If you haven’t seen Batman v Superman, do not read this article! But in BvS, Superman has a conversation with a family member in a snowy environment, and that scene has been nagging at me. I decided to jot down my thoughts about this scene, to see what I think it means to the movie, and why I consider this scene a visit to a figurative Fortress of Solitude. If you’re curious, take a look at my thoughts!
- Check out our review of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
- Read about our theory for the desert scene of Batman’s Knightmare in Batman v Superman here
Superman’s Identity Crisis
Batman v Superman has really been on my mind since seeing it last Thursday. Another scene that I have been contemplating is the Pa Kent scene. I wondered what this scene means, and on the surface it is pretty easy to figure out, but I do think there is a little more to it, in terms of Superman finding his identity. I think to really dig into this though, we have to first take a look at Man of Steel, and examine both father figures in his life.
Looking Back at Man of Steel
In Man of Steel we had two somewhat opposing ideologies of what Clark was meant to do on Earth. One was Jor-El’s visions for Clark’s future, which were optimistic, but also very grand. Jor-El’s thoughts seemed to instill the idea that Clark was a god among these humans, and seemed to almost place the responsibility of protecting these people in Clark’s hands. We see these thoughts conveyed in a few scenes–one on the ancient, crashed Kryptionian ship, and the other when Superman is about to save Lois from the escape pod, and Clark says his final goodbye to his holographic father. Even before Clark leaves Krypton, Jor-El remarks that his son will be like a god among these men. Talk about giving your kid a superiority complex.
Jonathan Kent, on the other hand, had a much more cautionary outlook for his son. He had a distrust for humanity, and how they would react to the knowledge of a being like Clark. Jonathan was not ready to call his son a god, but treated him as a son. Every parent asks their kid what they want to be when they grow up. Most children would say something grand–a baseball player, a doctor, a firefighter. For Pa Kent this very human question was very applicable to Clark, but on a much grander scale. What will Clark do with his powers when he “grows up”? Pa Kent knew these decisions would be important to the world, but he knew they were Clark’s decision to make, rather than given a pre-destined feeling that Jor-El seems to be instilling on Clark.
Figurative Fortress of Solitude
Batman v Superman continues this “Man of Two Worlds” theme, with people worshipping Superman as a god, while others seem to consider him the devil. This leads me into what I think the meaning of Jonathan Kent’s vision was.
First, I think this scene was meant to pay homage to the Fortress of Solitude for Superman. It takes place in a wintry landscape, as Superman’s “home” is typically depicted, and it is a moment of reflection for Superman. So why is Clark seemingly seeing Pa Kent? He is dead right? I would contend that he is not actually seeing his Earth father, but this is a way for Superman to self-reflect on what it means to be human. He has had so much attention regarding him being a God, or Alien or Demon, that he himself might be struggling to remain connected to humanity–a theme that seems to run throughout both this film and Man of Steel.
What Exactly is Jonathan Kent Trying to Say?
But what is the point of the story that Jonathan Kent tells Clark? How does Clark even know about this story if this is not really Jonathan Kent? Again, I think this goes back to the self-reflection. I think that at some point, Clark had heard this story as a kid. At the time, he was not able to process the meaning of this story. But now, given current events of his life, it has come to the forefront of his memories. He probably knew as a child, that this story had some significance, but just now is realizing in what way.
Superman has been struggling to figure out what is right, and when he made a move to do what he thought was right, the Senate building exploded, killing hundreds of people, which is what seems to send Clark into this exile. That is where this story comes in. As a quick reminder of the story Pa Kent told, he tells Clark that when he was a child, the family farm was being flooded. Pa Kent explains that he thought he was a hero when he was able to stop the flood, but did not realize until after the fact, that while he and his family celebrated their victory, that his actions caused the flooding of the Langs’ farm.
What This Batman v Superman Scene Ultimately Means
The moral of the story is basically there will be times where when doing the right thing has unintentional consequences, and I think that point drives home the fact that it is a part of being human. It further illustrates that Superman is not a god, but does still have the ability to do great things. I think it is this moment that brings Superman back into wanting to be a member of the human race, rather than struggling to police the human race as he had seemed to do at the beginning of the movie.
Again, I am curious to see what others think about what Pa Kent meant to Superman in Batman v Superman. This is just another interpretation I have for Batman v Superman‘s plot points. Let me know what you think in the comments below, and I will be keeping an eye on these. Also check out another article, discussing character motivations of other characters in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice here.