In 2008, USA Today ran an article titled "The good, the bad, and the anti-hero." The lead sentence claimed that, “Heroes are old hat.”
(3:10 to Yuma came the closest to portraying a traditional hero. In the end, however, Hollywood couldn’t help itself, so it killed the Christian Bale heroic character and Russell Crowe rode off to rule the unruly West. The anti-hero once again won.)
In the USA Today article, under a heading, "Rising out of the Vietnam Era” Lisa Dombrowski, associate professor of film at Wesleyan University said, “Most people will date the rise of the anti-hero to the 1960s, when the entire cast of Bonnie and Clyde and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf were nominated. There was a shift to embracing characters that are highly flawed yet compelling.”
Maybe it’s time we shook ourselves free of the sixties. Society needs heroes. They exist in the real world and we need them in fiction to serve as role models.