I think something great about Raleigh is the little indications of character growth throughout the movie. At the beginning it’s implied that Raleigh is more like Chuck. Raleigh comes off as cocky and careless. After being mauled by a kaiju, losing his brother, and spending five years exiled to wall construction, you actually get a sense that Raleigh is a very different person.
All of this happens very subtly for a blockbuster movie though. In the zenith of Raleigh’s angst, he hesitates before returning to the Pacific Rim Defense Force. That’s it. He has to think about it. But from that point on he’s in it to win it. He pushes for Mako to be his partner not out of ego, but because he seems to genuinely think she’s the best possible candidate. He really doesn’t display any of his old arrogance and, when faced with a sort of reflection of himself (Chuck), he basically beats himself up. But he does so with restraint for the most part because injuring Chuck would endanger the mission.
But for me, I love how Raleigh confirms his kill. When he stops and empties his clip into the kaiju it really said to me that Raleigh remembered the beginning of the movie and was intent on not repeating his mistakes. I pretty much missed it at first, but I think this movie should get more credit for its characters than I initially gave it.