As we forge ahead into summer blockbuster season, I’ve noticed something about the movies I’m psyched to see. They’re all action movies — and they all star very atypical action-movie heroes.

We’ve got Robert Downey, Jr. in Iron Man.

And then we have Ed Norton as The Incredible Hulk.

And oh-my-stars, am I desperate to see James McAvoy star opposite Angelina Jolie in Wanted.

None of them are especially brawny guys, or for that matter, even particularly tall. Charisma and quick wits are their secret weapons. They bring the human factor to the superhero formula. And I’d take any of them over a ‘roided-out titan any day.

Possibly because these guys remind me so much of my own real-life hero, my husband. No, he’s not 6’4″ with tree-trunks for thighs, but he’s lean and quick and packed with explosive energy that comes in handy during life’s little crises. Seriously, I’ve seen him leap picket fences in a single bound, to break up dogs fighting down the block. I’ve watched him soar into trees to retrieve stuck toys, while small children look on in awe. I’ve seen him dash to a hotel room and back in tropical heat, in under two minutes (yes, I timed him), to fetch my grandmother’s scarf. And when he brought back the wrong one, he did it again. Faster.

And now, thanks to my writing career, he has a pretty spiffy superhero name: Mr. Dare.

We’re working on the costume.

Who are your favorite atypical heroes, in books, movies, life?

And congrats to TerriO, who won my giveaway last week!

13 comments to “Unlikely Heroes”

  1. Maggie Robinson
    · May 27th, 2008 at 4:02 am · Link

    I still love my own Dare from JoBev’s To Rescue a Rogue. Hard to make a drug addict (albeit not a voluntary one) hot, but she did it.

    Tessa, think latex. Spandex is so yesterday.

  2. terrio
    · May 27th, 2008 at 6:38 am · Link

    Mr. Dare must have a cape. All the best superheroes have a good cape. Ooh, nothing but a cape. There’s an idea.

    Wait, that sounds like I’m having lascivious thoughts about Mr. Dare. And that’s wrong. Though after the description of him, I might be crushing a little.

    I too like this trend of giving the superdudes brains. That’s really what it boils down to for me. No one ever raved about how smart Superman was. He leapts things and was fast and strong, but no one said anything about brains.

    I like the new wave of smart guys getting to be super. I think it sets a good example.

    Now I have to go check out this Wanted movie of which you speak. Didn’t know he was in that.

    And thanks for the gift card!

  3. terrio
    · May 27th, 2008 at 6:39 am · Link

    Speaking of brains, “he leapts things”? Yeah, that makes me sound so edumacated.

  4. Alice Audrey
    · May 27th, 2008 at 7:42 am · Link

    The guys you listed may not be bulky, but they’ve all got muscle. I’m so glad Mr. Al hasn’t gone to flab. I wish I hadn’t.

  5. Santa
    · May 27th, 2008 at 8:10 am · Link

    I was going to suggest a utility belt ala Batman. You never know when he might need to scale the side of a building, stopping to talk to good citizens along the way.

  6. Sasha Allgood
    · May 27th, 2008 at 12:35 pm · Link

    Brawn is nice to look at, but if I have to make a choice, I’ll take brains every time. There’s just something very sexy about a smart man. Makes me think he might know what he’s doing, on several different fronts.

  7. skirbo
    · May 27th, 2008 at 12:35 pm · Link

    I don’t really have a favorite, I enjoy all of them. But I’m dying to see the new Will Smith/Charlize Theron/Jason Bateman superhero comedy “Hancock”. Watch the trailer-you’ll be excited, too.


  8. Elyssa Papa
    · May 27th, 2008 at 1:54 pm · Link

    One of my favorite atypical heroes is… Mr. Darcy. I mean, come on, he’s pretty much a jerk at the beginning of Pride and Prejudice. And even with all his money, he constantly judges people.

    And well… any time, I can mention Mr. Darcy, I will. *g*

  9. Tessa Dare
    · May 27th, 2008 at 2:09 pm · Link

    Maggie, how could I not love a hero named Dare? Though spandex and latex I’m not so sure about… I think I prefer Terri’s “just a cape” idea.

    And Terri, I’m sure Mr. Dare would be nothing but flattered to have you thinking lascivious thoughts of him.

    AA – yeah, these guys are all in prime muscle tone for those shirtless shots – but I’ll bet they had whole teams of trainers and dieticians to get them looking that way.

    Santa – your utility belt idea is classic! Mr. Dare *does* have this bizarre 20-tools-in-one thing that he likes to clip on his belt and refer to as “The Tool”. I’ll, uh, generously refrain from making any jokes there. It would be too easy.

    Sasha, I agree. Brawn with brains gets boring real fast.

    Skirbo – I’ll have to check that trailer out! I saw a commercial the other day, I think, and it was hilarious.

    Ely – Darcy is a hero who fits every category. And always tops the list. 🙂

  10. Santa
    · May 27th, 2008 at 7:59 pm · Link

    LOL, Tessa. My husband has one of those thingies too! I think it’s called a Leatherman. Which brings to mind a whole other set of jokes I keep to myself.

    But do I keep expecting to hear him belt out

    ‘I’m a lumberjack and I’m okay….’;)

  11. Lindsey
    · May 28th, 2008 at 10:33 am · Link

    Great topic, Tessa! I’ve had a long-standing infatuation with Peter Parker/Spider-Man since a guy friend pushed me to read some of the comics when I was in college. I think it’s the fantasy of tuning in to guy’s hidden depths – being the one to discover that the super-smart, slightly dorky guy is actually a powerful, wise-cracking hero who looks great it tights and can take up-against-the-wall to a whole new level. 😉

    I liked Tobey Maguire in the movie, though I can’t say he’s my ideal Peter. But Ed Norton? Definitely an incredible hunk!

  12. Alyssa Goodnight
    · May 29th, 2008 at 8:04 am · Link

    Really? Edward Norton as The Hulk? I hadn’t heard that. Interesting. I do think Robert Downey Jr. will be very good as Ironman though.

    Ben Stiller always impresses me, regardless of the movie. Except that weird one where he’s married to a freak and acts like a freak himself. I don’t recall the name… He seems so real.

  13. Alice Audrey
    · June 2nd, 2008 at 8:09 am · Link

    I saw Ironman yesterday and love it! My favorite line: “I am Ironman.” Just the way he says it.

    I have something for you on my blog. Come visit.