If God Was A Daddy Blogger

Today I'd like to introduce a very special guest blogger: God. Many people don't know God has a dad blog. No, I'm serious. He doesn't post as frequently as He used to, but He still tries to keep up with things. In today's post God offers a few thoughts on daddy blogging itself. Very glad to have Him today.

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I guess it’s been quite a while since my last post. Things in my world have been just crazy. One day you’re trying to keep Satan from getting Obama re-elected, and the next thing you know months have gone by and you haven’t written a damn thing. As a blogger this is like the angel of death for your site—stop posting on a regular basis and people pretty much forget you even existed. Oh well. It is what it is, and if you’re one of those loyal readers still following me then this is pleasing, in my eyes.

To be honest though (and I always am), another reason I backed off from posting is I find myself wondering what to even blog about anymore. Keep in mind I started this site like an eternity ago; I’ve been blogging since before daddy blogging was even a thing. After a while you tend to run out of things to say. Read More...


Man of Steel Review: It’s Superman And Yet It’s Not

If you’re a Superman purist I can guarantee you won’t enjoy Man of Steel. If on the other hand you go, forgetting all that you know about the world’s greatest superhero then you’ll likely be entertained. For years now, fans and critics alike have been calling for a believable Superman, one relevant to today. Director Zach Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyet accomplish exactly that with this dark, reimagined version which bares producer and Dark Knight director, Chris Nolan’s imprint. However, some of the liberties taken by these three to update Superman’s story have fans up in arms and understandably so. (Spoilers to follow)

Man of Steel does incorporate a number of the elements many would recognize from the Superman of before—the destruction of Krypton, the Kents raising young Clark, the return of General Zod from the Phantom Zone—and for the most part the movie does a good job portraying these backstory events in the setup. Beyond this things start to get dicey.

The movie begins with Lara, Superman’s mother, giving birth to her son, an act of treason on Krypton where children are artificially conceived and genetically engineered for predetermined roles within society. This is pivotal in setting up the themes of hope and choice echoed though Kal-El’s journey to becoming a superhero. Soon after the planet’s doomed fate is revealed, baby Kal-El is launched into space, and General Zod (superbly played by Michael Shannon) is banished for leading a failed coup. The rest, of course, we know.

Next we see a grown up version of the now, Clark Kent (Henry Cavill), working a series of odd jobs in his search to discovering his origins while trying to keep his abilities under wraps despite circumstances forcing him to do otherwise. These scenes are intertwined with flashbacks to Clark’s past as the strange boy who never fit it and the lessons from his adoptive father (Kevin Costner) and mother (Diane Lane). Both actors made for the perfect Jonathan and Martha Kent, and Costner does a particularly good job as he expresses his deep concerns that the world isn’t ready to accept what it can’t understand in Clark’s powers.

Along the way we are introduced to intrepid reporter, Lois Lane (Amy Adams) who is covering a story about a strange object discovered in the ice somewhere in the nether regions of the arctic. After an encounter with Clark, Lois goes on the hunt to learn of her rescuer’s origins, eventually tracking him down to Smallville. Meanwhile, Clark discovers the frozen object is actually the key to discovering who he really is (although has to wonder how a centuries old Kryptonian scouting ship could contain the famous blue suit made specifically for Kal-El).

And then, after a solid hour or so, our story begins.

General Zod, who managed to escape the Phantom Zone with a squad of co-conspirators, shows up in search of Clark and an object containing the genetic coding necessary for preserving the Krytonian race which Zod, naturally wants to resurrect on earth. With the earth’s fate in the balance, Clark reveals himself to the world as the alien Zod is looking for, and he willingly surrenders, first to the U.S. government and then to the Krytonian invaders. So far so good.

Zod’s plan is eventually revealed and thus begins all the fighting and destruction—oh, the destruction. First Clark’s hometown of Smallville is ripped to shreds in a main street showdown, showcasing a host of corporate logos including Sears, 7 Eleven, and IHop. (Hey, they said they wanted to make it believable--what's more believable than IHop?) Next, the center of Metropolis is pulverized into dust as Zod tries to alter Earth’s composition into something a little more Krytonian. It’s like Michael Bay’s wet dream to the tenth power making the Avengers battle scene look like a fender bender on 5th and Wabash. And just when you think it’s safe to come out from under the rubble, Superman and Zod take turns wailing on one another as they topple about a dozen more skyscrapers for another ten minutes as a build up to a shocking climatic scene. (I’m not saying what.)

Given my blogging persona, I’ve been getting pegged with questions asking for my opinion of the movie almost from the minute I left the theater. Honestly, I’ve been debating how to answer this. Driving home at 3 AM, I really, really wanted to like Man of Steel. I mean I’ve been waiting for over two years to watch this movie, and yet after seeing it, I couldn't tell if it was worth the hype. This made me think that maybe my expectations were too high, that, like many fans, nothing could please me. However, by the second trip to see it, this time with the family, I felt a bit more comfortable with the movie—but not all of it.

The storyline, the acting, and the overall feel of Man of Steel were all headed in the right direction, certainly more so than Superman Returns, which, by comparison, even made the fight scenes and collateral damage justifiable. Execution, however, was another matter. I could nitpick the movie's flaults, but I’m not a critic, only a fan. And so, it’s from that perspective that I will point out the biggest flaw of the movie—they changed Superman.

I realize that changes were inevitable—needed even, but in Man of Steel there’s very little that makes the Big Blue Boy Scout just that, a boy scout. Sure, there are a few scenes of him saving a school bus full of children and a handful of trapped oil rig workers, but beyond this Superman, by omission, demonstrates an uncharacteristic lack of concern for human life (or Kyptonian for that matter since he wipes out his own race's last chance of survival--so much being a symbol of hope).

When Smallville is turned into a literal war zone, Superman does nothing to move the fight away from the terrified citizens. (You'd think he’d be more sentimental about his hometown.) The same is true when the Zod hits the fan in Metropolis as the two wreck everything and anything in their path.  And then there’s that final scene which caused everyone’s jaw to drop. Even my youngest son turned to me and said, “Superman doesn’t do that.”

Granted, I didn’t want to see a campy, sappy version of my favorite superhero, but in attempting to create a believable character Snyder and Goyer stripped Superman of the very essence of what makes him Superman, ultimately bringing him down to our level rather than giving us something to aspire to.  

Throughout the movie I kept waiting for that one dramatic moment when I'd be overcome by goosebumps after Superman did something amazing like rescuing a scared child from a meteor shower (Tom Welling in Smallville) or gently dropping a doomed airliner in a stadium as the crowd goes wild (*sad sigh* Brandon Routh in Superman Returns), but, to my great disappointment, that moment never came.  It never came because the real Superman, the one that inspires us never showed up. Oh well, maybe next time. 

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Do I recommend you see Man of Steel? Yes. It is a Superman movie and still entertaining (and better than Iron Man 3). For parents, keep in mind that Man of Steel does depict some dark imagery and a lot of violence; so, if you’re wondering whether or not to take the kids I would consult Common Sense Media for objective insights.


A Letter To Batman From His Son

Yesterday, my esteemed and highly talented daddy blogger colleagues, Charlie Capen and Andy Herald of How to Be a Dad published a post entitled, 5 Reasons Batman Would Be a Better Dad Than Superman. The post naturally elicited a massive response from the fan-boy dads, which I, of course, could not refrain. Charlie and Andy wrote their piece specifically ignoring the canon of both superheroes, and so I have done the same with this letter written in a completely re-imagined world of the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel.

Dear Father Bruce,

I am writing this letter to you as part of my anger management treatment which, of course, you know the court mandated. Dr. Friskin, my therapist, thought this would be a good way to constructively work through my feelings. Honestly, though, I don't even know where to begin. I guess my biggest question are all why. Why did you want me? Why did you fight my mother for full custody in the divorce? And why did you think you could ever be a father to me given your dual identity?

I want to believe that as a baby our family was happy one, but over the years I've realized that it couldn't have been if Mother left you so soon after I was born. Did you even love one another? I guess it all didn't matter after one of those freaks--what's his name, Penguin--killed her. Listen to myself; a bird man murdered my mom with a stupid trick umbrella, and that's not even the most bizarre part! That would be that my dad dresses up as a bat to fight other such loonies around Gotham City, in alternate dimensions, and God only knows where else!

Okay, I get it. Your parents were shot right in front of you, and it made you angry--so angry you vowed never to let it happen to you again, and ever since you've been busting your ass selfishly trying to get the world to bend to your vision of how it should be whatever that is. What it all comes down to, though, is that you've been holding the world's biggest pity party for yourself because your dad wasn't around. Guess what? I'm angry too and for the same reason. At least Grandpa Wayne had a good excuse. What's yours? Answer me that.

When have you been there for me? How many birthdays did I celebrate alone? Sure there were tons of people, massive cakes, and expensive presents, but that didn't make up for you being gone. Did you know I threw bar mitzvah and confirmation parties for myself even though I'm neither religion just to see if the absurdity of it would force you to show up. But, no, you were off in deep space fighting alien creatures along with your little group of "super" friends while I'm still getting hit up by the local synagogue and archdiocese for donations.

Yes, there were a few events in my life that you showed to, but, god, what a spectacle you made driving up late in another Bugatti and getting out with another woman--sometimes two--on your arm. Then you'd make some half-assed toast about how great fatherhood was before unveiling your latest lavish gift to me, most of which made no sense. A marble statue of myself put up in the Wayne Manor topiary maze? Was that meant to represent how perpetually lost I looked? My favorite, though, was the pony. What kid doesn't want a pony? Yeah, when they're eight, not fifteen!

Fifteen. That was the same age when you finally told me your dirty secret. Was it because you realized I wan't a little boy any more? Bet that was a real surprise. One day you're sending me to Switzerland to attend prep school and ten years later you can't figure out why I'm punching that damn pony in the face in front of god and everyone.

Or was the real reason you told me because I was becoming a liability to you with all the drunken parties, and drugs, and girls back at school. I guess that abortion for Lex Luthor's daughter was a real wake up call. What did you expect, dad? I was only mimicking you. Did you think that revealing your true self to me would change how I saw the world? Actually for once you were right; it did.

You showed me how f*#ked up life was, and the way you went on and on about it made me cynical. I kept wondering why if the world was so hopeless did you kept sneaking out at night with your fancy bat-gadgets to save it. I learned to hate you for it and everyone around me. It's only taken me until recently that I realized you weren't trying to save the world, you were trying to save yourself from the guilt of Grandma and Grandpa's deaths. And the courts said I'm the one who needs therapy!

My mistake was thinking I could somehow fix you, and suddenly we could be a real father and son. That's why I went after the Joker. I thought if I got rid of your biggest arch-villain, you'd see me differently and let me into your dark, twisted world. Well, I guess we all know how that worked out--me taking a hammer to the Joker's face. I didn't quite kill him but I sure as hell bashed that silly-ass grin off his pale face. It's kind of hard to smile without a jaw. Ha!

What's sad is that Dr. Friskin eventually helped me to realize that all that anger I released on that whack-job's face was actually meant for you, Bruce. I feel terrible admitting to you how good that handle felt in the palm of my hand as I swung it over and over, but after twenty one and a half years of you never being there, of having to carry around your secret, of seeing the world and everyone in it as so inherently evil, I needed a release. And now here I am in Arkham Correctional Facility writing you this letter ...and only a week before Father's Day no less!    

You know what's funny? Do you know who's the only person to visit me on a regular basis (not you, that's for sure)? Clark Kent Jr, that's who.

I remember how you used to talk about his dad, that he was some sort of overly-optimistic chump, pulling his punches because he believed in humanity. I used to think that of Clark Jr. too; he seemed like some goody-two-shoes little prick. But now that I've gotten to know him he's made me realize there is a lot of good in the world, and this has given me hope that despite everything, there's also good in me.

Guess your buddy, Superman, rubbed off on his kid too. Why couldn't you have been more like him?


Your Son

* * * Read more on the debate from others * * * 

Andy & Charlie - HowToBeADad: "5 Reasons Batman Be A Dad Than Superman"

Sam Christensen - DorkDaddy.com: "Why Superman is a Better Dad Than Batman"

Alan Kercinik - Always Jacked: "6 Reasons Superman Would Be A Better Dad Than Batman"

Stephanie Reidy - Escaping Elegance: "Boys, Boys... Must We Bicker?"

Eric Bolton - Boltonshire: "Why Green Lantern is a Better Dad Than Batman AND Superman"

...and more to come I'm sure.

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