So, “Superman Returns” eh? What did you think? For some reason, seeing a movie just isn’t as good for me if I don’t read the reviews beforehand and in the case of “Superman Returns” I was definitely glad I did. Not because I wanted to ruin any surprises, but because I was alerted to the possibility that *gasp* there are some Christian themes. Would I have caught the subtle references if it hadn’t been for the disgruntled reviewer at the New York Times? Yes (although Micah did help me out with some of them). But knowing that it was there already allowed me to look at them a little bit more carefully so I could decided if there anything in there that made me feel uncomfortable, or if they presented Superman in a way that was demeaning or unfavorable towards Christianity or if I thought non-Christians would feel weird about it.
Before I discuss that aspect of it, I do have to say that there wasn’t really any part of it that I didn’t like. The acting was good. Brandon Routh was not bland, as some of the reviews led me to believe he would be, but he may not quite have been as perfectly awkward or as intense as Christopher Reeve (or my memory of him) was in the first installment. Lois’s son, Jason, was also played decently well. The rest were, I believe, established actors who put forth good showings. Nobody stole the stage, which left room for the story to be told. I’m not much of a judge of effects, but the least I can say is they were never distracting, which, again, helped put the emphasis on the actual story. The only things I found distracting were Superman’s curl (I just couldn’t see how Clark Kent managed to perfectly sculpt that ringlet as he is tearing off his clothes at 1,000 miles an hour) and that I couldn’t figure out where I had seen Richard Smith before (Micah and I realized as we were driving home–at the same moment–that James Marsden also plays Cyclops in “X-Men,” for those of you who may be similarly frustrated).
Was Superman presented as a Christ-like figure? Definitely. They didn’t try to hide it. From the very beginning they talk about the son being the father and the father being the son. Kallel (sp?) was sent to earth as the only son of his father and with a special capacity to save mankind. Lois Lane discusses whether or not the world needs a savior. But despite all of the references, I don’t think that it was enough to make non-Christians uncomfortable (except for those who really want to be made uncomfortable). And there wasn’t anything that made me uncomfortable. It was kind of refreshing. And almost spiritual at times. I was a little bit nervous that the love triangle would get out of hand, that I would be disappointed in Lois’s treatment of Richard, or of Superman’s treatment of Richard, or of Richard’s treatment of Superman, but I found nothing to complain about. There was nothing but respect among all of the characters and their various relationships. And that left me feeling fine about the fact that Superman was portrayed as a Christ-like figure. Brian Singer gets props for pulling off another super hero movie, and one that I think I may like even better than his “X-Men” effort. I give it five out of five.