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Film Fight: ‘Monsters Inc.’ Sulley vs. Tom Hanks Sully

Film Fight Monsters Inc Sulley vs Tom Hanks Sully
Pixar, Warner Bros.

One of them is a seven-foot-tall bearish blue creature from a monstrous dimension. The other is a “real human being, and a real hero.” Both are charismatic people who are darn good at doing their jobs. But which Sully/Sulley is more personable? It’s “Monsters Inc.” vs. Tom Hanks’ “Sully” in a fight for the more charming blue-collar worker (pun totally intended).

“Monsters Inc.” Sulley

First up is the not so mean, not so green, scaring machine. As Monsters Incorporated’s best employee, James P. Sullivan is incredibly friendly. While his most memorable friendship takes up lots of screentime, don’t forget that everyone he sees seems to like him. Every one of his coworkers seems to know him by name, besides of course Randall. In fact, when he becomes the boss at the end of the film, everyone seems quite happy with the new arrangement. His capacity for kindness is obvious by his care for Boo and Mike. He acts as sort of a father figure to both of them throughout “Monsters Inc.”

Unfortunately, the problem with this Sulley mostly lies in the prequel film. “Monsters University” demonstrates Sulley’s capacity to be a total jerk. While John Goodman’s natural friendliness comes across in his full-body laughs, the college-aged version of the character is much ruder. He constantly berates his friends and colleagues, often dropping insults and distancing himself from those he feels are lesser than him.

“Sully” Sully

Of course, Captain Sully from the film “Sully” is based on a real story. Captain Chesley Sullenberger was a hero who landed a crashing airline plane on the Hudson River, saving the lives of 155 people. He’s also a very accomplished person in real life outside of that incident. However, we will only be judging his charm by how he is portrayed in the 2016 film by Tom Hanks. Putting aside his miraculous heroics, the character also has an affection for others of his own. Whether it’s making sure everyone was off the plane before him or just offering an elderly woman a coat, he’s always looking out for other people.

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Sully has incredible politeness in the face of adversity. Even as he’s being opposed by the National Transportation Safety Board and accused of being bad at his job, the captain keeps his cool. Unlike his monstrous counterpart, Sully never yells, preferring to face adversity with kind but strong words. This is a quiet charm, the kind that gets him a free drink at the bar. Clint Eastwood beautifully directs Hanks as this quiet, old-fashioned gentleman that doesn’t like to take credit for his heroism.

Personally, I think Captain Sully is more charming and friendly than our blue friend James P. While the latter can make lots of friends, it’s Captain Sully’s inherent magnetism that ties his movie together. I would much rather make friends with him than John Goodman’s character. Captain Sully gets the win! Now we can celebrate with a grey goose and a splash of water.