The Top Ten Guiding Characters in Movies

So, what do I mean by Guiding Characters? It’s very simple. I mean male or female characters in movies who look after the hero and guide them through trials, rather they be the journey to Mordor, or a kung-fu competition. I would have called them Wise Old Men, but I incorporated some women, so that didn’t work. These are a few of the characteristics I look for in these characters.

Wise: obviously.

Old: This is pretty flexible. The character does not exactly need a long grey beard. But they do have to be experienced so they can legitimately give good real-world advice.

Teacher and Guide: This is what these characters all do. They teach, aide, and offer advice to the hero. They may not physically guide the hero to a destination, but they at least guide them emotionally.

Power: This one isn’t a requirement. Not all Guiding characters are God, or have magical powers. But most of them have some power that they use to help the hero.

Ethical: All of these characters have a firm sense between right and wrong. They are incorruptible, and they will always work to do what is right. And one of the major roles of the Guiding Character is creating a similar moral compass within the hero.

Friendship: This one is the most important. The Guiding Character bonds with the hero. They usually become great friends, or even establish a father-son dynamic.

Sacrifice: Most Guiding Characters are willing to or actually do sacrifice themselves for the hero. It is usually after this moment that the hero becomes the strongest and triumphs.

10. Mr. Myagi: Pat Morita, The Karate Kid

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When I decided to create this list, I knew Mr. Myagi had to be on it. He is the paragon of a martial arts teacher. And for an old man who is sometimes quite hard to understand, Pat Morita put on quite the performance.

9. Professor Xavier: Patrick Stuart, X-Men

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Teacher? Check. Xavier is a professor and the headmaster of a school. Power? He can control people’s freakin’ minds. In the original X-Men, Xavier uses this power and his brigade of mutants to help the hero Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) become an X-man and later find answers about his past. This plus his sacrifice (OK, so he doesn’t sacrifice himself willingly and doesn’t die, but those are just details) makes him a prime guiding character. Add Patrick Stuart’s sexy voice, and it’s a win!

8. Lionel Logue: Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

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First off, this is one of my favorite movies, and that is mostly because of Geoffrey Rush’s character. To be very honest, I think he, and not Colin Firth (although God knows I love the man) should have received an Oscar. Lionel Logue is an unconventional guiding character. He is not much older than Bertie, the hero he helps. He has no magical power. However, what counts is how Logue is able to help Bertie become the king he needs to be when WWII starts. In the movie (and in history) Bertie and Logue are close friends for the rest of their lives.

7. Mr. Keating: Robin Williams, The Dead Poet’s Society

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Another teacher. And as far as inspiring teachers go in movies, I think it’s easy for people to think of Mr. Keating. Although this is another unconventional case, because his hero, Neal, doesn’t triumph, but ends up (spoiler alert) committing suicide. But Keating is still a guiding character, because whether the hero fails or not, Keating still guided him and forged a relationship with him. If you’ve never seen Dead Poet’s Society, stop whatever you are doing right now, rent it, and watch it. And don’t say you won’t just because I gave away the ending. The ending isn’t as important as the journey. Sorry. I didn’t mean to sound so much like a fortune cookie.

6. Galadriel: Cate Blanchett, Lord of the Rings

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Don’t let Cate Blanchett’s beauty fool you. As any LOTR freak knows, as an Elf, Galadriel is probably the oldest character in the trilogy. Galadriel helps Frodo. She is not as close to him geographically or emotionally as Gandalf, but she does give Frodo advice, and helps him even when they are miles apart. And I’m sure some of you will argue, “But wait, Allison! Galadriel was tempted by the Ring! She’s corruptible!” Okay, true. She was tempted by the Ring. But so was everyone else, including Gandalf. The important thing is she said no and let Frodo keep it. As powerful as Galadriel is, to be able to see the most powerful and seductive weapon walk right in front of her and let it go, she is probably the most incorruptible character on this list. On top of that, she’s just awesome. I don’t know any other way to say it.

5. V: Hugo Leaving, V for Vendetta

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Yet another movie on this list that I love. Some people may be surprised about this choice though, because most people probably think V is the hero of V for Vendetta. V is a hero, but I think the hero of V for Vendetta is Natalie Portman’s character, Evey. The story of the movie follows her more than it does V. V guides Evey, makes her see the problems of the world and how to fix them. And not only do they become great friends, they fall in love. And V even makes the ultimate sacrifice (spoiler alert). He dies at the end of the film for the revolution Evey leads.

4. God; Morgan Freeman, Bruce Almighty

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Was there any way either God or Morgan Freeman were going to escape this list whether or not they would be put together? In Bruce Almighty, God guides Bruce (Jim Carey) through becoming a better man. And he’s a great character. If there really is a God, I hope he has this character’s sense of humor. But how can God not have a sense of humor? Case and point: the Platypus.

3. Morpheus: Lawrence Fishburne, the Matrix

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I’m sure if Morpheus were not on this list, I was going to receive a bunch of anonymous hate-mail and get bricks thrown through my windows. Morpheus is close to a perfect guiding character, but he’s also a bad-ass. My question to the makers of the Matrix. Couldn’t Morpheus be the main character? I for one found him much more interesting than Neo because of Keanu Reeve’s poor acting skills. But no one listens to me…

2. Gandalf: Ian McKellen, Lord of the Rings

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I usually don’t like to put two characters from one movie in the same list, but I had to. And it’s my blog so get over it. Gandalf is one of my favorite characters of all time. He fits my characteristics to a T. And Ian McKellen played him to perfection. All of that gave him a top spot on this list. Gandalf is perhaps second to Merlin the most remembered character in terms of fantasy. And that is for a very specific reason. Everyone loves Gandalf: his wisdom, his strength, and his devotion to Frodo. I think we all wished we had a bit of Gandalf in us.

  1. Obi-Wan Kenobi: Sir Alec Guinness, Star Wars

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I don’t think anyone can argue with my choice for number one. Obi-Wan is iconic as a guide. He fits every characteristic. he’s wise, old, definitely powerful, and he sacrifices himself for Luke. This phenomenal, memorable character will continue to go down in film history. And if Star Wars hadn’t had Obi-Wan, I don’t think it would have been near as successful. Well, as time has told us, though, there are other ways to ruin Star Wars, like letting George Lucas off his leash.

Honorable Mention

Merlin: Karl Swenson, The Sword and the Stone

Asland: Liam Neeson, the Chronicles of Narnia

William Forrester: Sean Connery, Finding Forrester

Glinda: Billie Burke, The Wizard of Oz

Albus Dumbledore: Ed Harris, Harry Potter

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Captain America: Thank God It’s Over

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So I just completely wasted the last two hours of my life. The entire time I was watching Captain America, I found myself thinking, “Why the hell am I watching this movie?” There are certain times in which I enjoy watching bad movies because they are bad in a certain way that makes them very entertaining. This was not one of those times. Captain America was bad in an agonizingly painful would rather be getting water-boarded right now kind of way.

The fifth in the Avenger series came out in 2011 and was directed by Joe Johnston. It is about Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), the wimpy young man who keeps trying to enlist in the army to fight Nazis and keeps getting rejected because he’s…wimpy. However, one day, Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) sees Roger’s true colors and decides to use him in a super soldier project that uses science to give him muscles and make him sexy. Now that Rogers has been turned into Captain America, he can answer the threat of Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) the crazy Nazi who plans on wiping out the Eastern Seaboard.

I have so many issues with this movie, I don’t even know where to start. I guess, it mainly bored me. I had no emotional connection with it. Even when Rogers was taking the plane into the ocean and he’s talking to his love interest and they both think he was going to die, usually that’s a kind of moment in a movie that makes me cry. Instead I was thinking, “Yeah! Take that sucker down!” I basically just didn’t care, and that ultimately means the movie failed.

What probably annoyed me most though was that the villain was horribly done. It wasn’t Hugo Weaving’s fault. Weaving is a masterful actor, and any role he plays he commits to 100%. The problem with Schmidt became apparent as soon as he took off his mask. Whenever there is a moment like that in a film when a villain shows a gruesome appearance, if it’s not scary or dramatic, it ruins the credibility of the villain. If the Phantom wasn’t gruesome under his mask, the entirety of The Phantom of the Opera would have been ruined. And that is exactly what happened here when Schmidt took off his mask and revealed that he had a tomato for a head. Add some black tattoos and horns and he would have been Darth Maul. Schmidt looked more intimidating with his mask on than with his mask off, because honestly that red head was funny, not scary. I kind of wanted to shove my fingers in hi eyes and use his head as a bowling ball. If your audience laughs at a villain, it ruins the movie.

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There was one specific moment that I really hated. During the climax when Captain America sees the missiles that are meant to hit New York, you see that one missile has the word “New York” in big stupid letters as if ACME created it. There is no way a villain would ever paint the desired destination of a missile that clearly on the side of it. It’s too important to reveal that information for everyone to see. Or was this supposed to be one of those movies where the villain tells the hero his entire plan so that the hero can beat him in the end?

So now I have seen all the Avenger prequels, and I just don’t get it. With the exception of the original Iron Man, they all pretty much sucked, and I find it so strange that you could make a movie about all of them, and it turns out so well. I think I will give that credit to Joss Wheedon.

So, as far as score goes, I give CaptainAmericaa 2 for completely failing to engage me and making Hugo Weaving look like a Power Rangers villain. Nnamdi, if you’re reading this I have lost some of my respect for you. Just kidding. But seriously, how the hell did you like this movie?