As a youngster, I watched countless action movies in which the heroes would fight the bad guys, get the girl and save the world all the while boasting well-chizelled faces what were decidedly free of vision-correcting lenses. Instead, it seems 'glasses' became cinematic shorthand for nerds, social awkward losers and the aged, with few of them ever showing the bravery, guile or downright sexiness of their ocularly-advantaged colleagues. As a glasses-wearer myself, it made me very self-conscious to say the least. But no longer!
In the spirit of spectacled solidarity, I have trawled the world of movies, television and video games to seek out those rare characters whose poor vision has not stopped them from becoming absolute badasses. However, I must stress I have omitted certain characters, such as Clark Kent and Peter Parker, who wear glasses during their downtime, but swiftly remove them when they take on their heroic form. They are traitors to our bespectacled collective and should be shunned as such.
Austin Powers - Austin Powers Series
As explained by Basil Exposition in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Mike Myers's British comedy creation is "deadly to his enemies" and "irresistible to women". Although he has his Walther PPK and judo chops to thank for the former, we can assume a relatively large portion of his 'irresistibility' comes from his snappy dress sense which famously feature a pair of thick rimmed specs. Take a look at his cool demeanor in the scene below:
Walter Sobchak - 'The Big Lebowski'
Walter Sobchak is a lot of things: a bowling enthusiast, a Vietnam veteran, and yes, a bit of an asshole. However, he is also a bespectacled badass who refuses to turn his back or sit idly by while people break the rules, promote nihilistic 'ideologies' or try to force overly priced receptacles upon him. Now, you're probably thinking, "Hang on, Walter wears sunglasses, he's not one of our bespectacled brothers!" On the surface it appears you're right, however he also removes his Ray Bans when he reads the bill at the funeral house, suggesting he is in fact farsighted and the lens are therefore prescription. So he does belong with us, and we're happy to have him. Check out one of his foolproof plans below:
Commissioner Gordon - 'The Dark Knight Trilogy'
Everyone might think Batman is the hero of The Dark Knight Trilogy, but in reality, it's got to be Commissioner Gordon. Sure, Bruce Wayne might swoop in, beat up the bad guys and dramatically save the city, but it's Commissioner Gordon who has to deal with the inevitably political blowback from his vigilante actions, as well as the bulk of the day-to-day admin. It's a thankless task which Gordon takes on without complaint. Having said that, he's also not afraid to throw on his police polo-neck, load up his weapon and lead the charge when the time calls for it. Watch him dramatically escape Bane (and keep his glasses on) below:
Harry Potter - The 'Harry Potter' Franchise
It is with a small amount of regret that I include Harry Potter on this list. That's mostly because from about the years of 2005-2011, I had the words "Oi, Harry Potter!" shouted at me every time I walked into a pub. However, I have since come to embrace the 'Boy Who Lived' as a bespectacled badass who ranks with the best of them. After all, he stuck by his friends when in danger, saved the wizarding world and seeked for Gryffindor in Quidditch -- all the while studying for his school exams. Impressive stuff. See him engaging in some extra-curricular activities below:
Walter White - 'Breaking Bad'
Now, Walter White might not be your average 'good guy', but its undeniable he is one badass visually-impaired customer. Walter just goes to prove that behind every mild-mannered, glasses-wearing academic type, there is a stone-cold drug kingpin just waiting to burst out. Watch him defeat his foes with science below:
Gordon Freeman - The 'Half-Life' Series
For me, Gordon Freeman is the bonafide bespectacled badass. Who else can claim to have gained a physics degree from MIT and defeated a trans-dimensional alien empire? In the Half-Life games, Freeman crowbars zombies, blows up Combine, continually solves physics puzzles and dodges headcrabs, while keeping his spectacles firmly on his face. As anyone who has played sport while wearing glasses knows, this is not an easy feat. Check out his iconic intro in Half-Life 2 below:
William 'D-Fens' Foster - 'Falling Down'
Now, we shouldn't emulate William Foster too much, y'know what with the whole 'turning into a crazed psycho' thing. However, as a man simply wanting to go about his day (and order breakfast 4 minutes after they stopped serving it) without interruption, he has to be respected. After all, William can turn, just like Walter White, into quite the horn-rimmed badass. See such a moment below:
Egon Spengler - 'Ghostbusters'
The Ghostbusters might be close-knit team, but we all know they wouldn't get anywhere without the guidance of Dr. Egon Spengler. What's more, as the theme song helpfully points out, he "ain't afraid of no ghost" and in fact approaches danger, and occasional near-certain death, with a good sense of humor, a lot of pseudo-science jargon and a wry smile. See that smile in action below:
Dr Ian Malcolm - 'Jurassic Park'
What really has to be said? Whether its flirting using chaos theory, distracting T-Rex's or lounging on a table with his shirt open, there's nothing Dr Ian Malcolm can't do if he puts his glasses-adorned head to it. Plus, that head is also filled with some some serious opinions on ethics and morality, and he's not afraid to lay them down -- even if it means making dinner a little bit awkward.