There is something about the traditional hero in American popular culture that we find… lacking. Whether it be the snow-white purity of heart, the absolute courage of convictions, the unwavering righteousness of moral cause — or likely, a combination of all three — we often find such heroic archetypes a bit tiresome.
That totally makes sense. Such heroic figures remind us of our own significant failings, our imperfections, our shortcomings, and our general overall inadequacies. After all, who among us is as noble as Superman, as morally incorruptible as Captain America, or as pure of heart as Wonder Woman?
Because we are not those things, and probably never fully could be, we tend to root for the antihero when we have the chance. This is the imperfect-yet-heroic everyman or woman, who is heroic despite his or her best efforts. The antihero does the right thing when it counts, if not at any other time. This is the man or woman for which we cheer, even though their behavior sometimes makes us cringe.
These are not the Captain America types. They do not seek out justice and truth in all they do. They stumble their way into doing the right thing — most of the time — usually despite their best efforts to mind their own business and ignore the world around them. The antihero is usually a misanthrope, a weirdo, or an outcast. They are often hard-drinking, sometimes partakes of mind-altering substances, and are always dangerous. Despite that, in a fight, you always want him or her on your team. They might not fight fair, but they’ll fight hard as hell, and for you.