Superman Returns

Normally when a film has a production history as long and tortured as this, you can pretty much write it off straight away as a disaster: it’s usually so mired in rewrites and politics and personality conflicts that you can be reasonably the whole thing is going to suck, bigtime.

Superman Returns, surprisingly then, not only doesn’t suck, but is the best ‘family’ action movie I’ve seen in a long time. If you can watch beyond the opening five minutes without breaking into a big silly excitable childish grin then, sorry, you have no soul and I don’t want you to be my friend any more.

Sure, it’s cliched and hammed up, but that’s part of what a superhero movie is all about. Yes, the “stopping the plane crashing into a full baseball stadium with centimetres to spare” thing is predictable – of course the plane was never going to crash – but this film is all about spectacle and in that it delivers in spades. It’s cliched and overblown and – dare I say it – predictable but that doesn’t matter because it’s all done so goddamned well that you can’t help but enjoy yourself. I haven’t just straight out enjoyed a film so much since the first Pirates of the Carribbean movie.

The thing that bugs me, though – or is going to bug me, anyway – is the film’s constant allusion to Superman as a Christ-figure. Not because this offends me in any way or anything like that; no, it bugs me because I knowI KNOW – The Church is going to latch onto this and try and superimpose a “gospel message” onto the film. They’re going to take all the father/son riffs and saviour of the world allusions and things and try and cram an evangelistic message around it and it’s going to be shown at Alpha courses and youth outreach events all over the country and it’s going to be horrible. Hey, guys? Maybe, right, maybe Bryan Singer isn’t trying to put across a coded evangelistic message here; maybe he’s making all these allusions to Jesus because – religious stuff aside – it actually is a really good story? Just a thought.

(and besides, there’s a massively important distinction between the work of Christ and the work of Superman – hint: it involves a cross, a rock and an empty tomb – that makes the superposition onto the gospel perhaps just a little untenable; KTHXBYE)

Anyway, all that aside, you should go and see it, because it’s brilliant and it’ll make you feel like you’re six again.

4 Responses to “Superman Returns”

  1. nayf says:


    But did you know that Superman is the fiercest killer in the superhero kingdom?

  2. Richard McIntosh says:

    I really enjoyed the film too. Apart from the guy who at the start said to his girl friend that I hope people don’t talk through the movie then proceeded to say ‘this is shit’ the whole way through.

    Regarding the Christ thing, I am sure that the director made deliberate allusions to the passion of the christ movie when Superman is getting beat up. Unfortunatley if it is using Passion of the Christ as a model for the saviour figure it is clearly in trouble as Passion is heresy to my mind.

    read this intresting thought for the day from giles fraser

  3. Adrian says:

    Great movie loved every minite of it.

    I fully expect Superman to be made a thing of in the religous circles, because superman saves people (like um litterally) and hence is a bit of a saviour and hence obviously is Jesus … (you get what I mean right).

    Although I think the fact the story was created by two Yids should put paid to that idea, as well as the fact the the story of Superman now transcendes any particual Superman story or media. I doubt that made sense. It does to me.

  4. Chris says:

    Adrian: So, you’re saying that Superman is actually from the Davidic line and he’s going to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem and restore Israel to the Jewish people? 🙂

    Richard: Interesting thoughts and, to some extent, what I was driving at. If I thought people were going to focus on the difference between Superman and Jesus as Saviours then I might be a little less cynical about the whole thing…

    But anyway, it’s still a great movie 🙂