Angst. Kills. Me.
There is nothing more annoying than angst in a story. It slows down the plot, bores me to death, and often makes the characters come off as shallow or selfish.
Angst, in some cases, seems to be a symptom of writers either running out of ideas, or taking themselves too seriously.
In the latter case, writers think that their work needs to be serious, and that serious = dark. If the writers don’t want the characters to be happy, they have to turn to angst to keep them sad.
But what’s wrong with happy characters?
Marvel is great at not taking itself too seriously. While the plots are serious, and the characters face real struggles, it’s not afraid to add a couple of jokes, one-liners, and comic-book style characters. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2 is a great example of a wonderful movie that wasn’t afraid not to be serious at times.
(Does anyone have any tape?)
Rick Riordan is also great at this. His stories are filled with jokes and dialogue that make you laugh, from the dam snack bar scene to hitting Kronos in the eye with a blue hairbrush. His plots are serious, and his characters have great depth, but it still manages to feel lighthearted and silly while deep and serious.
Image from Rick Riordan’s Official Site