QUESTION: In Big Hero 6, and I was surprised to see that the protagonist’s flaw (Hiro coping with the loss of his brother) and the antagonist’s flaw (Professor Robert Callaghan coping with the death of his wife) were essentially the same. Are a lot of movies like this?
It actually may help to pretend that all movies were written this way. They’re not, obviously, but it’ll help you model a certain archetypal structure:
Act one: Hero introduced, flaw introduced, goal introduced.
Act two: Hero struggle for goal in some genre-specific way. Learns incremental lessons from each struggle. Antagonist introduced: powerful, evil.
Midpoint: Hero begins to change.
Act two B: hero, having embodied change, begins to kick ass and take names. But he’s faking it till he makes it, and in a crucial challenge he fails. Antagonist remains powerful, evil.
Act three: Hero learns for real, embodies the change. He sees antagonist (powerful, evil) but realizes antagonist is a dark mirror of himself and by some (genre specific) way, exploits that and wins. Story becomes thematic propaganda for whatever lesson you want. By doing X, hero stops being Y and wins. By being Y, antagonist was always vulnerable, and despite the clear power advantage, was beaten by the power of change and the theme.
This is reductive, but it’ll help you nail that archetype, once you do that it’s much easier to write things that aren’t that.