The Reluctant Hero is a term I am come up with to describe the hero of a genre of tv show or movie that isn’t exactly the anti hero but he isn’t the white meat baby face either. I am not sure when I exactly came up with it, nor am I certain that someone else didn’t come up with it before me. It is a term I use regularly and this type of character is my favorite.
At first glance, the reluctant hero is pretty easy to understand. He is flawed, does the right thing, even when he doesn’t want to, is a bit self destructive, has a problem with authority but is bossy. He is a bit of a loner and is hard to understand. He uses comedy to deflect. He doesn’t break the rules, he bends them.
For example, in the first Die Hard, John McClane is a reluctant hero but after that, he is the anti-hero. Flawed almost beyond redemption. Captain America, not a reluctant hero, neither is Superman. Batman is the anti-hero, same for Logan.
The best example of the reluctant hero is Jim Rockford. He saved the day but doesn’t pay his rent on time. He gets arrested more often than not for doing what he thought was right. He takes a punch when he has to, just to give one back. He knows that doing the right thing doesn’t always mean, doing the right thing.
Where did that line come from? I am drawing a blank. Oh well.
FYI. The reluctant hero can easily be a female and not using the word “she” instead of using “he” is not meant to be sexist. Send all formal complaints to Just Jon.