Throughout the history of cinema, there have been famous duos: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; Han and Luke (or Han and Chewie for that matter); Doc Brown and Marty McFly; Jake and Elwood Blues. The pairings go on and on (and actually, this list sums up a lot of the best ones).
For most of the famous duos in cinema, there’s an iconic status that comes into play. We love these duos not just because they were great together on screen but because their projects have stood the test of time and now resonate as classics. That makes it a little harder to determine who the lasting, impactful duos of modern cinema will be. But in the spirit of a certain goofy movie about male models coming out soon, let’s take a stab at it anyway…
Derek & Hansel
Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson have been a very effective comedic duo for well over a decade now, so in a way they kind of blend in. But just think about the fact that these two goofballs made a modern comedy classic out of a script about competitive male modeling. Fortunately for all of us that achievement is being celebrated all over again in the lead up to the release of Zoolander No.2, and judging by the trailer, it could be another fun ride.
Neo & Agent Smith
Keanu Reeves as Neo is one of the most recognizable roles of the 21st century (even if The Matrix came out in 1999). And really he could have been listed here as part of two other duos as well – with Laurence Fishburne’s Morpheus and Carrie-Anne Moss’s Trinity. But the Neo vs. Agent Smith rivalry was about the best good vs. evil showdown since Luke and Vader.
Batman & Joker
Batman and the Joker have always been an inseparable pair in fiction. Even in the last few years they’ve been recognized as much for their back-and-forth battles in Rocksteady’s Arkham video games as for any particular film. Nevertheless, the on-screen confrontations between Christian Bale’s Batman and Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight Rises ought to stand the test of time as some of the best superhero cinema ever made.
Seth & Evan
Superbad has to have been one of the more improbable successes we’ve seen in the last 15 years. It actually did have the backing of Sony and a $20 million budget despite looking like it was made with about $100,000. But it was still an extremely low-key indie-style comedy packed with unknown young adult actors and consisting of a plot entirely about high school kids securing alcohol for a party. But thanks to the hysterical chemistry between Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera), this is a comedy a whole generation will never forget.
Django & Dr. King Schultz
He’ll probably never top Pulp Fiction in the eyes of most, but Django Unchained is among the best two or three Quentin Tarantino movies, and Jamie Foxx’s Django and Christoph Waltz’s Dr. King Schultz pretty much ran the show.
Nina & Lily
Black Swan remains one of the most unique and haunting films we’ve seen in the 21st century. Natalie Portman won an Oscar for Best Actress in her depiction of ambitious ballerina Nina Sayers, but equally important to the film’s success was the captivating and demonic Mila Kunis, who basically proved her acting chops with this role.
Iron Man & War Machine
Marvel movies are full of partnerships and sidekicks but none seem so much like they’re on equal footing as Iron Man and War Machine (or Tony Stark and Col. James Rhodes). These two have been in multiple films together already, and as with Batman and Joker they’ve also featured together in games, most notably a couple of slot machine titles here. Fittingly, these slot games give the icons and depictions of Iron Man and War Machine pretty equal attention, as these two are truly one of the lasting duos in the Marvel film saga.
Danny Archer & Solomon Vandy
This might be a little bit of a long shot, but Blood Diamond is among the best films of the century so far that no one seems to remember. Both Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou were nominated for Oscars for their portrayals of Danny Archer and Solomon Vandy, respectively. Their work together constituted an absolute powerhouse performance.
Pat & Tiffany
Silver Linings Playbook was one of the biggest surprise hits of the past five years or so. And any time a relatively straightforward script (based in this case on the charming novel by Matthew Quick) turns into a special film, you can really only look to direction and acting as the reasons why. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence established a chemistry that simply jumped off the screen in this one, establishing them as arguably the most interesting romantic couple in cinema this decade.
Frodo & Sam
Not much more needs to be said. Frodo and Sam are undoubtedly the premier duo in 21st century movies!
Who are your favourite cinema duos?