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Top 10 Underrated Male Disney Characters

VO: Emily Brayton
These male Disney characters definitely deserve more credit! We’re talking about Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Milo James Thatch from Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Hercules, Zazu from the Lion King, The Pub Thugs from Tangled, Lewis from Meet the Robinsons, Wreck-It Ralph, Hiro Hamada from Big Hero 6, Koda from Brother Bear, Tito from Oliver & Company, Basil from The Great Mouse Detective and Scuttle from the Little Mermaid!

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Top 10 Underrated Male Disney Characters

The Mouse House has so many memorable residents that a few are bound to get lost in the shuffle. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Underrated Male Disney Characters.

For this list, we’re taking a look at the most compelling men in animated Disney films that don’t always get the credit they deserve.

#10: Hiro Hamada
“Big Hero 6” (2014)

He might be fourteen years old, but this robotics wiz kid earns comparison to Tony Stark, Peter Parker, and other brilliant minds from the Marvel universe. In Disney’s adaptation of the lesser-known Marvel comic book series, Hiro is depicted as a rebellious boy genius that prefers to fly solo. When a baddie in a mask threatens his city, however, he assembles a colorful team of misfits, including the superhero-obsessed Fred (xref). Despite his antisocial tendencies, Hiro emerges as an identifiable and endearing protagonist. Through the support of his fellow crime fighters, he learns the importance of friendship and forgiveness. Most importantly, Hiro finally sees that he was never really alone. Only then is he able to let the healing process begin.

#9: Wreck-It Ralph
“Wreck-It Ralph” (2012)

Sharing a resemblance to Donkey Kong, Wreck-It Ralph exists within an old-school arcade game. Continually clashing with the upbeat Fix-It Felix, Jr., Ralph’s sole purpose is to be the reviled villain. Desperately wanting respect and inclusion, this baddie decides to turn over a new leaf. He doesn’t entirely comprehend what it means to be a good guy, though. Ralph can be temperamental, greedy, and easily manipulated. Yet, the audience can’t help but love the big lug. His identity crisis is relatable and we genuinely sympathize with his struggle to fit in. Ralph ultimately finds that there’s more to saving the day than winning medals. As a result, he’s able to accept his role in life and take pride in his day-to-day duties.

#8: Basil
“The Great Mouse Detective” (1986)

Imagine if, when Sherlock Holmes fell to his death at the Reichenbach Falls, that he was reincarnated as a mouse. That’s basically Basil of Baker Street. In the same vein as Sherlock, this English rodent is egotistical, obsessive, and unhinged. He’s like a mad scientist and the audience can practically see the gears moving in his brain. With that said, Basil is still a noble sleuth who wants nothing more than to see justice served. He’ll gladly put himself in the line of danger to protect the innocent and catch the villain. While Basil can solve almost any puzzle on his own, he eventually discovers that it never hurts to bring a trusted sidekick along for the ride.

#7: Lewis
“Meet the Robinsons” (2007)

Yet another boy genius, Lewis is modest, hard-working, and good-natured. He only wants two things out of life: to invent something truly revolutionary and to find a loving family. Unfortunately, most of his inventions are catastrophic disasters, which scares off potential adoptive parents. Upon meeting the wacky Robinsons, Lewis realizes that failure is an important step in finding success. No matter how bleak life seems, you can never lose hope that a brighter future is waiting around the corner. Lewis learns that in order to reach that future, though, you need to keep moving forward. Walt Disney himself lived by this philosophy, and his wise words continue to flourish through Lewis’ perseverance.

#6: The Pub Thugs
“Tangled” (2010)

One of the many life lessons in “Tangled” is that appearances can be deceiving. Although Rapunzel looks like a fragile, frightened little girl, she emerges as a strong, independent woman. Likewise, the pub thugs might seem like a rowdy bunch of ruffians. After crossing paths with the inspiring Rapunzel, however, they start to show their true colors. Underneath their scary, brutish exteriors, the thugs are snuggly ducklings that dream of playing beautiful music, finding true love, and collecting ceramic unicorns. They express their ambitions through a hilarious song, which practically brings down the house. Our heroine encourages the thugs to follow their dreams. In return, they play a crucial role in making Rapunzel’s dreams come true.

#5: Emperor Kuzco
“The Emperor’s New Groove” (2000)

David Spade is the king of sarcasm, which made him the perfect choice to voice the narcissistic Kuzco. This 18-year-old emperor is essentially a spoiled rich boy who abuses his power, takes no responsibility for his actions, and has little compassion for others. It isn’t until he’s turned into a llama that Kuzco comes to understand the value of giving and friendship. Disney sure has a knack for taking flawed characters and making them surprisingly likeable! In this case, Kuzco completely wins over the audience with his style, pizzazz, and hysterical fourth wall breaks. Just don’t throw off his groove.

#4: Zazu
“The Lion King” (1994)

Timon and Pumbaa stole the show in “The Lion King,” which might explain why Zazu is often overlooked. Before everyone’s favorite meerkat and warthog show up, though, this hornbill provides much of the film’s comedic relief. Zazu steals some of the best one-liners, particularly when he suggests turning the devious Scar into a handsome throw rug. While Zazu is dry and sardonic, he’s also a dedicated majordomo who advises Mufasa and watches over young Simba. After Scar usurps the throne, Zazu still manages levity despite being stuck in a cage. Nevertheless, Zazu’s loyalties remain with Mufasa and Pride Rock’s true heir.

#3: Milo James Thatch
“Atlantis: The Lost Empire” (2001)

Unlike some of the other leading men in Disney movies, Milo doesn’t start off as a dashing prince or an experienced adventurer. Rather, he’s a mousy bookworm who spends most of his time cooped up in a museum. After years of research, Milo believes he can uncover the location of Atlantis, but nobody takes him seriously. With support from an oddball millionaire, Milo is finally able to seek out the lost empire and fulfill his destiny. Being an expert cartographer and linguist, Milo naturally acts as a voice of reason. Throughout the film, he also evolves into brave leader who will fight for Atlantis or die trying. With brains and strength, Milo proves to have a staggering amount of depth.

#2: Hercules
“Hercules” (1997)

Disney’s interpretation of Hercules is like the Superman of Greek mythology. A god who has lost his immortality and been raised on earth, Hercules is different, and treated as an outcast. Upon learning of his godly heritage, Herc sets out to find his place in the world and defeat anything that comes his way courtesy of the calculating lord of the underworld, Hades. Even though Hercules has the strength of a thousand men, he stands out as a humble, virtuous soul without an ounce of cynicism. Granted, he can be shy, awkward, and overly trusting, but his innocent charm is also largely part of his appeal. As strong as this wonder boy is, it’s his heart of gold that motivates him to go the distance.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Oliver & Company” (1988)

“The Little Mermaid” (1989)

“Brother Bear” (2003)

#1: Quasimodo
“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (1996)

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is widely considered one of Disney’s unsung masterpieces. Similarly, Quasimodo is something of an unsung hero. Born with shocking deformities, this lonely hunchback is raised in Notre Dame Cathedral where he’s hidden from others. Behind his monstrous face, however, he’s truly a gentle man who simply wants to be accepted. Although many people shun Quasi, others come to see the love and sincerity in his heart. The bell ringer thus rises as the city’s guardian angel, standing up against corruption and intolerance. While Quasi doesn’t get the girl and the traditional happy ending, his bravery and selflessness don’t go unnoticed. The crowd ultimately embraces him and more audiences should do the same.

Do you agree with our list? Which male Disney character do you think is underrated? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.

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