Now, you might think from what I said above I think characters should have no angst or something along that line. Far from it. In Batman we have a character who, in the current incarnation, is so angst-ridden that he considers giving up the super hero game in The Dark Knight (2008). Yet the movie is hugely entertaining...including him. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) can do things very few if any of the viewers can. Yet his struggle to deal with tragic losses without becoming hateful and vengeful resonates with many people. His troubles are deep but not presented in a way that overwhelms you with dreariness. Contrast that with, for example, Superman (Brandon Roush) in Superman Returns (2006)In trying to restart the Superman franchise there were a lot of external factors. George Reeves and Christopher Reeves, 2 iconic Supermen both came to unfortunate and tragic ends. Christopher, in particular, was still so associated with the franchise that many questioned if reviving the franchise was even possible. With that in mind, Superman Returns was entirely too dreary. The choice to shoot everything in greyish, muted, dark tones, to score it with moody music and to couch the attempt to rekindle heat between Superman and Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) in terms of her smoking habit tended to turn the movie too dreary and subsequently fan excitement for a sequel has been, to say the least, rather muted. Nor is Superman the only franchise to suffer this malady.
The Punisher franchise could offer an excellent counterpoint to most of the movies out today. Unlike Batman, The Fantastic Four, Spiderman, Superman, or even the X-men, the Punisher of the comics not only never had any compunction about killing people, his title was noted for exceedingly high body counts. Yet in the restart after the roundly panned Punisher (1989) in which Dolph Lundgren played a Frank Castle similar to the comic in that he used large numbers of huge weapons, the Punisher (2004) spends so long setting up the background that Frank Castle (Thomas Jane) never gets his guns off, so to speak and the cliactic battle is too little, too late for fans of the comic version and too brutal for those who went into the movie not knowing what to expect. That is part of why Punisher: War Zone (2008?) is having so many problems in production; the studio is rumored to be afraid to make a movie that will appease the hardcore Castle fans but still want to be hardcore.