When it comes down to it, the hero of a story would be nowhere without the help of a trusty sidekick or two. 2014 has had its fair share of number 2s that both lifted up those heroes—and, arguably, stole their spotlight.
With that in mind, here’s a list of the year’s best sidekicks —the ones who proved that behind every great hero, there’s someone just as great (and often a whole lot funnier).
Spoilers ahead for each film.
5. Pete (Dave Franco), Neighbors
Zac Efron’s Teddy Sanders may run the show at Delta Psi, but he wouldn’t be able to throw those crazy parties without Dave Franco’s Pete Regazolli. Sure, he may put himself ahead of Delta Psi every now and then—but he also comes in handy as the right-hand man to Teddy’s ever-escalating schemes. Even with some of Pete’s betrayals, he proves his worth when he helps Teddy see the error of his ways—like any true friend would do.
Plus, he does a fantastic Robert De Niro in Meet the Fockers impression, which is more than enough of a reason to keep him by your side.
4. Batman (Will Arnett), The Lego Movie
Batman isn’t used to playing second fiddle to anyone—but even if he doesn’t realize it, Lego Batman makes a perfect sidekick to Chris Pratt’s master builder Emmet. He’s as ego-centric as it comes, even composing his own theme song—but Batman is also there for Emmet and the gang at just about every turn. From saving the crew at the beginning of the film to stealing them a hyperdrive when they most need it, Batman is always ready to rescue his friends… even when it seems like he’s actually about to abandon them.
3. TARS (Bill Irwin), Interstellar
At first glance, TARS looks like a pretty inefficient robot—he’s just a hulking slab of metal with a screen. Here, though, it’s all about what’s under the surface—namely, a sense of humor and surprising mobility. TARS fast becomes the unsung hero (and much-needed comic relief) of Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic, showing off his flexible design when he saves Anne Hathaway’s Amelia on the film’s endless ocean planet.
TARS is a palette cleanser; as low as it may dip, his humor setting always helps to break up the serious discussion of black holes, fifth dimensions, and love. But he’s also versatile, suitable for whatever mission the crew of the Endurance embarks on—and also showing he could fit quite comfortably in a few other movie universes.
2. Baymax (Scott Adsit), Big Hero 6
In the lead-up to Big Hero 6‘s release, Baymax’s round face was everywhere. It seemed like fatigue for the character would set in by the time the movie came out—but Scott Adsit’s healthcare companion still managed to steal the show at every turn. His sole goal is to make Hiro Hamada feel better, and he always does so—bringing Hiro together with his friends even when the kid doesn’t know what’s good for him. Baymax even pulls the obligatory Disney/Marvel move of sacrificing himself for the team.
Yes, Baymax on low battery can be a (hilarious) problem, but he’s focused on one thing, and one thing only–taking care of his friends. With a lovable, incredibly huggable sidekick like that, the Big Hero 6 could take on just about any foe.
1. Groot (Vin Diesel), Guardians of the Galaxy
Each of the Guardians gets a moment to steal the spotlight—but few manage to do as much with as little dialogue as Vin Diesel has. The wooden giant is caring and ferociously protective, taking delight in saving his friends, even if that means causing some mayhem. He’s also willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for his team to save them, making him not only the best sidekick to have while guarding the galaxy, but probably the best friend a bunch of jackasses standing in a circle could ask for.
From the moment Vin Diesel uttered those three simple words, it was love at first sight. We are Groot.
Oh, and he’s also got the sweetest moves this side of Knowhere.