Re: DC Movie Universe by Informant
Oddly enough, my brother and I were discussing the Jonathan Kent death scene just a few days ago. We came to the conclusion that it was probably one of the more important scenes for Clark's overall arc, to get him from the life he needed to have as a child (protected, safe, secret) to the life that he has an adult (the hero).
It's a really layered scene, that people don't think about enough.
Jonathan and Martha needed to tell Clark to keep his abilities a secret growing up. They were his parents, and it was their job to protect him above all else. They were terrified of what would happen to him if anyone ever discovered his secret. So they hammered it into his head, over and over again, not to use his abilities.
As we see with the bus crash, that lesson goes against what his parents taught him about being a good person. It's not who they are, and it's not who he is. But they're parents and they're scared. Jonathan's reaction to Clark saving the bus was understandable, because at the moment when Jonathan is having that doubt, the only threat is to Clark, his son. Even Jonathan doesn't believe that Clark should have done nothing, but he's not sure what he should have done, because people saw it. Ultimately, saving the bus is what exposed Clark as an adult.
So, the tornado scene. Clark wants desperately to fight the lessons that he's been taught for as long as he could remember, but he's terrified. I've experienced moments of danger (when younger) that happened in such a way where my body and mind were at odds. I couldn't think or process, so I fell back on what I knew. When Clark does that, he falls back to doing what his father tells him to do (despite having been arguing with his father about this very subject only minutes earlier). Clark is still young, and scared, and his instinct isn't lined up with his teachings.
In that moment, Clark does what his father tells him to do. He plays it safe. He ignores his instinct and everything that he is as a person, and he follows orders. Because he does this, he loses his father. He loses everything that he had been taught, because it didn't matter. He played it safe, and he still lost. He let fear keep him from action that he knew was right, and his father died because of it.
But the scene is more than that. Because despite what Jonathan Kent taught his son out of fear of losing his son, Jonathan sacrificed himself for someone else. His actions and his words didn't line up. Jonathan, the man, was a hero. Jonathan, the father, was just scared. Every day. For decades.
The scream that Clark lets out when Jonathan dies mimics the scream that he lets out when he kills Zod. It's the loss of something vital to the core of who he is. Action or inaction, it didn't matter. He still lost. But without Jonathan's death teaching Clark that lesson, i'm not sure that he could become the hero that he was meant to be. Sure, Clark wanted to do something good, but that was a childish desire to act for his own sake. It was rebellion. At that point, he wasn't capable of being what he needed to become in order to use his powers responsibly and safely.
The scene can probably be discussed and perceived in different ways, if we really wanted to get into it. But I don't think that it was a scene that was ill-conceived or careless. I don't think that it was a scene that could easily be removed from the movie without removing something vital to the arc of Clark's character, as well as Jonathan's. It's easy to say that the scene could just be removed and that it was a bad scene, because most people don't need to character arc at all. A lot of people would be happy with the basic, cotton-candy version of the Superman origin that we've seen a hundred times before. But for this movie, and this Clark's development as a character, I think that losing that scene would do a lot of damage.