Sometimes the bad guy is the good guy. Sometimes he’s a girl. Here’s how the movie hero has developed over the past few decades…
1: The CONFORMIST (1955 – 1965)We love and trust the government; Our Man In [insert exotic locale that no ordinary cinema-goer could possibly afford to visit, such as France]; straight girls swoon and gay girls straighten up for him; that IS a pistol in his pocket; his trousers do not cover his socks; laughs at beatniks and hippies in the (wrong)assumption that he will survive them all; aspirational; fights for a nice salary.
PIN-UP: Sean Connery as James BondWALLET-SIZED: Flint, Those U.N.C.L.E guys; Batman
2: The MAVERICK (1966 -1976)That’s NOT a pistol in his pocket; we don’t trust the government and neither does he; he shoots the bastard, that’s his policy; he’s with ‘the kids’ on this one; girlfriend/s probably Japanese; ex-wife is ‘a bitch’; frequently dies in the last reel; often an outright criminal; fatalistic; fights for kicks and survival.
PIN-UP: Clint Eastwood as Harry CallaghanWALLET-SIZED: Michael Caine in Get Carter; Elliott Gould; Peter Fonda; Steve McQueen; Charlton Heston sci-fi.
3: The DISCIPLE (1977 – 1985)Home plundered by baddies and dog scoffed at (or just plain scoffed) by The Bad Guys; finds comedic sidekick/s and seeks wisdom/revenge (synonymous); has a sword/sabre/stick; wide-eyed; fights on behalf of defenceless populace.
PIN-UP: Luke SkywalkerWALLET-SIZED: Conan The Barbarian; Flash Gordon
4: The RELUCTANT HERO (1986 – 1992)Ripley coins the oft-repeated ‘Get them out of there!’ in Aliens, revealing authority as not necessarily corrupt (see Maverick above) but totally incompetent; has to be blackmailed/coerced into being the hero; must struggle against crippling flashbacks of earlier trauma; cynical; fights on behalf of defenceless populace/irritating children.
PIN-UP: Ellen Ripley (for being the first)WALLET-SIZED: John McClaine; Rambo; [Manhunter guy]; Robocop; Batman.
5: The REBORN GOOD GUY (1992- 2001)Clinton’s in – we love our Prez; God bless the Irish; down with English psychos! ; patriotic; fights for truth, justice and the American way.
PIN-UP: Harrison in Air Force OneWALLET-SIZED: Bill Pullman in Independence Day; Braveheart; Men In Black
6: DAMAGED GOODS (2002 -)It’s all gone Hong Kong; saving the world between rehab and the confessional; bipolar; fights for redemption and forgiveness.
PIN-UP: SpidermanWALLET-SIZED: Batman (Bale); Daredevil; X-men; (returned) Superman; James Bond (Craig)