I liked Man of Steel, and I particularly liked Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent. However, this post brings up good points on the direction they went with the character. I think that the author is correct in his assessment, but I can understand why this version of Jonathan would act as he did.
I believe his reaction is simply a reflection of how people now look at the world and each other. Jonathan understands how fickle and superstitious people can be, and is concerned about how they will react towards his son's existence. I would not call his behavior cowardly (after all, he did sacrifice his life for his son), just appropriate for someone that has his beliefs.
I am not a huge Superman fan, so perhaps this reaction is out of line for Jonathan's character. Maybe it is also another indication that the people making these movies do not get Superman.
That is, until Man of Steel. That version of Jonathan Kent, where he argues against any kind of personal sacrifice, where he encourages Clark to hide his abilities no matter what and even berates him for saving a school bus full of drowning children, is frankly reprehensible.
You can argue and justify it all you want. But I don’t care what the in-story logic is for the choice. It’s a bad choice. It is a case of not just missing the point but missing it SPECTACULARLY. By miles and miles.
I don’t trust any moviemakers that think that’s a valid portrayal of Jonathan Kent. I especially don’t like the idea of a version of Superman that is raised to NOT trust humanity, to ASSUME THE WORST UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE. That simply is not who Superman should be. Anyone who thinks it is, well, they shouldn’t be making Superman movies.