I am going to discuss specifics about the Man of Steel in this post.
Spoilers after the jump…
One of the recurring themes of the Man of Steel is “How would people react if they knew someone like Superman walked the earth?” Two different characters express the fear or concern. One is Perry White. The other is Jonathan Kent. Now, part;y due to the films overly frenetic pace, the question never gets answered. And I will be addressing that in another post, as I do not think it is a real problem.
But Jonathan Kent’s concerns are a problem. Mind you, Johnathan and Martha love Clark as their own son, and they want nothing more than for him to be accepted, not feared or turned into a lab rat. So, to a logical extent, the fear of people discovering who Clark is totally understandable. What is the problem?
Simply put, Superman get’s his nobility from his parents. His earth parents. His self sacrifice. His saving people. His kindness. His respect for life. that all comes from the Kents. To a large extent, that idea is put forth in Man of Steel. At one point, Jor-El’s hologram tells Clark that he wanted him to grow up as a human before he learned about Krypton. He knew that his son would have great powers and abilities, and he believed he needed to grow up as one of us.
Jonathan Kent, on the other hand, is so sure that the world is not ready for Clark, that after saving several students from drowning, he scolds Clark. Clark desperately asks if he should have let the other kids drown. Jonathan, somewhat flabbergasted, says “maybe…”
No, Jonathan. The answer is, without hesitation, NO.
Clark did the right thing, and you chastised him for it.
Smallville had this very same problem, where hiding Clark’s abilities always seemed more important to Jonathan than saving people. Man of Steel gives Smallville a run for the money in throwing Jonathan under the bus. In Man of Steel, after a fight in their truck, Jonathan, Martha and Clark find themselves facing a tornado. Everyone runs under the Overpass (um, really?) as Clark and Jonathan help people get under the overpass (SERIOUSLY?) and then Martha lets them know that their dog is still in the car. Johnathan, knowing Clark is able to save the dog sends him in, Clark saves the dog, but appears to get swept into the tornado, much to everyone’s horror. A short time later, they find Clark in a field…ALIVE! It’s a miracle! Afterall, twenty people can die in a tornado, but if one baby survives, people declare a miracle. Nobody questions it.
Oh wait, no, Jonathan actually tells Clark he’s getting the dog. After he saves the dog, his foot gets hurt…Jonathan cannot run to safety…. Clark steps forward and Jonathan raises his hand to indicate “no”, so Clark lets his dad die.
It is not all bad. There are some real nice moments with Clark and his parents. When Clark learns he is an alien, he asks why he cannot keep pretending to be Jonathan’s son. Jonathan pulls him close in a parental embrace and tearfully says, “You ARE my son!” When young Clark freaks out as his powers start to develop, Martha speaks to him, as only parents can, helping him focus and gain control. But on many counts, Man of Steel tumbles with the Kents.