For Some, Man of Steel Has Messianic Echo
First there were the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.Good article -- gets the balance about right. Echoes, allusions and motifs there, part of the stock from which everyone draws; don't get your knickers in a twist about them.
Now, for many Christian moviegoers comes another gospel.
As the hype machine shifts into high gear for the upcoming release of "Superman Returns," some are reading deeply into the film whose hero returns from a deathlike absence to play savior to the world.
"It is so on the nose that anyone who has not caught on that Superman is a Christ figure, you think, `Who else could it be referring to?'" said Steve Skelton, who wrote a book examining parallels between Superman and Christ . . .
. . . . Many simply see the story of a hero sent to Earth by his father to serve mankind as having clear enough New Testament overtones. Others have taken the comparison even further, reading the "El" in Superman's original name "Kal-El" and that of his father "Jor-El" as the Hebrew word for "God," among other theological interpretations.
"Superman Returns," which premieres June 28, has been drawing its own comparisons to biblical accounts, especially after the appearance of its trailer earlier this year.
The preview shows the hero with his eyes closed as the voice of his father Marlon Brando's, courtesy of 1978's "Superman" tells him he was sent to Earth because humans "lack the light to show the way."
"For this reason," continues the voice, "I have sent them you, my only son."
Online message boards and Web logs quickly latched onto the biblical resonance of those lines . . .
. . . Not everybody welcomes the Superman-Jesus comparisons.
"It's a misrecognition," said Amy Pedersen, who is writing her doctoral thesis in art history at the University of California, Los Angeles, on superhero comic books.
Pedersen said Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who introduced Superman in 1938 in a comic book, were Jews who were inspired by the Old Testament story of Moses and the supernatural golem character from Jewish folklore.
The Christian allusions are recent innovations that compromise the integrity of the Superman myth, she said . . . .