Jennifer Lawrence Visits A Children's Hospital & She's One Of Many Celebs Who Don't Just Play Heroes On The Big Screen
There's something important that tends to get lost in the discussion of superhero movies. While the conversation is usually dominated by adults who want Batman to behave a certain way or who nitpick costume changes, what I think is most important about superhero movies is how prepared the actors playing heroes are to be seen as heroes by kids. Maybe I'm sensitive to the behavior of the stars in X-Men, Avengers, and other hit franchises because I have three nieces and a nephew who live and breathe superheroes, but when I see things like X-Men: Apocalypse star Jennifer Lawrence visiting a children's hospital, it makes me proud to share the imperfectly awesome Mystique with the kiddos in my life.
I'm not saying these actors have to be saints because they chose to suit up, but it is important that they remember that to the kids in the audience, they are role models. They don't look at Lawrence and see Jennifer Lawrence, they see Katniss Everdeen and Mystique. That's why when Lawrence and other actors take time to give back to kids, to speak out for them, and interact with them, it is a much bigger deal than how accurate their suit is to the panels of a comic book page.
The actors on this list get a big thumbs up for understanding what it means to be a hero onscreen and off.
1. Jennifer Lawrence
Lawrence's trip to the Shriners Hospital in Montreal to visit the young patients wasn't her first act of real life awesomeness. The actress spent the last two Christmas Eves in a row visiting children's hospitals to brighten the spirits of the kids. She is also considered one of Hollywood's most charitable actors (and let's not forget she's only 24). It's not just about being there for kids; Lawrence recognizes the influence she has and has spoken out about unrealistic body images in Hollywood and supporting other women. The candid actress is an all-around class act.
2. Chris Pratt
From Star-Lord to Lego Owen and the lead in Jurassic World, Pratt is on kids' radars in a major way and he has embraced his role as a hero in their eyes. He has visited multiple children's hospitals as both himself and in character as Star-Lord and handed out gifts to the kids; he went on Ellen and was gamely schooled by a 6-year-old; and he even showed up at a free screening of Guardians of the Galaxy for underprivileged kids to tell them that they could be their own Star-Lords.
3. Michael B. Jordan
Say what you will about the Fantastic Four movie, but Jordan is the kind of hero kids need. When internet trolls lost their minds over Jordan being cast as Johnny Storm, Jordan fired back with an eloquently penned letter to Entertainment Weekly. Jordan wasn't just defending himself, but every little kid out there who deserves to see heroes that look like them on the big screen. The industry needs more people who are willing to stand up to bullies the way Jordan does.
4. Emma Watson
Hermione Granger has been a hero for several generations of kids already and the character will continue to be a hero for years to come. Watson could have left Hollywood behind after she hung up her Hogwarts robes, but instead she has proven she is a Gryffindor to her core. The actress not only started the HeForShe campaign to promote gender equality, but she is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Women. The speech Watson gave on gender equality is one of the most important speeches that has been made so far this decade, in my opinion.
5. Mark Ruffalo
When it comes to promoting equality, Ruffalo does not mess around. He gamely answered the kinds of sexist questions aimed at women during a Cosmopolitan interview with his Avengers co-star Scarlett Johansson, and Ruffalo took Marvel to task on Twitter for not making more Black Widow toys for young girls (and boys). When an actor isn't afraid to call out their own studio in the name of giving every kid a hero, then you know he or she is the real deal.
6. Robert Downey Jr.
Downey made everyone's hearts melt when he gave a seven-year-old boy a bionic arm in character as Tony Stark. The actor's passion for giving back does not stop there, though. He raised over $2 million in charity for Julia's House, a children's hospice, in just one campaign alone. Downey is the king of paying it forward.
These are just a few of the big-screen actors who go beyond playing heroes. As awesome as it for kids to look up to Katniss and Iron Man, it's even better when they can look to the people behind the suits to inspire them to be the very best version of themselves. Isn't that what being a true superhero is all about?