Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark, Kendall Roy, and the Sad Rich White Boys We Love

There is a type of fictional character that will bring fans together and keeps us engaged in their storylines despite the fact that everything about them is less than appealing. I’m talking, obviously, about the sad rich white boys who we love most of all. These characters are typically the tip of the privileged tower and yet they have captured our hearts because they’re lonely and sad in their lives because their fathers didn’t love them or are dead or whatever else is against them and then here we are.

There is no shortage of these characters in fiction. They pop up and suddenly you see a sea of fans on social media with the “I can fix him” mentality about them and it’s nice to unpack why we approach our love for these characters by dissecting each of them.

One of the main characters we’ve loved and cared for who falls into this tier is Batman. Bruce Wayne as a character is someone who is complicated but also perfect. He struggles with understanding Gotham and what he needs to do to keep his father’s legacy alive but he has little to no balance in his life. Especially in The Batman with Robert Pattinson.

His sadness comes from the trauma that happened to him as a child and he clearly refuses to unpack what it did to him as a person. Instead, he’d rather spend money on gadgets and dress up like a bat to go into the dark of night to be a vigilante. And somehow, he’s the most well-rounded out of these types.

My favorite sad rich boy who I probably should not love is Kendall Roy, played incredibly by Jeremy Strong. The Succession character is introduced as the second oldest son of Logan Roy and a former drug addict who has been getting himself clean and trying to prove he’s ready to take over his family’s company. But what happens is that his father is never going to give the company to him and Kendall falls back into his patterns and it is a trickle-down of chaos.

He might be the number one boy but he’s also a mess who needs help with no one willing to do so. Everyone wants Kendall to do their bidding and do what they need from him but no one wants to make sure he’s okay and we see that time and time again throughout the show. So he might be the spoiled son of a media mogul with enough money to probably join Jeff Bezos in space and yet still, I care.

In the same vein is Logan Delos. The Westworld character is the victim of a father who doesn’t care who is too wrapped up in his own needs that he doesn’t pay attention to his own son. Played by Ben Barnes, he is just so incredibly sad while trying to navigate his rich life and the loneliness therein.

The point of our love for these characters comes from their look into how money doesn’t equate to happiness. It can help but without love or anyone to turn to it just results in a deeper sadness that can’t be hidden away in work or anything else. They’re just stuck to their loneliness.

The character that is almost identical to Kendall Roy but is the love of my life is Iron Fist’s, Ward Meachum. Played by Tom Pelphrey, the character goes through a journey with his sobriety and his relationships with his sister, Danny Rand, his father, and the others in his life in a way that should make you want to hate him.

And yet he is one of the best characters in Iron Fist as a whole. He’s messy but he’s trying to be a better person and maybe that’s why these characters are so fascinating. They could just not care but each is trying to be better.

And one who really brings that idea home is Marvel’s Tony Stark. Robert Downey Jr.’s own history played into the character in live-action but in the comics, Tony struggles with his own sobriety and his father’s legacy versus what he needs to do to be a better person and it all informs the kind of man that Tony Stark eventually becomes.

He’s far from perfect but that’s what all these characters have in common in the best of ways. They struggle but they try to be better people and it works to bring us into their mess despite their wealth and power making them less than desirable on paper.

The reality of it all is that if we knew any of these men in real life, we wouldn’t like them. But in a fictional world? They’re our husbands, sons, and favorite boys and that’s okay too.

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This post was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Image Credit: Warner Bros., Marvel Studios. 


Rachel Leishman is a writer based in New York City.  She specializes in yelling about her favorite properties. A real-life Leslie Knope, she loves her fictional characters and knows probably too much about Harrison Ford's career.