Everyone loves a good coming of age story. For those of us who are adults, when we watch Kevin Arnold in The Wonder Years or read about Harry’s path in J.K. Rowling’s series, we can’t help but identify with their struggles. The path to adulthood isn’t straight and it’s nice to know everyone else faced some of the same struggles.
I love a good coming of age story but I’m not sure how I feel about one being tacked on to a super hero movie.
This weekend, in an interview with Den of Geek, the producer and screenwriter for the new Fantastic Four, Simon Kinberg, had this to say:
"We’re definitely telling a younger story than the original films did. It depends on what books you look at. There are some, like the Ultimate books, that tell this story. So it is an origin story of the Fantastic Four, and it does follow them before they really know what a superhero is."
He also said this:
"They’re older than high school, but they’re not quite grown into the world. If anything, this is a coming of age story."
I don’t know if I want to spend two hours watching 19 and 20-year-olds figure out what it means to be a hero and an adult at the same time. Growing up is hard enough without having to do it with super powers. I’ve never been much of a fan of the Fantastic Four and this story isn’t making me any more excited for their reboot.
Since Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, the Human Torch and the Thing have their own coming of age stories on the horizon, here are some biblical coming of age stories.
Joseph’s story is one of the most Sunday school and Broadway musical friendly in the entire Bible. Joseph definitely faces a bumpy path to adulthood, as he goes from annoying little brother to CEO and president of Egypt. Hopefully we can’t identify with too much of Joseph’s coming of age story. I was the annoying little brother but my sister never beat me up or sold me into slavery. We all can appreciate, though, the way that Joseph changed and saw how God had worked in his life, even through the trials. If we could all come through our coming of age like that, we would be better off for it.
The best coming of age stories include a mentor that helps usher the young person into adulthood. Kevin Arnold had his father and Samuel had Eli. Hannah dedicated her son Samuel to the Lord’s service. Samuel grew up with Eli the priest, serving in the Tabernacle and shadowing Eli. I love the example set by Eli and how he helped guide Samuel through Samuel’s coming of age. Eli helped Samuel hear the voice of God and encouraged Samuel to wholeheartedly pursue Yahweh. Hopefully we can all follow Eli’s example and find a young person to help guide through his or her coming of age. And hopefully the person we find is more like Samuel than Eli’s own sons; they were much more like Wayne Arnold than Kevin.
Josiah is one of my favorite people in the Bible. His life started with some real Game of Thrones antics. When he was eight his father the king was assassinated, which advanced Josiah to the throne. Thankfully for Judah, though, Josiah had more in common with Ned Stark than Joffrey. Something must have gone right in Josiah’s coming of age because when he was 26 he made sweeping changes in the nation of Judah. He found the Book of the Law, read it and then helped turn the nation back to God. He destroyed all the idols and high places and reinstituted the proper worship of Yahweh. When he died I’m sure the people were much more distraught than most were at the result of the Purple Wedding.
We all start as children who need to figure out how to make it to adulthood. We can’t successfully come of age on our own. We all had people help us navigate growing up and we need to do that for others, whether they have super powers or not.
Who helped you navigate your coming of age?