an essence they are of one mind….and that mindset is to rid their city of scum, and drop as many F-bombs as they can while doing it. Connor & Murphy Macmanus are Irish brothers who after, accidentally, taking out some Russian mob members, feel a divine call from God to kill the worst of the worst in Boston. What ensues are 2 of the most awesome characters to ever exist, brilliantly killing mafia members and degenerates while rocking bad ass tattoos, black attire and reciting the most hardcore prayer in existence. The Boondock Saints is my favorite movie to ever be put to film, and I make no apologies for that. I dare you to watch the scene where they fight in the heating ducts, fall through the ceiling and take out an entire room full of mobsters & NOT have a huge smile on your face. If I didn’t value my job as an educator so much, those “Veritas” & “Aquitas” hand tattoos would be mine!
1. Indiana Jones-Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, The Last Crusade,
Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Indiana Jones is a hero of mine. Yes, I know he isn’t real. No, I don’t care. Professor & archaeologist by day, adventurer & Nazi fighter by night, and smooth son of a b—- throughout, Indiana Jones is the quintessential action hero.The man was a master of the bullwhip, rocked a fedora like a champ and always (sort of…) got the girl. His adventures are unparalleled in cinema (ohhh, finding the Ark of the Covenant AND the Holy Grail aren’t impressive? What did YOU do with your Saturday?) and can be watched over and over…and over. I’ve even forgiven him for having Shia Labeouf as a son. No, I KNOW he’s not real, I’m just saying, that still needs to be forgiven. Harrison Ford being on here twice is no coincidence, as I assume he actually is an action hero in real life, and his portrayal of Indiana Jones, to me, is his greatest work and the greatest action hero of all time. And who isn’t afraid of freakin snakes!? Am I righr!?
And that’s it, my friends! Thanks for joining me again on this hella informative and long-winded journey! As always, please post your thoughts and own personal lists below, I would love to read them.
Lou Mattiuzzo is a full time teacher, full time father, full time husband & full time superhero nerd. His wife loves him anyways.
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