Yesterday afternoon, Alicia and I went to see Superman Returns at the theater. My reviews inevitably contain spoilers, so you have been forewarned if that makes a difference to you.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from SR, and I only knew about plot elements seen within the spoilers–I hadn’t read any plot stories or rumors online at all for this movie. Superman, after being gone for some time, returns to Earth to find that Lex Luthor is up to old tricks trying to strike it rich, and like his plan in the classic 1978 Superman movie, Luthor is after land. It isn’t California this time; rather, using the power of Superman’s crystals combined with kryptonite, Luthor seeks to create a new continent in the Atlantic Ocean, which would eventually overtake North America. And of course, mighty Superman cannot allow this to happen.
While Superman was gone, however, life moved on. Lois Lane gave birth to a child and became engaged to Richard Perry (played by “Cyclops” James Marsden of X‑Men fame). “Clark, Richard. Richard, Clark,” went the introduction of Clark Kent with Richard, which made Alicia & I chuckle (Richard Clark is my name).
And the world at large moved on, apparently showing Lois that the world doesn’t really need Superman, and she is being awarded the Pulitzer for her work, “Why the World Doesn’t Need Superman.” And in her first personal meeting with Superman after he returns, she tells him that the world does not need a savior.
Oh how often that is thought. This is where SR shines. Superman, the only son of Kryptonian Jor-El, is sent to Earth to be a light to humanity, to guide us and to be an example, perhaps even to save us from ourselves. Sound familiar? All fiction has elements of truth in it, and quite often, elements of Truth show up as well. This is one of those times.
Two-thousand years ago, God sent His only Son to Earth. He became a man that He might relate to us intimately, that He might be the greatest example of how to live life.
Both Superman and Jesus Christ recognized that mankind can not save itself. But there is a striking difference. Superman spent his time on what we could call temporal incidents. Jesus spent His time on the eternal. While Superman rescues men falling from buildings or runaway cars, Jesus spent His time opening wide the mysteries of the Old Testament, revealing to us our Creator in a way that we never could have known before.
I’m not sure how accurate this is, but in the movie Superman died, if for ever so brief a moment. Presumably a few days later, he is back at 100%, imparting his wisdom to another (I’ll be nice and not say who). But what did Superman die for? Superman may have been a savior, but in his world, the second you die, what Superman did or didn’t do no longer mattered. Nothing was done that would last.
Jesus died that we might live. And He rose again that we might not fear death. And no matter how often this is touched on in fiction–in The Lord of the Rings (Gandalf’s “death,” descent into “Hell,” and his return in glory), in The Chronicles of Narnia (Aslan’s death for one boy in a bargain with a witch and his subsequent resurrection based upon a technicality of the ruling magic of the world), and now in SR–no matter how often, it is always distorted so that Christ is robbed of His glory. The stories almost mock the true account of Christ by mirroring so many of the details, reminding me a lot of the savior-myths that arose after Christ came (which many people ignorantly claim came before Christianity and inspired it, ignoring the fact that the Old Testament prophesied exactly what Christ needed to do, without the need of ideas from mythology).
The world does need a savior. If all it gets is a Kryptonian, this world is still doomed. The soul of man is still condemned. No amount of belief in Superman would truly save anyone in Metropolis, Gotham, Smallville, or anyplace else. Superman isn’t even a unique savior in his own world, for Supergirl and Superboy exist as well (though not within the story of SR). Isn’t it wonderful that a true “Superman” did come at one point, and He came as one of us. Fully God, fully man, He is the unique God-man, a title which no one else in history could ever rightly claim. And if it ever did come down to putting my faith in one who is God and one who is “super,” it would not be a difficult choice. (In fact, depending on just what the Beast is like, the world may one day face such a choice.)
Aside from all that, a few comments on the movie.
Superman was apparently gone for five years because astronomers discovered what they thought were the remains of Krypton, Superman’s homeworld. Superman left to see if there were any other survivors. Despite being a pretty noticeable fact throughout the movie, the writers seemed to have forgotten Superman’s powers come from our yellow sun. Assuming he could leave our solar system to go find another planet many, many light years away, there is no way he would survive in space once a certain distance was between he and the sun. He would have died in space, never to return. Plus, Superman cannot travel faster than the speed of light, and the nearest star, let alone planets or remains thereof, is 23 lightyears away!
graphicswere great, and the music was awesome. I’m glad they were able to keep John William’s score from the original movies.
- Lois’ son should have played a larger part in the story, and if you see the movie, you’ll understand what I mean by this.
- I don’t think it matters how much heart he had, his proximity to an island-sized chunk of kryptonite should have rendered him powerless a lot quicker than it did, and there is no way he could have listed such an island.
- And what about Lex Luthor? He’s a lot smarter than Gilligan and his shipmates were in a similar situation! We’re just going to leave him on that island?
And I’m done. I should have wrote this yesterday with everything still fresh in my mind, and I admit I’m not the best at movie reviews. I don’t write them often enough to get the style better. If you go to movies, then I recommend SR. The action violence isn’t too bad, though I have heard some recount how children in the theater cried when Superman was beat down (these are the same children, presumably, being raised without any reverence of the Lord’s tortorous death, let alone any passion at all regarding it). There were few profanities, but none of the “biggies.” There was no sexual content, no drug or alcohol use, and smoking was portrayed negatively. The world created in the movie, as is typical, existed as if religion was non-existent, save for a few nuns showing up in a crowd. In such a world, it is no wonder that an Kryptonian in tights is lauded as a savior.
I also point out that the world awaits a god from “out there.” The gods came down in Genesis 6. They appeared throughout the Old Testament. Certain Christians were mistaken for Greco-Roman gods in Acts. And today scientists await the day contact is made with another world, with aliens more advanced than we that could guide us through our technological puberty, so to speak. The Star Trek mythos (especially in the original series) often proposed that the gods of old were aliens from other planets. Isn’t that interesting?