I adore Flynn Rider. Seriously. He is funny, charming, and a rogue. As an added bonus, the Oh My Disney blog quizzes have told me he’s my Disney soulmate. So there’s that. More objectively, Flynn Rider in “Tangled” very obviously continues the evolution of the Disney Prince. He has personality, agency, and a character arc of his own. While some of the princes on this list don’t get a name, he gets two! His life is radically changed by his relationship with Rapunzel. They have a real partnership and it could be argued that they save each other in the course of the story.
At the beginning of “Tangled”, Flynn is a wanted thief who doesn’t care about anyone else. By his own admission all he wants out of life is to be left alone on his own island with ‘an enormous pile of money’. In the course of the film he changes on a fundamental level. He realizes the importance of relationship and the strength that comes from caring about others. He has moved from self-centered to self-sacrificing. His journey is moving and is symbolized by his return to his real name by the end of the film. (Though I still prefer the name Flynn Rider.)
In Flynn Rider, we finally have a prince character who feels real. He is flawed, but redeemable. The magic confuses him and it takes him a while to get used to the semi-sentient animals. It spite of the chaos around him, he rolls with this new reality. The wonder eventually overcomes his scepticism and allows him to see the possibilities of a new kind of life. He is a great character and a very welcome addition to the Disney Prince line-up.