Sat in Starbucks a few weeks ago I heard two mothers discussing superheroes. The conversation had turned to the new Iron Man 3 movie and one was asking the other whether it was suitable for a child under 12 (the movie is rated PG12).

It was mentioned that during the movie Tony Stark has to deal with his demons, the results of Post Traumatic Stress after the occurences in Avengers Assemble. To which the mother asking said she wouldn’t be taking her son as he doesn’t need to be seeing that (fair enough) but she then added that “superheroes shouldn’t have flaws”. It was such a resonating statement that I wrote it down in my notebook to ponder on later.

Various questions surfaced in my mind…

Why no flaws? Are we afraid that if we see the flaws then they will no longer be superheroes?

Does a flawless superhero set the bar too high? Does this then give us permission to not aim as high as we can because we know all humans are flawed (well, except for me obviously).

Is it not the vulnerability that makes superheroes believable?

I came to the conclusion that I like my superheroes with a flaw or two, it makes them believable, gives them substance. I’ve a sneaking feeling that I don’t really like Superman because he seems to have no flaws. I’ve always felt him to be prissy and boring. Give me a billionaire, philanthropist, playboy any day of the week.