When a story endeavors to be straight entertainment, there are a lot of small things that need to be done in order to keep a reader’s attention. The character must be someone we can relate to. We might not be brain surgeon rock stars but Buckaroo Banzai still has a dad that he cares about and friends that rely on him. Those relationships help us to see that despite him being a cheesy super hero, we still have something in common.
Relating to a character can be as simple as showing that he has some frailty or as deep as expressing some major event in his past that conveys real world problems. Maybe the character experienced mental abuse in school, survived his parent’s divorce or broke his leg in ‘the big game’. Any event that we can say ‘yeah, that happened to me once’ or ‘I knew someone that happened to’ will bring the character home. Suddenly, we’ll be able to use our own experience to appreciate his trials better.