SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
The latest film version of Superman isn't just sci-fi action movie about a super-human crime fighter. It's also a Greek tragedy, revealing Superman's inner turmoil and his eventual emergence as a messiah, the messianic "Man of Steel."
The film opened around the country on Thursday with a special Wal-Mart premier in the evening, followed by the typical midnight showings. It employed a messianic theme that other films have used. A mysterious savior appears to right all wrongs, someone who seems to part of a bigger plan and purpose.
"Superman’s mythical origins are rooted in the timeless reality of a spiritual superhero, who also lived a modest life until extraordinary times required a supernatural response."
However, "Man of Steel" doesn't just employ a literary messianic theme, at times it's dialogue borders on blasphemy. Although it comes uncomfortably close, it never crosses that theological threshold and even has a scene where Superman seeks spiritual guidance in a church.
Superman's earthly father tells Clark, "You are the answer. Somewhere out there you have another father and I have to believe he sent you here for a reason."
As he prepares to send his infant son to earth, Jor-El, Superman's father on Krypton, tells Superman's mother, Lara. "He'll be a god to them."
Jor-El advises Superman later, "You will give the people of earth an ideal. They will race behind you. They will stumble and fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun and you will help them accomplish wonders."
Wow, these two dads sure had a lot bigger plans for Superman than just "fighting a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way."