Yes, I did read the entirety of you post, although I also read your tone. Directing the words "laughable" and "juvenile" towards me tends to give a strong impression. Meanwhile, what I have been saying haven't been rules, per se, merely observations. These are elements of style that are often overlooked.
Flaws are one aspect of creating a complex character, but I focused on them since the principles of black and white vs. gray are prominent in this discussion. There are of course many other aspects to people.
Regarding what you said about Beowulf and Hercules earlier, I did neglect to mention to value of epic heroes. What often defines epics, using the technical definition used in my literature class, is that the hero embodies the values of society. Hercules embodies the values of ancient Greece, Beowulf the values of old Britain, and Superman is a more contemporary symbol for the values of America. In fact he was once introduced as standing for "Truth, Justice, and the American way", although that last part has been opted out, which I am in support of because I feel he still stands for the Western values anyway without the need for an introduction to spell it out.
But that's merely an observation.
To further this dialogue into other area, I feel that a protagonist should be likable. Obviously. Otherwise we wouldn't like them. In my writing, a lot of what I feel makes my characters likable are traits that are good and wish that I have myself. Yes, they are flawed, but that helps draw me in and make it seem more plausible that I can be like like the heroes that I admire. It gives me a little more hope. It makes me feel a little better. Perhaps it makes the story a little more powerful.
Then there are characters who are likable because they are awesome. Mewtwo. He's awesome. How nice is it to have an anti-hero who allows me to escape from some of my own inhibitions and pretend that I can be powerful and intimidating and charismatic all at the same time like him? That sure is likable.
I have examples of almost all the different styles of writing within my own saga, and I do break a few rules from time to time, although I have a established a few since I want some consistency in the style of the series. Ultimately, I do feel that what is at the heart of the story, whether it's obvious or not, is the struggle between good and evil, from which sprouts everything else. This is my fantasy, so it might as well be that way. Jedi Knight Krazy has summed up a bit of my sentiments:
Though it may not be realistic, I tend to enjoy stories with clearly defined sides of good and evil, for many reasons. It's a relaxing departure from our world of grey and it gives a reason to connect with the hero. At the same time, heroes can't be perfectly good; they must suffer and even succumb to temptation of evil in order to relate to the reader.
What I'm starting to wonder, though, is if an absolutely evil villain is actually something to be avoided. Some of the best stories I've read featured a villain who had no possibly justifiable motivation for their actions. Isn't it more important for your readers to relate to the hero than the villain? The only thing a villain really needs to be is a powerful force that opposes the hero. The fact that they use their powers for their own interests may well be sufficiently realistic motivation; after all, there's selfishness in all of us.
I think that he also brought a point that I forgot: it is more important to relate to the hero than the villain in most cases. There are exceptions, of course. I always related more to Javert than Jean Valjean, which is a bit telling. Otherwise, I do also like villains who have no justifiable reason to commit evil. What that does for me is remind me that evil in general results in corruption. One of the morals of Beowulf was that Grendel was a monster because of his hatred, because he embraced the evils that we all have in us. In these cases, the story serves as an allegory depicting the severity of all sin, which I find to be just as important a moral as any.