Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Superman Returns Review
Finally Big Blue returns to the silver screen. Superman Returns is a wonderful delight to watch. Producers, actors, and directors finally have discovered how to make superhero movies. Superman Returns captures the essence of the first two Superman movies (Superman I and Superman II with Christopher Reeve as Superman). Superman has been the most iconic and long lasting superhero. As such there is a certain type of mythos attached to the Superman. Superman is a larger than life character, god-like if you wish. Superman Returns captures the Superman mythos. With in this film, there is no better Christ-like figure than Superman.
The Superman Christ-like figure is proliferated throughout the film. Even Singer resigns in claiming that there is a spiritual sense to the movie. First, Superman is an Alien who lives in the world but is not of the world. Superman is also sent to earth by his father, Jor-El. As is explained by Jor-El, played by Marlon Brando, Kal-El aka Superman is sent to earth to bring them to the 'light'. He even states "I send them, you my only son...". Those references bring to mind quite clearly Jesus Christ. John 1:4-5 "In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." And John 3:16-17 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son in to the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." Superman is raised by simple farmers similar to Jesus being raised by a carpenter.
Superman is also referred to as a savior by Lois ("The world doesn't need a Savior"). And yet Superman points out to her that he hears all of the 'worlds' cries for a Savior. Almost as if the prayers of the people reach Superman when he is floating above the earth. Probably the most clear picture of Superman as a Christ-like figure is the last quarter of the film. Upon realizing what Lex Luthor was doing, creating a perverted version of Krypton-like land in the ocean, Superman sweeps to action. But Lex had the land interlaced with Krptonite. Weak, Superman is beaten and stabbed with a Krptonite 'knife'. The whole scene is quite similar to Christ's Passion...being beaten and pierced. To stop the Land growth Superman lifts the perverted land and casts it out into space. As on the cross Jesus Christ takes the whole worlds sin, so does Superman in throwing the land away. Especially when he 'dies' and is floating in a cruciform shape before descending to earth.
The whole movie plays upon the Christ-like figure of saviors. Superman is most certainly a Savior. The movie is well done, even though it is long. I highly recommend it.