Superman is Jesus?
I had a teacher of grade 10 English, whose name escapes me. She had long scraggledy blonde hair, liked to suck on lollipops all day and began every class with a discussion about Melrose Place.
This teacher, let’s call her Ms. M, loved to find biblical allusions and symbolism in stories. For instance, when we read Lord of the Flies, she decided that the island was like the garden of Eden (I can buy that). And that Piggy was being sacrified like Jesus (hmmmmm). And that if you counted the twins, Sam and Eric, as one person, there were exactly twelve children on that island – like the number of disciples Jesus had.
Ever since Ms. M, I feel I am acutely primed to pick up any biblical references in books, movies, poetry, advertising, you name it! Well, last night, I went to see Superman Returns.
This movie was slightly confusing for me because I have never seen the movie prequels. Also, I kept asking Kram if there were movies that preceded this one, and he said no. Also, movies just are confusing for me sometimes.
What I couldn’t miss though, was the blaring parallels between the story of Jesus and Legendary Film’s interpretation of the story of Superman. It begins with a booming, ominous voice, which is the voice of Superman’s deceased father, passing on to Superman his strength and wisdom (from the father to the son – that they will be one). He talks about how people are essentially good and want to follow their hearts, but they just need to be shown the way, so he has sent his oldest son to them as a beacon of light. The looming question of the film is – does the world need a saviour?
Nearer to the end, there is even a moment when Superman hurls an enormous, island-sized chunk of alien-crystal that has been morphed with Kryptonite towards space (this is so we will avoid it growing into a continent-sized piece of alien crystal which could displace all the water and drown all of North America). Kryptonite is very bad for Superman, so this task is quite difficult. (I’m not even sure how he did it, since just moments before he was being beat up because the Kryptonite made him so weak he couldn’t walk – I guess a little sunshine does the body good). Anyway, he hurls the piece of Kryptonite towards space and at that moment you see the huge sacrifice he has made. The effort has left him balancing perilously close to death’s door. He falls back, arms out, legs together, in the stance of crucifixion, then plunges to the earth like a meteor.
I won’t give the rest away. It was a lovely story, if a bit cheeseball.
The moral is that we do in fact need Superman – we need a Saviour.