New "Man of Steel" Superman movie--released this weekend--sends this message home. Director Zach Snyder does pack the film full of larger-than-life action expected of blockbuster comic films, but Christopher Nolan writes in a depth of character development that might catch you off-guard. Superman doesn't just fly into a scene ready to defend the powerless and fight for justice. His dads have to prepare him first.
In the final showdown, General Zod mocks the Man of Steel for being trained on a farm instead of raised as a warrior. Because on Krypton, they had replaced natural births to a mom and dad with genetically programmed births where each specimen was raised for a specific function. But superman's depth of character and courage goes far beyond Zod's pre-programmed fighting techniques. Why? Because he had loving parents, with particularly mature and thoughtful dads both on Krypton and Earth.
Jor-El, Superman's biological dad from Krypton, tells Zod: "My son is twice the man you are."
Jonathan Kent, Superman's adopted father on earth says: "You are my son. But somewhere out there you have another father, and he sent you here for a reason. And even if it takes you the rest of your life, you owe it to yourself to find out what that reason is."
Although it's a comic book (and I don't regularly base my worldview on superhero drawings), I couldn't resonate more deeply with this theme in the film. I parent 5 children and can't say enough about the crucial role my intentional engagement with each kid plays (can't wait to go on individual dates with all of them this weekend!). They meticulously observe and emulate my character--be it good or bad.
The hallowed view of a dad's importance in the Man of Steel makes it appropriate for the movie to release on Father's Day weekend. The power of a mature and engaged father to build men of character out of confused boys is a message we need Father's Day weekend and every day. It is the fuel that all of us fathers need to keep pouring into the formation of our kids at every opportunity.
SEARS surprisingly captured the profound roles dads play in a recent commercial about dads in comparison to the Man of Steel...