Comic book heroes and villains have often been credited with tapping into the collective zeitgeist of their time. Each hero acts as readers would want to act if they had the same powers. As the perspectives of readers change, so do the heroes.
Idealistic heroes of earlier decades were replaced by more jaded heroes like the X-Men and Punisher. Heroes grew and adapted. Batman found renewed popularity in a time when city crime was at its highest. Now, with city crime on the decline, a more complex world, and a more intelligent reader base, where are the heroes we deserve?
Outside of The Watchmen, there seems to be little effort, particularly in high-budget movies to represent a hero for our time that doesn't fit in a nice package. Superman, Spiderman, and Captain America can't see past their own prejudices and affiliations therefore amounting to little more than teen heart-throbs. Iron-man has a relevant personality without the philosophy to back it up. Angry and vengeful superheroes are like small children throwing tantrums.
It's the temporary and short-lived heroes of graphic novels like Wanted, Kickass, JTHM, and The Watchmen that hold any genuine revelation. It's the interpretations of Frank Miller's Flash Gordon, imprisoned by the government on a treadmill to create energy, that has any relevance. This is a call for writers and superheros that understand this.