The action hero of today doesn't have 18-inch biceps, a permanent five o'clock shadow or a repertoire of cringeworthy one-liners. According to director Edgar Wright, the modern action hero drives a Subaru, has a bedazzled iPod and is a hopeless romantic. That's not to say that Wright wasn't inspired by the action movies that came before Baby Driver, but the director has created a new action icon — and his name is Baby.
Trapped by a debt to gang leader Doc, getaway driver Baby feels like there's no escaping the criminal life he so desperately wants to put in the rearview mirror. In order to rebuild his life with the woman he loves, Baby embarks on a coming-of-age journey to discover the man he truly wants to be. By turning a regular kid into a hero, #EdgarWright inspires our inner champion. Baby is a modern action icon with heart who leaves more than tire tracks in his wake.
He's A Relatable Hero
Edgar Wright has a knack for putting ordinary people into extraordinary situations, forcing them to rise above their limitations to become heroes. While Baby possesses unparalleled skill as a getaway driver, he looks more like a millennial than the criminal thugs that surround him. As a result, Baby often appears to be in over his head, especially when he tries to leave Doc's gang. Many of Baby's attempts to be heroic even threaten the lives of those he cares about, forcing him to follow orders in a situation that seems to be beyond his control.
This, coupled with the fact that Baby doesn't give off the vibe of being cool or composed, makes Baby highly relatable. Audiences get a taste for the kid's quirky flair in the film's opening scene when Baby dances in his car, only to catch himself in a moment of self-awareness when the police drive by. Later, it's revealed that Baby records conversations and uses the audio to create homespun beats and mixtapes for his collection. These personality quirks make Baby a sympathetic and likable character, lending him an air of humanity that helps to define his style.
'The Gene Kelly Of The Coffee Run'
Baby stands in opposition to the criminal types he's coerced into working with, not just in attitude, but in appearance. Costume designer Courtney Hoffman wanted to reflect Baby's worldview through his attire, which remains largely unchanged throughout the film.
"Baby is a character who really lives his own life and he sees the world in his own way, so we wanted to make sure it wasn’t something that felt trendy or contemporary or ‘hot.’ It had to be something that served what his character loves and his ideals, and he sort of lives in this ‘50s fantasy in a way."
In keeping with Baby's retro aesthetic, the character wears mostly white and black, a stark contrast to other character outfits — Darling's bubbly pinks, Buddy's moody blues, and Bats's fiery reds — and visually sets him apart from them. Moreover, Baby's look is easily replicated while boasting its own unique style that is as recognizable as many classic action hero duds.
More than Baby's style, his affinity for music echoes the cultural zeitgeist of today, bridging the gap between the audience and the character. Music is as much a part of Baby's ensemble as his attire, and it transforms the way he views the world, turning even a simple coffee run into a choreographed performance to the beat of the city. This perfectly aligns with Hoffman's comments about Baby being described in the script as "the Gene Kelly of the coffee run."
Baby's finesse and youthful charm bolster his character's emotional appeal without detracting from his ability to drive "like a devil behind the wheel." This balance between hard-nosed driver and compassionate romantic makes Baby a strong character, and gives him the edge over his more driven but singularly-focused opponents.
When facing his final head-to-head battle with his greatest threat — the rogue Buddy — Baby emerges victorious thanks to the power of love, his belief in himself, and the momentum of his favorite song.
A Getaway Driver With A Heart Of Gold
After defeating Buddy, audiences may have hoped to see Baby and Deborah drive off into the sunset together, but were thrown for a loop when Baby accepts responsibility for his crimes and turns himself in. Baby demonstrates that he's a good kid who knows his actions have consequences. In this moment we see a hero with true morality, one who is willing to accept responsibility and do the right thing instead of running away.
It's rare to see a hero who juggles an affinity for high-octane car chases and a strong sense of morality. For this reason, Baby has established himself as an #action hero who is both recognizable and worthy of admiration. While Baby's gas station sunglasses and pink iPod may not seem like your typical action hero accessories, they've become the trademark of Edgar Wright's modern action hero — one who loves fast cars and loud music, but values love and integrity above all else.
Baby Driver is available on digital on September 12 — get it on iTunes!
How do you think Baby compares to the action heroes of the '80s? What do you think is Baby's most heroic quality?