He’s a bird, he’s a plane... He’s our savior?
With “Man of Steel” grossing more than $125 million since it opened on Thursday, there has been much talk about the deeper meanings behind the epic blockbuster. Those intent on looking can find similarities between Jesus and Superman, from the character’s willingness to sacrifice himself for the people of Earth to the ghost vision of his father Jor-El (Russell Crowe) that provides Superman guidance when he is lost.
Warner Bros. is happy for moviegoers to make that connection, so much so the studio is providing an online resource guide to pastors who want to teach the positive themes of the movie to their congregants. On the site, religious leaders can download clips and photos from the film, or print out entire sermons with topics such as “Jesus -- The Original Superhero” and “Jesus -- More Than Our Super Man.”
“Man of Steel” screenwriter David Goyer agrees with the Christ-like connections being made but says he was thinking about the Old Testament too when he was penning the screenplay for the blockbuster.
“He’s definitely a guy from another plane of existence who kind of sacrifices himself and/or is sacrificed by one people on behalf of another people. But Superman was created by two Jews and there’s obvious elements of the Superman story that are similar to the Moses story,” Goyer said.
“I always saw Superman as this kind of fusion of Old Testament and New Testament. It’s a little bit of Moses and a little bit of Christ,” he added.
When Goyer was researching the project, he read interviews with Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and learned about their direct influences for the character: the Old and New Testament, “Gladiator” by Philip Wylie, and the epic poem “Gilgamesh.”
Goyer also re-read “Beowulf” and other literature that dealt with “characters that were conciliators--go-betweens between the gods and the humans,” he said.
For British actor Henry Cavill, the idea of Superman as a stand-in for Jesus Christ never crossed his mind.
“I never went to set saying, ‘I’m Christ so I better get this right.’ I was just playing the character. I wasn’t focused on anything but the journey of the character and his perspective,” Cavill said during a recent interview.
“Clark doesn’t walk around thinking ‘I’m Christ-like.’ He doesn’t. That’s not Clark. He would never think that, so therefore, neither would I.”
Gina McIntyre contributed to this report.