People are complex, neither wholly good nor evil. Barring those meant for an audience of children, characters who are completely one or the other are both unrealistic and boring.

Neither Black Nor WhiteBecause we are real people, each with our own flaws, weaknesses, and strengths, it is hard for us to relate to such simplistic beings. As such, movies with such characters are not often successful.

A character that cannot change is not one with which an audience has an easy time relating. This is because such people are generally inflexible. Even a superhero who is perfect can be annoying, because often, they tend to have a holier-than-thou attitude. Though their ideals may be lofty, we know such people in everyday life, and they are not usually pleasant to be around.

While a protagonist may start out as such, only the one who learns to confront this flaw within themselves, and start to change accordingly, is the one people find themselves rooting for. The more they can relate to a character’s development, the more they will root for that character, and the more likely it is that they’ll want to stay until the movie’s end.

The key is to make antagonist and a protagonist into real people with which an audience can relate. Your antagonist can be a criminal in jail, but they do not have to be evil. They can have friends, family, and other loved ones, with a soft side that genuinely cares about others. Your protagonist, on the other hand, can be inflexible, judgemental  a know-it-all who has no friends, and has no sense of tact or diplomacy.

Just keep them real.