Other Kryptonians seemed to perfect this power rather quickly but it took Clark all ten seasons- was there ever an explanation for why he struggled so much with flying?

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    out-of-universe, it was an explicit decision by the producers to have "no flights/no tights" for Clark until the very end.
    – KutuluMike
    Jun 18 '15 at 0:22

Because he was burdened with worry and self-doubt, figuratively weighing him down.

Or, as the Smallville Wikia puts it:

Clark has been able to fly since he was 14, but cannot consciously use it. This is apparently due to his own psychological barriers.

To a large degree this was the overarching message of the entire show!

Notice how meeting real family (Kara) got him close [7x15 "Veritas"], and being a super-confident madman ("Kal-El" under Jor-El's control) took away the problem too [4x01 "Crusade"] … but as Clark under normal circumstances, it took getting comfortable with Lois and seeing fragments of a future in which he completely trusted her, to really begin the journey towards control over his flying ability [10x04 "Homecoming"].

Sadly, the finale had Jor-El just magically turning the powers on completely, rather than showing us some moment in which Clark finally realised he was "ready to go". Oh well.

  • I don't think Jor-El "magically" did it. The first time he flew intentionally was when fighting Darkseid in Lionel's body: he had a "flashback sequence" of some sort showing all the heroic things he'd done and when he snapped out of it, he was flying.
    – KutuluMike
    Jun 18 '15 at 0:23
  • @MichaelEdenfield: The "flashback sequence" included Jor-El telling him that his time had come and that he was proud of him etc etc. Then suddenly he's flying? Not a "leap" to interpret this as Jor-El unlocking the power. Jun 18 '15 at 9:32
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit maybe the speech from Jor-El is what kicked Clark's self-confidence into overdrive?
    – Omegacron
    Jun 29 '15 at 21:01
  • @Omegacron: Maybe but it's hardly the first time Jor-El gave a speech like that. Jun 29 '15 at 21:04

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