All hail the movie heroes. They go out of their way to ensure the world isn't overrun by (usually European) supervillains and aliens; laying their lives on the line for the greater good of humanity, and naturally accepting the accolades involved in such achievements. They invariably deserve all manner of shiny things given to them, as well as the troop of willing and grateful sexual partners perpetually lined up outside their bedroom door, because they do things that everyone else just plain couldn't.
Except, that's not always true. Some of these so-called heroes have been given an easy ride, and profited simply by being in the right place at the right time. They might have made all the motions of being our muscle-bound messiahs, but when it all boils down to the details, they didn't actually ever change the course of events anyway. Like most time travel movies initially suggest (before usually abandoning the assertion for a happy, hero-serving ending) some things are meant to be, no matter what you do to try and change them.
These heroes don't deserve your love as much as you might think, because their success hides the fact that the world would have probably been exactly the same if they didn't even get involved.
Were it not for one solitary act of heroic achievement, Big Trouble In Little China's comically inept hero Jack Burton would have crowned this run-down, but his act of uncharacterist brilliance in killing Lo Pan plays on his uselessness up to that point for comic impact, and his lack of participation in key moments is played as a build-up to an unexpected pay-off.
But there are more heroes who might as well have not turned up. They were either completely worthless to their own adventures, or interfering and simply adding some distractions to a painfully inevitable result anyway, or they were facing off against villains equally as ill-equipped, who were inevitably doomed to fail anyway.
Joel - Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
No matter how romantic the revelation at the end of the film is, or how heart-warming it is that Joel manages to convince Clementine to start afresh, the happy ending should be viewed for what it is - the simple hopeless delusion that doing the same thing over and over will not result in the same results. Or romantic insanity, in other words.
Joel and Clementine's relationship will play out the same way, because they are the same people, and that might make the agenda to try anyway seem romantic, but it's really just dumb.
As further endorsement of this, the original version of the script, which would have added a far more bittersweet - in fact, almost outright tragic - note to the film featured Clementine, advanced in years, returning to get the treatment again, which is then revealed to have happened multiple times. The inference is that the two are perpetually doomed to repeat the highs and the lows of their relationship, just as Clementine's final speech to Joel predicts, and that no matter what happens, the end result will eventually be the same.