Refining the Man of Steel: what type of person will you choose to be
At a Salt Lake Comic Con Fan X panel, Lisa Mangum talked about the moment where she was hooked on Doctor Who. In the regeneration episode when David Tennant becomes the Doctor, the Doctor doesn’t know what kind of man he is. He fights a bad guy who cuts off his hand and still gives the bad guy a second chance. In that moment, he says that is the kind of man he is. He has chosen who he wants to be.
Spoiler Alert: Don’t read any further if you plan on seeing Man of Steel.
In Man of Steel, Clark Kent is faced with the same decision. He is given a framework from his father, Jonathan Kent, especially poignant after Clark saves a bus load of kids and one of the parents shows up at the Kent house frightened.
Jonathan tells Clark that is the reason why Clark needs to keep Clark’s powers secret. Clark asks if he should have let the kids die, and Jonathan responds with “Maybe.” This is not a strong statement that leads to becoming the selfless Superman of ages gone by. It is the statement of a more cynical era. The right choice for Clark may have been to let a bus filled with children die rather than face the consequences of angry people who do not understand him or his power. Clark is certainly an illegal alien in every sense of the word and one that has powers beyond a normal person.
Later, Jonathan sacrifices himself needlessly to save the family dog and then hide Clark’s secret. Clark could have certainly saved Jonathan, but Jonathan expressed his wishes that Clark continue to hide rather than reveal is gifts. In the light of these two incidents, Clark was still told that he decides what kind of man he wants to be. He can choose to aspire to something greater. He just needs to keep testing his limits.