Superman Returns

So, as I recouperated from helping my brother move furniture Tuesday night, I decided to go back and re-watch Superman Returns. Not everyone realizes that the Superman story fuses two divergent elements: the science fiction element, as Superman is an alien, and the mythological element.
Superman, you see, was set adrift in space by his parents when his planet was destroyed. The TV series Smallville plays up the Superman-as-alien theme, because it plays into the teen-angst of the program’s genre. Superman Returns, however, continues the mythical element, using Superman’s relationship to the sun to cast him as a Christ-figure.
Being set adrift as an infant by one’s parents–usually upon their death–is a very common element in mythology: one sees it in origin-myth of Rome, with Romulus and Remus; in the the story of King Sarkand of Akkadia; and with King Sigfried of the Thidreksaga and Niebelungenlied. Most famous today, of course, is the birth of Moses, who was set adrift and raised by the family of Pharoah.
Superman Returns updates Superman from Moses-figure to Christ-figure with a number of devices; the most innocuous of which is his twice-stated “I’m always around, Lois,” coupled with images of him hovering above the world, listening and rushing to save people in need. The imagery goes much deeper than that however: Lex Luthor’s shard of kryptonite is the Spear of Longinus; raising the island of Kryptonite is the bearing of the Cross toward Golgotha; he dies saving the world and returns. Of course, Lois/Mary Magdalene does not find his crypt empty (a nurse does), and I’m not sure how the son works into all of this (but then, I’m not sure how a son works into the Superman story at all), but the imagery is quite prevalent.
I’m interested to see if it is continued in Superman: Man of Steel.

Published by Little-Known Blogger

I spent the first years of my life in a trailer park outside of a tiny town in rural Missouri. I grew up to be a long-haired, gun-hating, military-hating, Presbyterian super-liberal. Well, perhaps the “growing up” happened later. While in high school, I was on the cross-country and wrestling teams, and actually won my weight-class in a State powerlifting competition. I went on to attend college on a Bright Flight scholarship, where I promptly became an atheist. I trained for a few years in Shotokan karate and Cheng-system taijiquan before training in my first real martial art, Hwarang-Do, under the late Franklin Fowlkes (later the Founder and Grandmaster of the Five Elements Martial Arts System). I married an older Taiwanese woman my junior year, got divorced in short order, and dropped out of college. After completing my AA in Psychology, I decided I needed a complete change of scenery and joined the U.S. Marine Corps (having early been assured that there was no way that a skinny liberal like me would ever survive Boot Camp). Contrary to what the Hipster Zombies will tell you, this did not “brainwash me into being a Conservative”. Instead, it made me a very unhappy, short-haired liberal, surrounded by guns and the military. However, I spent my whole contract (after schools) on the island of Okinawa, where I was exposed to points of view not dominated by the American liberal media. During this time, I taught ESL classes as a side-job, trained under some of the highest-ranking masters of karate on Okinawa, and discovered the practice of Buddhism. I also spent some time in Korea, where I got to train in hapkido. It was during this period that I came gradually to realize how stupid and evil American liberalism actually is. This was partly due to my Military Police command sending me to Small Arms Instructor school, which gave me more exposure to guns than I could ever have imagined—thus negating my idiotic liberal distaste for them. After the active-duty portion of my Marine Corps contract was over, I worked several jobs, from security contracts to operating a forklift in a warehouse. In 2002, however, when the invasion of Iraq was getting under way, I signed up with the Missouri Army National Guard, and have remained with them since, continuing as a Military Policeman. I am also full-time corrections officer, a member of the Anglican Church, and at one time was an Instructor Candidate in Dekiti-Tirsia Serradas Kali (until my instructor moved away). My hobbies (beyond blogging) include strength training, shooting sports, martial arts, creating digital art, and being a huge science and science-fiction geek.

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  1. :O !!!!VERY interesting, G.P. Again, you make me ponder! I never thought of those parallels before… but I can see what you are saying!I don’t really know why, but Superman was never my fav Hero. I always loved Spidy and Batman and HULK!I got to see “Dark Knight” in the theater! Oh I LOVED it! Woo!!!

  2. I don’t like crowds either, G.P. We went on Tuesday night and the theater was still more full that I like.I was afraid you wouldn’t want to watch “Dark Knight” because you don’t like hyped up Hollywood movies! I am glad you are going to watch it! E-mail me after you do… lol, that is, if you have time or whatever. 😉

  3. Will do! By the way, since I’m thinking of the Niebelungenlied, I’d like to recommend Dark Kingdom: the Dragon King. This is a really good movie adaptation of the Niebelungenlied that didn’t get much attention when it was released straight-to-DVD in 2006.It’s interesting to see how much material Tolkien used when writing the Lord of the Rings!

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