Father’s Day. For many, it is a day of triumphant celebration of the role our fathers’ play in our lives. Some fathers we love, others we hate. For example, many Star Wars fans love Anakin Skywalker AKA Darth Vader as a father, and others despise him. But what are the many roles a father can play in our lives? Through some super-heroic movie examples, the role of our fathers can be inspected this Father’s Day.
Okay, so I know most superheroes have had their fathers tragically depart from them. However, the father figures in our superhero’s lives present to us the important role a father, grandfather, uncle etc. can play in our development. Take good old Spidey, for example.
His uncle; Uncle Ben is famous for his role in Spiderman’s development as a person. Ben said to Peter Parker on his last night alive: “With great power, comes great responsibility”. While this was shrugged at and overlooked by a young Parker, this piece of advice served as a real predominant part of his life of crime-fighting. Peter learnt from his Uncle and his infamous death (which was ironically, partly Peter’s fault) that when you have power you must use it responsibly and carefully. In another instance, Uncle Ben also says: “These are the years a man changes into the man he’s going to be for the rest of his life. Just be careful who you change into”. This encompasses the notion of growing up and the importance of being ‘careful who you become’; noting that you are shaped as a person when you are in adolescence. Uncle Ben observes this notion and herein shows the influence of our father figures. Having a deep familial ‘talk’ with Peter demonstrates foreshadows his parental impact and later, when Uncle Ben passes away, his impact shapes Peter into a fully-fledged Spiderman who uses his power responsibly. Uncle Ben’s legacy in a way is a responsible, moral and balanced Spiderman as opposed to the reckless one Peter was the night he was involved in his Uncle Ben’s death.
Superman left his planet as a newborn child and did not have a proper established relationship with his paternal father. However, after crash landing and growing up on planet Earth, Clark Kent had a glowing relationship with his adoptive father; keyly as portrayed in the ‘Man of Steel’ film. Adoptive or foster parents can play a significant role in the life of their sons. As Johanthan Kent put it: ‘”You’re not just anyone. One day, you’re going to have to make a choice. You’ll have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be. Whoever that man is, good character or bad, he’s going to change the world”. This emphasis on choices is one key to growing up; something that superheroic fathers outline for us and demonstrate in influencing their sons.
Batman AKA billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne lost his father and mother to a gunman as a child. Tragic as this is, he at least knew and had a relationship with his dad. Bruce’s loss of his parents and grief led him to eventually become Batman. Batman’s father’s impact on Bruce is demonstrated in the ‘Batman Begins’ film; specifically: “And why do we fall Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up”. Bruce Wayne suffers a lot of emotional and mental ‘falls’ and this line from his father seems to carry a lot of weight in his backstory and development.
Fathers have a huge impact on their children: superheroes or not. Here’s a thank you to all the dads out there – absent or present – you have shaped us into who we are.