In a review in the New York Times, Manohla Dargis compares Superman to Jesus and suggests that the movie’s producers are trying to tap into the same market that was reached by Mel Gibson’s, The Passion of the Christ. Dargis writes, “Where once the superhero flew up, up and away, he now flies down, down, down, sent from above to save mankind from its sins and what looked like another bummer summer.”
As I have often pointed out, the popular culture offers us a window into ourselves, our fears, our hopes, our dreams. I think this is particularly true of science fiction films. Sometimes they project our fear of the outsider. Someone from “out there” is going to come and destroy us as in The War of the Worlds. Then there are those other movies which seem to come out when we are feeling hopeless and salvation seems beyond our grasp. Then we wish for a savior to come “from beyond.” Then we get movies liked ET, Cocoon, and now Superman Returns.
The move has received mixed reviews thus far, but I am going to go see it. I’ve missed Superman. There is something in this movie that I already know that I will find touching, Superman’s heart is broken. He finds that during his absence from Earth, Lois Lane has acquired a significant other. No one has ever accused me of being a romantic, but I like a Savior like that---one whose heart can be broken. That’s certainly the kind of Savior we have in Jesus---the original “bleeding heart.” May he save us all from our sins.
©2006 C. David Hess