Superman is Jesus
I was home hard at work at my profession. And by hard at work I mean “was looking for an excuse to stop working” and by at my profession I mean “doing mind numbing data entry”. After hours of moving numbers from this pile to that pile, I decided to take a break and went out and saw a movie (and got a haircut). I suppose I could have seen Nacho Libre but since I wasn’t in the mood for a comedy (and my brain was still attached to my body which would have limited my enjoyment of the film) so I saw Superman.
I really liked this movie a lot. Bryan Singer did an excellent job of mixing the big action scenes with story and character development. You guys all now by now that Superman has left Earth for five years to revisit Krypton. The first 20 minutes or so are filled with his return to Earth and the Kent farm and a quick flashback to where Superman learns to fly as a boy. Singer takes his time here, just a few quick flashes and it’s not til the latter part of this that we finally see Superman’s face. The quick almost toying glimpses we get of Superman just add to the sense of reorientation that Superman was feeling.
The action pieces are big, packed with action, movement and tension. Not the usual global meltdown in most action hero flicks but the more typical of Superman stop a crashing plane, save a sinking boat and stop a runaway car. Sounds boring in the realm of what superheros in the movies do today but I can assure you these exciting (and yet important to the plot.. nice change eh?) scenes will have you marveling at what Superman can do as well as Singer’s management of plot and story. The only real slow parts are the relationally “why did you leave without saying goodbye” scenes with Lois Lane. While slow to the rest of the movie, they really help flesh out Superman’s motive4s, his own conflicts and tensions and more (and we’ll leave it at that!)
Interestingly, there has been quite a lot of talk about Superman being gay (which I didn’t really see in the movie) and Superman as Christ figure (which I did). Superman is guided by a mystical, all knowing father who sends his one and only son to a people who need him. Superman memorizes the words of his father that say that his life would be reflected in Superman’s and vice versa. He shows Lois Lane a world crying out for a savior and does miraculous things. And for fear of spoilers, I won’t even get into the the whole three day thing. It’s not like we haven’t had Christ figures in the movies before. How about these guys from recent years…. Neo from the Matrix, John Coffey from Green Mile, the bot from Blade Runner, heck even ET. None though, share the innocence without naivite that Superman (as presented here) embodies. I walked away thinking about how such a purely good character hasn’t been so enjoyable in a long time. So interesting to see good portrayed so relationally and with emotional depth.
Kevin Spacey is fun as the evil genius Lex Luthor and Parker Posey is fun as his bubble brained with an emerging sense of right consort. I didn’t agree with James Marsden as Lois Lane’s love interest (it’s been five years… she had to move on!). I kept thinking “do something Cyclops!”.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a comic book movie and there are some moments where you think what you’re watching is leaping from a 2D page, but it’s still wonderfully done, pretty free from cheesiness and a definite good watch.