10 Best Protagonists in Sony Pictures Animated Movies, Ranked

Movies


Sony Pictures Animation is a steadily growing animation company among mainstream audiences. First founded in 2006, they have distinguished themselves from other animation companies like Disney, DreamWorks, and Illumination thanks to their stylistic animation, which is often very fluid and expressive.


Most of their films are pretty run-of-the-mill for family entertainment, but they’ve lately hit some major successes with The Mitchells vs The Machines and both Spider-Verse films. Sony movies have produced many likable protagonists in their catalog of films. While not the best in animation, they stand out thanks to their diverse personalities and strong identities.


10 Din Song (Voiced by Jimmy Wong)

‘Wish Dragon’ (2021)

Image via Sony Pictures 

When they were children, Din Song (Ian Chen and Jimmy Wong) and Li Na (Alyssa Abiera and Natasha Liu Bordizzo) were the best of friends, until Li moved away and became a successful model. Ten years later, Din is a hard-working college student who longs for the chance to rekindle that friendship. He gets his chance when a mysterious old man (Ronny Chieng) gifts him a magic teapot containing a wish-granting dragon named Long (John Cho).

Din is a perfectly serviceable protagonist: he’s kind, big-hearted, and cares for family and friends in life over fame and fortune. His friendship with Li is rather touching, especially since it’s one of the rare times in films where a male and female friend-pairing remain friends. Besides that, he’s pretty content with his life, which offers a good message for viewers about enjoying the smaller things in life.

Watch on Netflix

9 Vivo (Voiced by Lin-Manuel Miranda)

Vivo(2021)

vivo-trailer-lin-manuel-miranda-social-featured
Image via Netflix

A music-loving kinkajou from Cuba, Vivo (Lin-Manuel Miranda) lives with musician and songwriter Andrés Hernández (Juan de Marcos González). One day, Andrés gets a letter from his old friend, Marta Sandoval (Gloria Estefan), which gives him a chance to confess his love to her through a song he wrote when they first parted ways. Unfortunately, he dies in his sleep, so Vivo vows to deliver the song to Marta himself.

Vivo works well as a protagonist that young children watching the film can relate to. He can be immature and self-centered at times, such as his initial reluctance to go with Andrés, but his love for his friends ultimately wins over, and he is willing to go far outside his comfort zone to see their last wishes fulfilled. Miranda’s performance also does a good job of showing Vivo’s heart and immaturity through his vocal performance, and, of course, he’s got a good singing voice.

Vivo Poster

Vivo

Release Date
August 6, 2021

Director
Kirk DeMicco

Cast
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Juan de Marcos González, Zoe Saldana, Brian Tyree Henry, Nicole Byer, Gloria Estefan, Michael Rooker

Rating
PG

Runtime
98 minutes

Main Genre
Animation

Watch on Netflix

8 Katie Mitchell (Voiced by Abbi Jacobson)

‘The Mitchells vs. The Machines’ (2021)

The-Mitchells-Vs-The-Machines-Katie-Mitchell
Image via Sony Pictures

The eldest child of the Mitchell family, Katie (Madeleine McGraw and Abbi Jacobson) is an aspiring amateur filmmaker eager to be accepted into a Californian film school. This upsets her father, Rick (Danny McBride), who doesn’t understand technology. In an attempt to patch up their relationship, he drives Katie to her university to give the family one last family road trip, which coincidentally takes place during a robot uprising.

Katie is a decent take on a modern teenager: she’s creative, passionate, and not without her faults. Her love for filmmaking gives her a unique perspective on the world, which the animators bring to life using humorous hand-drawn animations that appear in the backgrounds. At times, she can be a little self-centered, especially when clashing with her father, but this works into the movie’s themes of compromise and the importance of family.

Watch on Netflix

7 Conde Drácula (Voiced by Adam Sandler)

‘Hotel Transylvania’ (2012)

Adam Sandler as Dracula in Hotel Transylvania
Image via Sony Pictures

After the death of his wife to a mob of angry humans, Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) builds a hidden hotel that monsters can retreat to in order to escape humanity. He also uses it as a safe haven to raise his daughter, Mavis (Selena Gomez). Unfortunately, Mavis grows more and more intrigued by humans as she grows older, and to further complicate things, a human named Johnny (Andy Samberg) accidentally arrives at the hotel on Mavis’ 118th birthday.

This version of Dracula is a more comical and big-hearted take on popular culture’s most famous vampire. Trauma has left him obsessed with keeping his friends and surviving family safe, which can sometimes lead to him being a tad controlling and manipulative, albeit always with the best intentions. Though resistant to change, he’s willing to make the effort for the sake of those he loves.

Hotel Transylvania

Release Date
September 20, 2012

Director
Genndy Tartakovsky

Cast
Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi

Rating
PG

Runtime
91

Main Genre
Animation

Watch on Amazon Prime

6 Pirate Captain (Voiced by Hugh Grant)

‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits!’ (2012)

The Pirates Band of Misfits
Image via Aardman Animations

During the last days of piracy, a pirate captain named Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) leads a crew of misfit pirates also named depending on their roles or physical appearance. To prove that they are worthy of the title of pirate, the Captain signs up for the yearly Pirate of the Year Award, even though he has lost every previous year. His quest to win brings him into contact with naturalist Charles Darwin (David Tennant), who reveals that the Captain’s pet parrot is really the last dodo bird.

The Pirate Captain is a fun subversion of pirate stereotypes and a delightful addition to both Sony and Aardman Animation’s character rosters. He is a lovable, charismatic, and somewhat bumbling pirate who prefers to talk his way out of problems, even if he doesn’t always know the right thing to say. Above all, he is devoted to his crew and fosters a strong sense of comradery and loyalty among them.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Release Date
March 12, 2012

Director
Peter Lord, Jeff Newitt

Cast
Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, Imelda Staunton, David Tennant, Jeremy Piven, Salma Hayek Pinault

Rating
PG

Runtime
88

Main Genre
Animation

Rent On Prime Video

5 Long (Voiced by John Cho)

‘Wish Dragon’ (2021)

wish-dragon-john-cho
Image via Netflix

In life, Long was a human Emperor who cared only about wealth and power, even at the expense of his family. Left alone on his deathbed, he cursed the gods and was cursed in turn. Transformed into a wish dragon, he is placed inside a teapot and tasked with granting the wishes of ten masters before his spirit is allowed into heaven.

Long is one of Sony’s most complex and interesting animated protagonists. His time as a wish dragon has left him cynical and jaded towards mortals, who he believes are inherently all as greedy and selfish as he was in life. His time with Din helps him see the value of life besides riches and fame, which leads to a really great character moment during the climax.

Watch on Netflix

4 Flint Lockwood (Voiced by Bill Hader)

‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’ (2009)

Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) Revels in the Fruits of his water-to-food invention
Image via Sony Pictures

A resident of the gloomy Swallow Falls, Flint Lockwood (Max Neuwirth and Bill Hader) is an aspiring inventor who hopes to invent something that can help his struggling community. Most of his inventions backfired in spectacular ways, but eventually, he created a machine that can turn water into food. This saves the struggling town, which is renamed Chewandswallow, and Flint is heralded as a hero.

Flint’s optimism and inventive spirit are infectious and pair well with Sony’s fluid animation style. He’s a great take on the underdog scientist: regardless of how often he’s mocked for his wacky inventions, he’s always back at the drawing board to either fix his current invention or make a new one, which mirrors the film’s own production troubles. His story also has a very relatable and sympathetic theme about finding acceptance, which leads to some rough and tender scenes with his old-fashioned father, Tim (James Caan).

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Release Date
September 17, 2009

Director
Phil Lord, Chris Miller

Cast
Bill Hader, Anna Faris, James Caan, Andy Samberg, Bruce Campbell, Mr. T

Rating
PG

Runtime
90

Main Genre
Animation

Watch on Netflix

3 Arthur Claus (Voiced by James McAvoy)

‘Arthur Christmas’ (2011)

Arthur from Arthur Christmas holding children's letters to Santa Claus
Image via Sony Pictures

As the youngest son of Santa Claus (Jim Broadbent), Arthur (James McAvoy) is stationed in the mail room, reading all of Santa’s letters, while his older brother, Steve (Hugh Laurie), is trained to take over the job. One Christmas Eve, a single child is accidentally skipped over, and Steve, frustrated by his father’s decision to remain Santa, refuses to drop it off. This prompts Arthur to team up with his grandfather (Bill Nighy) and an enthusiastic elf named Bryony (Ashley Jensen) to deliver the gift.

Arthur is a delightful protagonist thanks to his big heart. As his role is reading and replying to his dad’s letters, he is the most idealistic member of the family and believes wholeheartedly in maintaining the spirit of Christmas. While the rest of his family is obsessed with proving that their version of Christmas is the best, Arthur wants the world’s children to wake up with smiles on their faces and magic in their hearts.

Arthur Christmas

Release Date
November 10, 2011

Director
Barry Cook, Sarah Smith

Cast
James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy, Ashley Jensen, Imelda Staunton

Rating
PG

Runtime
97

Main Genre
Animation

Watch On Max

2 Gwen Stacy (Voiced by Hailee Steinfeld)

‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ (2018) and ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ (2023)

Gwen Stacy as Spider-Woman from 'Spider-Man: Across The Spiderverse' , she is surrounded by bright orange hexagons
Image via Sony Pictures

Within the infinite realities of the multiverse, there are an equal number of Spider-Men and Spider-Women. Among these is Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld), who tries to use her powers for good after accidentally killing her best friend when he transformed into a monstrous lizard. Unfortunately, she is relentlessly pursued by her own father, police Captain George Stacy (Shea Whigham), who thinks Spider-Woman is a murderer.

Gwen was already a beloved character in Into the Spider-Verse, but Across the Spider-Verse gave her more screen time and a more fleshed-out backstory that fans fell in love with. She’s a confident, cool, but conflicted character who struggles between following orders and doing what is right. Her struggle trying to reconcile with her father is very powerful and has been praised for its parallels to transgender experiences.

Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse Poster

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Release Date
June 2, 2023

Director
Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson

Cast
Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Oscar Isaac, Jake Johnson

Rating
PG

Runtime
140 minutes

Main Genre
Superhero

Watch on Netflix

1 Miles Morales (Voiced by Shameik Moore)

‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ (2018) and ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ (2023)

Miles Morales, voiced by Shameik Moore, in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Image via Sony Pictures Animation

Originally an average teenager from New York City, Miles Morales’ (Shameik Moore) life was changed when he was bitten by a radioactive spider and witnessed the death of Spider-Man (Chris Pine) at the hands of the Kingpin (Liev Schreiber). As he struggled to come to terms with his new abilities, multiple Spider-Men from alternate realities started appearing due to Kingpin’s experiments. Since they threaten to destroy all of New York, Miles teams up with them to stop Kinpin and send them home.

Though divisive in his comic run, Miles’ portrayal in Sony’s movies has been met with near-universal appraisal. His youthful personality, coupled with his family dynamic, make him relatable to younger audiences while still distinct enough from Peter Parker to stand as his own character. Moore’s performance is also stellar, giving Miles an air of youthful awkwardness and playfulness, while also exemplifying his indomitable spirit.

Rent On Prime Video



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