Two and a half years ago, I ranted on Twitter about Superman and why it makes no sense for people to dislike him the way they do. My general feeling then was just that people had some sort of hard line aversion to identifying with someone who always tries to do the right thing, as though great power and great responsibility were peanut butter and arsenic. I mean, I get it. I used to think Captain America was weaksauce milquetoast and that he would be way cooler if he was more of an antihero. For context, however, when I thought this, my favorite filmmaker was Kevin Smith, my favorite band was Limp Bizkit, and I was a couple of years out from being really into Mark Millar. Luckily, time is less of a flat circle than Rustin Cohle would have you believe.
The point is, I grew up. I stopped being a world-hating boychild whose blood type was misplaced anger. I stopped conflating negative character traits with positive signifiers. One of the reasons people seem to criticize optimistic superheroes is because they aren’t realistic enough, but I think they’re missing the point. We created superheroes because we needed something “unrealistic” to save us. Realism is relative. The argument that a superhero who is a bit of a dick all the time is more real or interesting than one who is decent and upstanding all the time is complete bullshit. You know what’s boring? A lack of conflict.