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How far can Anti-Heroism go?

Modern day storytelling has given us heroes that blur the lines between good and evil with tragic backstories, griping motivations, and a charm that’ll almost make you question if they even can do wrong. However when it comes to the matter of the ends justifying the means, how far are we willing to let them go? some collateral damage, a few by-standards? how about a whole city that was deemed to be in the way of the hero’s ultimate goal and just had to go?

There’s also the question of method once you realize kidnapping, extortion, and torture are out of the question for the modern anti-hero. While they do follow a certain code of ethics/morals in most cases, the point is it’s THEIR code brought about by their take on the world without any adherence to anyone else’s standard. They aren’t just will to bend to laws to suit them but flat out ignore them if need be, and i wonder if we will one day accept a hero that today would be considered a villain. Beloved heroes like wolverine dont shy away from shedding blood when needed and even take pride in it, so what separates him from the likes of the Punisher who has an admittedly higher propensity for lethality but is essentially within the same vein? both examples are at their core morally good and both have distinct boundaries that are rarely crossed consisting of mostly the classics of no women, no children and the like, the way they handle these ideals makes all the difference such as the Punisher seeing almost any crime committed as a cardinal and inexcusable sin with the perpetrator of said acts being considering guilty and sentenced (almost always by the man himself) with even women being given no quarter when found " guilty". We also have characters like deadpool, Batman (more in recent stories), and moon-knight who showcase some of the downfalls of trying to do good while battling serious mental illness that in all honesty mostly gets in the way of more enlightened methods than some of the extremes we’ve seen such as when batman accepted the jokers gambit of turning the caped crusader into a madman even the crowned clown himself cant appreciate.
Such instances and their juxtaposition with more classic interpretations of a superhero blurring the lines and widening the gap between what we know of good and evil.
With storytelling being constantly innovated along with our understanding of the world and the human condition and superhero comics continuing to come closer to reality i ponder on

  • I think there's something here but, first, I suspect, is the need to distinguish the anti-hero from the hero. Also, reference to "their code," such as what? Again, that might help distinguish anti-hero from hero. – Joseph Cernik 3 years ago
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  • I don't think "kidnapping, extortion, and torture" are out of the question. The Punisher, for example, does all of these things to protect others for the sake of those he couldn't save. Yuri Lowell, protagonist of Tales of Vesperia, is willing to murder corrupt officials who the law can't touch: he even attempts to shield his friends from shouldering the burden of putting their friend out of her misery by trying to do it himself. It's important to remember that antiheroes can be seen as identical to villains, depending on one's perspective, and the same is true of superheroes: Spiderman is technically a vigilante, and thus a criminal, meaning there are doubtlessly people who see him as a villain. I think it's important to view them as being part of a spectrum of good and evil. – LaPlant0 3 years ago
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  • Chris Evans in Snowpiercer is an great anti-hero. – Munjeera 2 years ago
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