Nurturing/ Teaching Courses
Spiritual Formation Institute
Dr Alex Tang
The big guy in bright blue and red tights has a fascination for me since I
discovered him in the comics when I was a wee lad. Currently I am enjoying
Superman-the animated series, volume two and three on DVD. Though, I have not
been too impressed with the previous four Superman movies, I was looking forward
to this movie when Supes returns to the big screen.
Peter Singer directed this movie though I have hoped that he would take up the
challenge to direct X-Men III before taking on Superman Returns. But that will
be crying over spilled milk.
The opening credits were impressive and remind us of the old Superman movies.
John Williams’ music did not fail to induce a sense of nostalgia. The crash
landing of a spaceship in the Kent’s farm was impressive and it was a pleasant
shock to discover that Singer was not rehashing the legend of Superman’s first
coming to earth but of a second coming. Interesting overtones of a ‘messiah’
Some will regard this movie as a love movie- between Superman and Lois Lane.
There were nice moments in the movie which brought us back to the relationship
of the two in previous Superman movies. However, one would question a love in
which Superman will disappear suddenly without saying goodbye when astronomers
discovered the remnants oft the planet Krypton. Flying away suddenly and leaving
behind earth which he was entrusted to protect by his father, Jor-El smacks of
an adolescent identity crisis.
Lex Luthor, the arch-villain was an interesting contrast of brilliance and
stupidity. In his quest for revenge on Superman and real estate, he was willing
to doom billions of people and drown the United States. It is interesting that
he sees himself as the modern Prometheus. Prometheus was punished by the Greek
gods for giving mankind fire (technology). In the movie, Luthor did steal
Kryptonian technology for mankind (though for his own gain). Like Prometheus, he
was caught and punished.
Central is to the theme of the movie is Lois Lane’s article, “Why the world
doesn't need a Superman”. It was written after Superman left abruptly and won her the
coveted Pulitzer award. Rephrased, the question became, “Does the world need a
Saviour?” There is a scene in the movie where Superman hovers in space, listening
and then responding to cries of help. There is another scene when Superman and
Lois were floating in space (Lois apparently do not need oxygen or feel cold)
when Superman answered the question. “Everyday, I hear people crying for one.”
This has much resonance about the question about the world needing a saviour.
One can cast Superman as the “Christ” figure. There are enough pointers in the
movie: Jor-El sent his “only son” to earth. The talk about the father being the
son and the son being the father. There was a scene in which Superman was
floating above the earth with his hand outstretched and legs together in a
crucifix position. The second coming as in the return. The
sacrifice and death of Superman. His apparent resurrection. His felt
“responsibility” to be a savoir to the people of earth. It is easy to find
Superman as the “Christ” figure in this movie.
However, we need to look deeper into the character of this Superman. Is he
saviour material? In Superman II, he took Lois to bed (and fathered a son) while
leaving the world unprotected. In this movie, he returns from a 5 years absence
again leaving the world unprotected. He expects things to be what it was when he
left. He tired to rekindle his relationship with Lois who has a son and a
lived-in boyfriend. He stalked her like a love-sick puppy. Lex Luthor got out of
jail (a 2 lifetime sentence) because Superman was not around to testify at his
trial. He may be Superman but he is not perfect man. Only a perfect man can be saviour of mankind.
Brandon Routh was too scrawny to be cast as Superman/Clark Kent though at
certain angles he does look like a very young Christopher Reeves. Kevin Spacey
had fun as Lex Luthor. Kate Bosworth look totally out of character and
looks as a Lois Lane. She lacks the toughness of Margot Kidder. Marlon Brando was
well, Marlon Brandon. All in all, it was an interesting 155 minutes of movie
making of an imperfect man/alien who wants to be saviour of the world. Received
a free movie poster too.
|posted 1 July 2006|