You definitely dont need x-ray vision to see through the plot lines to the messianic overtones in the latest installment of the Superman saga. Using intense and inspiring imagery, director Bryan Singer weaves together a story that simultaneously marks the triumphant return of the man of steel and the timeless story of the Son of Man.
I must confess, though, that before I saw the movie I was a bit skeptical. I said to myself, self, I hope this isnt a forced attempt by my brothers and sisters to make a movie about an alien superhero into a New Testament narrative.
And boy was I wrong. Theres no forcing here. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the Christ parallels in Superman Returns are as obvious as the lies in The Da Vinci Code.
At the small risk of giving just a little bit away, although I doubt any of these things will catch you by surprise, allow me to give you a glance into one of the best Savior metaphors Ive seen in a long time.
Clark Kent is sent by his father (named Jor- El by the way
get it? El- the Hebrew name of God the Father) because the people of earth "lack the light to show the way."
And if that werent obvious enough, the ghost of Marlon Brando continues by saying: "For this reason, I have sent them you, my only son."
At that point I was expecting a huge John 3:16 sign to flash across the screen.
And if thats not enough for you, there is a point where Jesus Superman sustains a stab wound in his side, and soon after poses with his arms outstretched as though crucified.
Wait! Theres more!
How about the mild mannered reporter not being able to lie (i.e. righteous), and coming back from an absence to be the Savior of the world? Im telling you folks, Matthew-Mark-Luke-and John should have been included in the credits!
So as I left the theater, one strong theme stuck in my mind. There is a scene in the film where Lois frankly states: The world doesnt need a Savior and neither do I. To me, this is perhaps one of the most subtle yet strongest parallels to the story of Christ, because it is directly reflective of the world in Jesus time, and the world in our time as well. Lois saw the need for a Superman as an immature weakness because she was deceived into a false sense of security. Of course when things fell apart she was all about the savior thing, which is a lesson we all should take f rom the film. The world DOES need a Savior, and so do you and I. Sometimes we dont see it until catastrophe hits, and sometimes it is too late. Thats why we must be about the business of the Father, which is to help people see their need for the only One who can rescue them f rom the ultimate catastrophe: an eternity apart from Christ.
Here was one of my favorite scenes. The last exchange in Superman Returns includes a line where Superman assures Lois:
Im always around.
Which reminded me that I have a Savior I can call on at any time in any circumstance.
And no, its not the guy in tights its the God of the Universe.
Greg Stier is the President and Founder of Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., where he works with youth leaders and students, equipping them to be effective in sharing the gospel. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries, please visit www.dare2share.org. Find out how Dare 2 Share Ministries and Focus on the Family® are working together to capture the hearts of this generation of teenagers, visit www.capturetheirhearts.com.