Saturday, February 04, 2006

Superman Returns

Recently Dess and I saw the teaser for the upcoming movie, "Superman Returns." It started with Marlon Brando's voice from the first "Superman" in 1979, a movie I could hardly ever forget. Then we heard John Williams' music from that movie, and I thought for sure this was an advertisement for a revival of the Christopher Reeve version. But the images were unfamiliar -- including a new and grandly mythical Fortress of Solitude. In fact the mythic and religious aspects have been played up very strongly in the teaser. There's a shot of the young Clark Kent leaping across the disk of the sun. There's a wonderful part with the new Superman floating in space above the earth, and descending to the city below just as Superman would -- like a streaking asteroid.

But the way this has been done is what I find so moving, as a Christian. Superman descends to earth after these lines from Brando's original performance:

Even though you've been raised as a human being, you are not one of them.

They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all -- their capacity for good -- I have sent them you, my only son.

A few years ago, I rented the original "Superman" and was surprised that those lines, about the father actually sending his only son for the benefit of human beings, could have made it into the movie. I had not heard that there was anything so explicitly Biblical in the comic. It should be said, though, that I don't know the comic. And I don't mind the allusion to the Gospel -- especially when I consider that the general story of Superman has probably always contained this aspect, or evoked it.

And then there's this astonishing visual from the trailer, which needs no elaboration:

The movie will be out June 30. The trailer is here.

A survey of Christian themes in popular movies is at Hollywood Jesus.


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