We've figured it out, Erik and me. Figured out what makes a hero a hero.
It's interesting to me that he and I both like the same heroes. James Bond. Zorro. Han Solo.
Men who are not wholly "nice guys" but are definitely the stuff heroes are made of. Often elusive and witty, sometimes earnest and ironic, always charming in an off-the-cuff manner.
And you know how you can tell..? It's the smirk.
We've called it the Han Solo Smirk for years - Erik has made an art of perfecting it himself. But I've noticed in movies it is not limited to Han or Indy or Jack Ryan (though Harrison Ford does an excellent job of it). One side of the mouth turns up in a manner that suggests "Hey, you need to take me seriously," or "You've gotta be kidding me," or "You have no idea what is about to happen do you?" It shows amusement or cynicism or arrogance or all three at once, and is a mainstay of movie heroes everywhere.
Tonight we saw Anthony Hopkins as the old Zorro and Antonio Bandandas as the new Zorro both do a version of the smirk. Last week it was Heath Ledger in A Knight's Tale. The week before, Jeremy Irons as Aramis in The Man In The Iron Mask.
The smirk is how you know this is a good guy at heart. A guy with faults, sure, but deep down, one you want on your side.
The Han Solo Smirk. Heck. Even Lego Han figures have it!