Goofy Side Characters Who Are Low-Key Geniuses

List Rules
Vote up the silly sidekicks who had more going on than they get credit for.

There are few tropes as widespread across cinema as silly side characters who are actually smart. Whether they're a huge goof with one secret savant-like skill or have just been putting on a guise to hide their big brains, these characters are a film constant that spreads across all genres. From Luna Lovegood dropping her act to advise Harry in a young adult fantasy world, all the way to Silent Bob finally speaking to a lovesick Dante in a grungy R-rated comedy, these silly sages can't be escaped. 

It's about time these characters go head-to-head to finally decide who the smartest sidekick characters actually are. 


  • Samwise Gamgee
    Photo: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring / New Line Cinema

    Samwise Gamgee is a silly, modest being, even by the standards of hobbits. He only gets caught up in the journey in the first place because while gardening for Frodo, he accidentally falls into view. Gandalf decides that he will make a great companion for Frodo and sends him along with his friend. 

    While Sam stumbled into the journey, he is a huge part of its success. When Frodo is believed to be deceased for a time, Samwise takes up the journey on his own and tasks himself with destroying the ring. Sam is one of two beings to ever willingly give up the ring. The other is Bilbo, and not even he surrendered it as easily as Samwise.

  • 2
    44 VOTES
    Photo: The Emperor's New Groove / Buena Vista Pictures

    Referring to Kronk as a "genius" in the traditional sense doesn't make a lot of sense, but as the old saying goes, "You can't judge a fish by how well it can climb a tree." Kronk may not be able to understand simple commands or tasks (or possess the mental capacity to remember which lever to pull). Still, he's an incredible chef and is almost superhuman in his athletic abilities.

    In truth, Yzma is trying to make Kronk into something he isn't. In the straight-to-DVD sequel, audiences are finally able to see Kronk do something he excels at, as he now works as the head chef of Mudka's Meat Hut. In the cartoon series, by the final episode, Kuzco finally realizes Kronk's genius and appoints him as his new advisor with Yzma as his helper.  

  • 3
    39 VOTES
    Photo: Ant-Man and the Wasp / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    Luis's overly specific flashback stories are one of the comedic high points of the MCU, but the character himself is much more than a joke. While a character who was imprisoned for swiping smoothie machines doesn't exactly seem like a genius, Luis is the brains behind nabbing the Ant-Man suit and is later integral in breaking into one of the highest-security tech companies in the world, Pym Technologies. 

    Luis later starts a company with Scott known as X-Con Industries, and he displays how much he has grown by how seriously he takes his new company (a lot more seriously than Scott, for that matter). Luis is hilarious, but that doesn't mean he should be counted out. 

  • 4
    35 VOTES
    Photo: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

    When Mantis is first introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, she seems like little more than a vehicle for jokes. And, to be fair, the jokes are pretty funny. Who can forget the "you feel romantic love... for her!" bit wherein her powers make Peter Quill feel embarrassed about his feelings? But, as everyone would come to find out, those powers can be used for a lot more than laughs.

    Mantis is a psychic that Ego took in at a young age to help him relax his mind enough to rest. Mantis proves that she is a lot more than a humanoid sleeping pill, though, when she decides to turn against Ego and inform the Guardians of his true, much more sinister intentions. 

    Later in the series, Mantis gets a chance to showcase the full extent of her powers, and she is able to keep Thanos asleep long enough for the Avengers to almost have a chance against him (if not for Quill messing it up). Basically, her powers initially seem like a joke, but in the end, she proves to be one of the few people who can actually affect/fight Thanos in any meaningful way.