By Trevor Main
Finally, director Zach Snyder and story writer Christopher Nolan cut all the corny traditions of Superman mythology that have embarrassed Superman fans for decades and put some real humanity into the man of steel. No Lex Luther “I’ll get you, Superman!” lines, no convenient kryptonite rocks, and no red underwear. Snyder reinvents Superman similar to the new Batman trilogy, based in a stronger sense of reality with a relatable hero riddled with inner conflict.
Absent of the cheesy hands-on-hips poses and clueless reporters blinded by a simple pair of glasses, Man of Steel brings us a Kal-El searching for identity. We get to experience his beginning as a mysterious stranger, dressed like anyone else, wandering the country rescuing classmates and co-workers and disappearing again. We’re offered plausible explanations for his weakness to Krypton, his suit, and the S on his chest. Most importantly, the movie spares none of the Christ motif that past Superman films have subtly avoided.
Some spiritual elements have never been difficult to find. A being coming to Earth who can model true humanity to the world. Born not of Earth, but raised by Earthly parents. But this movie points to the spiritual in ways you wouldn’t expect from Hollywood, particularly in Jor-El’s language as his consciousness speaks to Kal-El. “[Humanity] will race behind you, but in time they will join you in the sun. In time you will help them accomplish wonders.”
General Zod sends a message to Earth revealing Kal-El, who at this point has been in hiding, and asks for them to hand him over. Even after hearing the truth from a viable source, many chose not to believe Kal-El existed.
Snyder brought us a man of steel, but one who isn’t invincible, a man of moral fiber, but one with real emotions, a hero who can cry, hurt, and regret. Brimming with spiritual lessons and with a story focused more on Kal-El instead of Superman, Man of Steel soars above and beyond all the previous films.
Trevor Main has a B.A. in fiction writing from Columbia College, Chicago, and a master’s degree in communication from Dallas Theological Seminary.