When looking at protagonists or leading characters throughout film history, particularly modern history, are there ever primary characters who wear glasses while being a hero, or while being at the height of their strength? Examples that I’m thinking of specifically are the main character from "Kickass"- he only seems to be wearing his glasses when he’s in his "nerdy" stage. Superman only wears glasses to be a nerdy disguise. Perhaps the one outlier I’ve seen is in the movie "Falling Down", which stars Michael Douglas as a disgruntled citizen who’s had enough, and he has his glasses the entire movie- but it plays to his characters attitude and personality. Will a main character wearing glasses just prove to cause too many subconscious feelings for viewers? Will the glare be too much? What is the issue?
I think the audiences associate glasses with brainy activity, and find it unsuitable for actions(there's a practical danger too). But there are few examples where the protagonists wear glasses, such as Half Life's Gordon Freeman(because he's a scientist), and the protagonists of Persona 4 when they are fighting the Shadows(their glasses work as filter to see the world). In order to change this, the creators can go with Gordon Freeman approach(glasses as a tool to describe the character), or Persona approach where the glasses works as a special item. – idleric7 years ago
Glasses are often used to depict an archetype and makes it easier for the viewer to determine what type of character they are dealing with. Of course this doesn't always have to be the case. There are always those surprise genius type characters that are always fun to deal with as well. Some motions often are used with glasses to help in determining what the wearer is thinking. Such actions as propping up the glasses or having a gleam in the lenses of the glasses often depict the wearer's mindset that a person would not be able to do otherwise without eyewear. Of course if you want to expand it to sunglasses and goggles, they also have their own for of role typing too. – Kevin Mohammed7 years ago
I assume we're talking perpetual and consistent glasses wearing, right? Not like Doctor Who or Twilight Sparkle who wear glasses just when they need to read? As ~idleric said, Gordon Freeman from "Half-Life" wears glasses, although we don't see his face other than on the box-art. Pepper Ann from the Toon Disney series back in the 90s wore glasses, and had an awesome unconventionally deep raspy voice. Jimmy Kudo, under the fake persona of Conan Edagawa, in the anime, "Detective Conan" wears glasses (fake ones though). Apparently a few protagonists from harem animes wear glasses, but this is more to make them out to be like the a typical nerdy dude who is extremely fortunate to be around a bunch of women who find him appealing. Most famously Harry Potter wears glasses, and he is arguably one of the most popular protagonists of all time. And, if we're not just talking youthful protagonists, Wayne Szalinski from the "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" series wears them as well. So for the most part, glasses do intend to usually denote a sense of nerdieness, geekiness, or scholastic interest. But these types of character CAN be the lead in a piece of media. However, I have yet to personally see a specifically non-nerdy character as the protagonist of a piece of media, who still wears glasses simply because their eye-sight is bad. – Jonathan Leiter7 years ago
As someone who has worn glasses for virtually my entire life, I find this a very interesting topic. And one that I've never thought about. Expanding on Jonathan's point about Harry Potter, I don't think Harry was necessarily supposed to be a "nerdy" character. He wasn't exceptionally smart, (constantly having to rely on Hermione for help on homework) and I think his glasses were simply a physical characteristic that didn't necessarily speak to his personality. He would definitely be worth exploring for this article. – Jon Rios7 years ago