Who’s your daddy, Superman?

Russell Crowe, if you’re the next Superman.

It was announced this weekend that Russell Crowe will appear in the next Superman movie, titled Man of Steel, as Jor-El, father to Kal-El, the little guy who was transported to Earth to become our Superman.  Jor-El was played by none other than Marlon Brando in Superman I and II back in the 1970s.  Henry Cavill was earlier announced in the lead role.  I just can’t get over Henry Cavill as the man of steel.  Has anyone ever actually read the Superman comic book?  I’m a great fan of all things Renaissance but just couldn’t get through an episode of Cavill’s big break “The Tudors.”   They are really going to have to supply an Incredible Hulk’s worth of fake muscle layering for this film.  But I love Crowe and think they finally have a great casting decision for the new DC reboot.  Let’s see, this makes the sixth Superman movie, right?  Too bad they didn’t just sign Iowa native Brandon Routh again (who was also great in a brief stint as a spy on “Chuck”).  For a younger Superman he nailed the part and looked and sounded enough like Christopher Reeve (the one, true Superman) that it felt like Superman Returns was the sequel we wished we’d had for Superman III.  I also like Amy Adams who was very cute inEnchanted and Julie and Julia and had a strong performance in Doubt.   But as Lois Lane?  I think she’ll be better than Kate Bosworth in the last Superman film for sure.  I liked Bosworth in 21, but think neither she nor Adams feel right.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

I’d say Jor-El, for sending his son to another planet when his was doomed, qualifies as a good dad.  Since it’s Father’s Day, how about a quick run through the good and bad of sci fi and fantasy dads?

Bruce Wayne lost his own father, but took ward Dick Grayson under his wing and paired off as Batman and Robin in their own version of a father-son relationship.  And Bruce had Alfred as his own life guide. 

Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) wouldn’t have been the superhero she is without having a dad like Commissioner Gordon, no doubt.

And I’ve got to mention Green Arrow, Oliver Queen, taking ward Roy Harper (and later the girl Maya) under his wing as sidekick Speedy.  Of course Ollie may not have been around enough.  Remember that drug addiction storyline?  But Ollie was there to help.  So chalk another up as good father figure.  Now Ollie had his own kids, but that’s a different story.

Darth Vader?  Not so much the good dad.  Talk about not being around for his kids.  But then there is Obi-Wan Kenobi, not a dad, but who could have been a better father figure for Luke Skywalker during their brief time together?

In the reboot Star Trek from 2009, as George Kirk, Chris Hemsworth’s father to James T. Kirk gave the ultimate sacrifice to save his son from the rogue Romulans of the future.  Definitely a good dad.

Sarek is a little trickier.  In both the traditional Trek storyline and the reboot, he certainly stood by his son and set an example for Mr. Spock.  No joking or wrestling or ball throwing with this guy, but a good dad, I’d say.

Another father figure–how about Perry White to Jimmy Olson or even to Clark Kent as portrayed in “Lois and Clark” (or even his own great adopted dad, played by Eddie Jones)? And props go to Spider-Man’s newspaperman J. Jonah Jamison (played awesomely by J.K. Simmons (“Law and Order” and “The Closer”) in guiding Peter Parker (and Cliff Robertson’s Ben Parker, too).  Sure, White and Jamison are tough and mouthy, but aren’t the best dads? 

How about Professors as father figures?  Look at Professor Dumbledore and Harry Potter.   Of course, Harry also had Professor Lupin and Sirius Black to guide him among a host of others. 

I love the TV series “Psych.”  Nearly every episode begins with a flashback to Shawn Spencer and his dad, Henry.  An example of how they relate:  Henry comes in to Shawn goofing off and being a kid and says “I have a game for you, it’s called ‘how about you fill in that hole in the yard, now!'”  It’s no wonder it takes a long time for Shawn to get in sync with his dad.  It seems most of the shows I watch a lot seem to lack the father involvement concept.  Chief Brenda Lee Johnson on “The Closer” has a great dad played by Barry Corbin who gives her a lot of space.

Not all dads can be great, but in the world of fiction there’s some good ones to emulate.  I’m sure glad I got a good one!  (Happy Father’s Day, Dad!)

By C.J. Bunce



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