While Iron Man continues to be a box office juggernaut, and Spiderman is still hanging on, Superman hasn’t grasped on to a sequal-worth adaptation. 2006’s Superman Returns grossed $390 million but failed to impress Warner Bros. studio heads.
The latest version, out Friday (June 14), is produced by Batman director Christopher Nolan, and continues to mirror the story of Jesus of it’s predecessors.
From the Tampa Bay Times:
Man of Steel is a summer movie sermon of religious parallels, from Superman’s genesis to a Revelation-sized climax. Screenwriter David S. Goyer and director Zack Snyder are not the first to make that comparison — even Godspell’s Jesus wore an “S” on his chest— but they’re the most obvious with it.
“It’s baked into the DNA of the character,” Goyer recently said from Los Angeles by telephone. “We talked about it many times, (saying) let’s not ignore it; let’s lean into it.
“The biblical narrative has always been part and parcel with the Superman myth, although I would maintain that it’s not just Jesus and the New Testament. It’s also clearly the myth of Moses in the Old Testament as well. The way that (Superman as a baby) is sent away from Krypton is absolutely an allusion to Moses in the bull rushes. There’s no way to get around it.”
In fact, Superman’s name on Krypton is Kal-El, which translates in Hebrew to “voice of God,” or “vessel of God.”
The association stretches back to Superman’s Action Comics origins in 1938, when Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster — both Jewish, like Goyer — combined biblical allegory and the Mesopotamian myth of Gilgamesh, another god among mortals. Goyer likened himself and director Zack Snyder to anthropologists, relying on those antecedents and similar myths — including Hercules and Beowulf — to craft their version of Superman.
Religion is an entertainment money maker. Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ grossed nearly $400,000,000 in the worldwide box office, and the History Channel’s airing of the Bible series earlier in the year, earned record-breaking ratings.
Photo: Warner Bros.