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Beyond Marvel and Jurassic World: Chris Pratt’s 5 best roles

Chris Pratt has had a very interesting career. His first major role came way back in 2002 when he co-starred in the short-lived WB series Everwood. Pratt played supporting roles in multiple films throughout the early 2000s, including Jennifer’s Body, Take Me Home TonightThe Five-Year Engagement, and What’s Your Number. However, his breakthrough came with the critically-acclaimed NBC hit Parks and Recreation, playing the dim-witted but lovable Andy Dwyer, a role that earned him a Critics Choice Award nomination in 2013.

Major critical and commercial acclaim came thanks to his starring role in James Gunn’s 2014 space adventure Guardians of the Galaxy. The film turned Pratt into a bonafide star and the action man of tomorrow, setting the stage for his future roles in major blockbusters. Pratt remains an A-lister, even if his reputation and box office receipts have suffered in recent years. And while the roles he plays are often similar, he manages to imbue each with enough charm and charisma, delivering several memorable characters that cement his reputation as a quality leading man.

Jim Preston – Passengers

Aurora confronts Jim in Passengers.
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Buried under a shameless attempt to exploit the admittedly strong chemistry between Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence is a genuinely affecting story about men’s desperation and fear of loneliness. Passengers has an intriguing premise that would work incredibly well as a space thriller, Alien style, or even a terrifying horror film. Alas, the film settles for a sappy love story that never quite succeeds because of the many questionable actions of Pratt’s character.

Had the film leaned into the story’s naturally dark elements, it could’ve been a truly compelling entry into the space thriller pantheon. It would’ve also meant turning Pratt’s Jim into a full-on villain, which didn’t sit well with the actor’s post-Guardians image. Still, Passengers is not a complete waste, mainly thanks to Pratt and Lawrence’s undeniable spark. It’s also to Pratt’s credit that Jim doesn’t come out as a complete creep, despite the film’s best efforts.

Emmet Brickowski – The Lego Movie, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

Emmet looking confused in TheLego Movie 2

Chris Pratt has carved quite a niche for himself in animation. The actor will provide the voice of two of pop culture’s most iconic characters, Mario and Garfield, in upcoming projects. However, his first incursion into voice acting came with The Lego Movie and its sequel, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. Pratt voices Emmet Brickowski, an ordinary inhabitant of Lego world who joins a resistance to stop an evil tycoon.

Emmet showcases all of Pratt’s strengths during his middle years as a star. He is effortlessly charming, endearing even, a character convincing as an everyman and an action hero. Pratt does wonderful work portraying Emmet, crafting a wonderful Lego figurine that’s memorable without ever pulling all the focus.

Owen Grady – Jurassic World, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Owen Grady looking to the distance in Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom
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The Jurassic World trilogy is truly an example of a legacy sequel that does right by its beloved property. None of the films quite reach the height of Steven Spielberg’s 1993 masterpiece, but they more than measure up against the 1997 and 2001 entries in the original trilogy.

Pratt is a huge part of the new trilogy’s success. He brings a commanding and suitably hunky presence to the story’s lead, Owen Grady, an action man that trains velociraptors and rides bikes. The character is one-note and firmly set in a very 90s idea of how a leading man should be, but it works in a franchise shamelessly trying to keep its nostalgia alive. Owen isn’t Alan Grant or Ian Malcolm, but he is the exact action hero a franchise like Jurassic World needed.

Star-Lord – Guardians of the Galaxy, Vols. 1 & 2

Star Lord flying a ship in Guardians of the Galaxy
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It isn’t an understatement to say the Guardians of the Galaxy were C, even D-list heroes in the Marvel canon. Loyal fans knew who they were, of course, but mainstream audiences raised their eyebrows in skepticism when Kevin Feige announced a film for the otherwise unknown team of galactic heroes. However, James Gunn’s heartfelt and hilarious Guardians of the Galaxy elevated the team into the A-list, propelled by Pratt’s star-making performance.

Peter Quill is the sort of man-child Pratt was born to play. Unabashedly immature yet irresistible, Pratt’s Quill laid the foundation for Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang and even Chris Hemsworth’s future version of Thor. Quill is the sort of hero that wins battles by dancing. It takes a very particular actor to pull such a ridiculous scene off, and Pratt lived up to the task. And while Quill’s reputation took a hit following his role in Avengers: Infinity War, the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will surely give the character some much-needed redemption.

Andy Dwyer – Parks & Recreation

Andy Dwyer looking surprised in Parks and Recreation.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Parks and Recreation is one of the best sitcoms of the new millennium and one of the main reasons to have Peacock right now. The satirical mockumentary took full advantage of Amy Poehler’s comedic strengths to create an unforgettable take on American politics that remained critical without ever losing its trademark charm. The show launched the career of many underrated performers, among them Pratt.

Andy Dwyer redefined what a himbo could be. Introduced as a slacker in season one, Pratt’s Andy became a series regular after proving popular with audiences. Over the course of seven seasons, the character evolved past his initial conception, mainly thanks to his relationship with another of the show’s iconic characters, April Ludgate. Pratt cemented himself as television’s ultimate loveable dimwit, an image he remains closely associated with in his big-screen persona.

David Caballero
David is a Mexican freelance writer with a deep appreciation for words. After three years in the cold world of Marketing…
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