12. Woody (Toy Story)
Sometimes, you just want a protagonist who does the right thing. We’re so awash in anti heroes and complicated protagonists that it can get a little confusing. While there’s a time and a place for all kinds of heroes and otherwise, it’s refreshing to see someone who’s just good.
That doesn’t mean said heroes can’t be interesting, however. It certainly does not mean that they are uniformly, blandly good. After all, it would be hard to write a story or impart meaning through a character that never changes, simply because they do not need to do so.
Woody, from Toy Story, fits that bill. He is, ultimately, an exceptionally good person (or pull-string cowboy toy, as the case may be). Despite this, he isn’t without flaws, despite being voiced by everyone’s Hollywood Dad, Tom Hanks.
Woody grows anxious and jealous with the arrival of a flashy new toy, Buzz Lightyear. You see, he has grown used to being the boss of all the toys in his particular world. He is a benevolent leader, to be sure, but the head of it all nonetheless.
Where I would probably descend into a pit of pettiness, however, Woody doesn’t. Instead, he learns to transcend his selfishness and helps Buzz through an existential crisis. The two form a bond and work together to save a bunch of toys and make the transition to a new house. It’s a fun and lasting lesson about overcoming your own insecurities and making friends instead of enemies.