Peter Parker is a high school kid with superpowers, but what makes him truly special in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is that he has taken his Uncle Ben's counsel to heart: "With great power comes great responsibility." We salute Peter/Spider-Man, who follows in a long line of high school characters in movies who rise to the occasion and/or save the day.
David Lightman, War Games (1983)
It would be so easy for computer-game-loving David (Matthew Broderick) to keep his mouth shut. He's accidently hacked into a supersecret military system and been brought in for questioning, but he's the only one who realizes that the system is still "playing" and must be stopped to avert a global catastrophe. David takes decisive action to stop that from happening and, well, saves the world.
Daniel Larusso, The Karate Kid (1984)
Jersey-boy Daniel (Ralph Macchio) suffers from culture shock after moving to southern California with his mom, a condition that's made worse when he's attacked by bullies. Kindly Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) lends a helping hand, and Daniel finds that Mr. Miyagi's lessons help him to become a better martial artist, as well as a better young man, earning respect from everyone.
Alex Rogan, The Last Starfighter (1984)
Plucked from a lonely trailer park on Earth to fight in an intergalactic war, video game-obsessed Alex (Lance Guest) resists, frightened by the odds against his survival. But when the fight comes home, threatening Alex's family (not to mention the human race), Alex comes to realize his selfless courage and joystick skills make him uniquely qualified to be a hero.
Toni, Red Dawn (1984)
She may not know much about official military terminology, but Toni (Jennifer Grey) has a fierce love of country, which serves her well when the old Soviet Union invades America, and a small group of teenagers find themselves on the front lines of the battle. Toni and her sister (Lea Thompson) resist the temptation to cower in hiding, proving themselves to be fierce warriors in their nation's time of need.
Ren McCormack, Footloose (1984)
It's traumatic for a high-spirited Chicago kid like Ren (Kevin Bacon) to be forced to move to a small town during high school, but, hey, at least he can let off some steam by dancing to some righteous rock 'n' roll, right? Oops, the town has banned dancing AND rock 'n' roll, so it's up to Ren to fall in love with the preacher's daughter and transform everyone into dancing fools.
Marty McFly, Back to the Future (1985)
Marty (Michael J. Fox) loves his family, though he finds their complacency discouraging. But what can he do about it? Presented with the opportunity to effect real change, he seizes it, motivated by love for his parents, boldly traveling back in time so he can make a better tomorrow for himself and his family.
Scott Howard, Teen Wolf (1985)
He's just a dweeby kid who pines for the hottest girl in school until his genetic inheritance kicks in, and then, with his newfound ability to transform at will into a werewolf, Scott (Michael J. Fox) leads his basketball team to victory. He becomes rather selfish, though, and must be reminded of the importance of loyalty and modesty before becoming a true leader.
Ferris Bueller, Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
Only Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) can turn a day off from school into an uplifting experience that everyone around him will always remember. It's his gift to his best friend, his beloved girlfriend, his antagonistic sister, his befuddled parents, and, really, the entire city of Chicago. Twist and shout, baby!
Tre Styles, Boyz n the Hood (1991)
An above-average student, Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.) can't wait to go to college and fulfill the high expectations of his strict father, but he also feels the emotional pull of his friends, who are immersed in the violent gang culture of South Central Los Angeles. When tragedy strikes, Tre must rise above the cycle of violence and do the right thing.
Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
She's perfectly happy with being a popular girl -- she'd rather go shopping than kill vampires -- but Buffy (Kristy Swanson) eventually accepts that she is 'the chosen one' and starts slaying with a vengeance. Writer Joss Whedon's conception of the titular character would be fully expressed in the television show he later created.
Sidney Prescott, Scream (1996)
Still grieving over the murder of her mother, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) is threatened herself and then viciously attacked. To make matters worse, Sidney suspects her boyfriend might be involved -- or is it her father? Ultimately, Sidney must draw upon her inner resources and defend herself in order for justice to be served.
Jonathan "Mox" Moxon, Varsity Blues (1999)
Single-minded in his determination to get out of the small Texas town where he's been raised, Mox (James Van Der Beek) puts all his energies into his studies. When he has to step in as starting quarterback, though, he has to come to terms with his new role as a leader, which puts him in direct opposition to a verbally abusive coach who puts winning ahead of the health of his players.
Dave Lizewski, Kick-Ass (2010)
Dave (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is an ordinary teenager who wears glasses and looks like a geek, yet he has a deep-seated desire to help people. Unfortunately, his initial crime-fighting efforts leave him badly injured, and then his unplanned team-up with Hit-Girl and Big Daddy leaves him lucky to be alive. He retires, until his former allies need his help, and he's not about to let them down.