It’s finally here! The Man of Steel movie opens today… looking forward to the 7:40 pm showing in Winnipeg…
Here’s the introduction to Focus on the Family’s review of the movie:
Man of Steel Movie Review:
The planet Krypton is facing total annihilation. Before that happens, though, a desperate and anguished couple slip their newborn son, naked and wriggling, into a small spacecraft and send him soaring off to a new world a universe away. They rocket him to a planet called Earth. On that blue orb bathed by its yellow sun, their baby is taken in by a Kansas farm couple with the last name of Kent.
Of course it does. It’s the origin story of one Clark Kent—a boy from another world who’s destined to gain superhuman powers and do miraculous things.
In this version of the comic-book-to-big-screen tale, though, Clark’s human parents earnestly worry about what could happen to their beloved son if someone found out about him. They’re sure that even in their middle America hometown of Smallville—a tiny little town filled with large hearts—people wouldn’t fully accept having a superpowered alien in their midst. And so they warn their boy to keep his many abilities hidden.
That’s not so easy to do, of course, when you’re a kid who can see through people’s skin or hear a pin drop on the other side of town. And it’s not so simple when you’re a hormones-raging teen who can bend steel with his bare hands and shoot lasers from his eyes.
So by the time Clark grows into a young man, he’s feeling pretty lost, pretty confused and pretty alone. He wanders the land, taking odd jobs and trying to keep himself invisible.
But he just can’t keep himself from being helpful.
When things go wrong and people get hurt, he can’t help but brave a fire to save someone, or stand as an unmovable wall between the innocent and their tormentors. He can’t resist the idea of being the guy who aids the needy, no matter how wise his parents warnings may be.
So when a surviving Kryptonian general named Zod appears in the skies over Metropolis, with threatening words and deadly intentions, Clark can’t keep himself from doing what he must.
And he must …
… speed faster than a bullet.
… leap higher than tall buildings.
… use all his power to protect his adopted world.
… put himself between the predators and the prey.
… stand strong for what is right.
This is, after all, not a task that just any man can face. This is a job for a superman.
Clark is an extraordinary man of character who comes by his heroism tendencies honestly. His Kryptonian parents, Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van, put their lives at risk to save their infant son and stand up to the evil schemes of General Zod. And by way of hologram, Jor-El encourages his adult son to stand strong for the people of Earth, saying, “You can embody the best of both worlds.”
His earthly mom and dad also give him some direct examples: During an unexpected tornado, Jonathan Kent puts his own life at risk to save others, clearly showing his son the meaning of self-sacrifice. He talks repeatedly to his boy about the importance of good choices and solid character. And when a preadolescent Clark is having something of a breakdown thanks to the onset of his supersenses, Martha Kent talks him through it. “The world is too big, Mom,” Clark cries from inside a locked closet at school. “Then make it small,” Martha coaches him lovingly. “Focus on my voice.”
So when Clark finds out about his otherworldly origins, he cries out to his father, “Can’t I just keep pretending that I’m your son?” To which Jonathan immediately embraces the boy and retorts with a breaking voice, “You are my son.”
Those kinds of parental moments of love and instruction are obviously reflected in Clark’s subsequent choices, large and small. Even when he’s in the heat of thunderous battle, he takes the time and puts in the extra effort to deflect harm from an innocent or break a wounded soldier’s fall. And it’s these kinds of others-focused actions that eventually motivate human soldiers and civilians alike to unquestioningly accept Clark (aka Superman) as one of their own—belying the Kents’ fears of his probable rejection.
Clark is initially ready to calmly sacrifice himself for his earthly allies, only resorting to violent confrontation with his villainous foes when he realizes that they intend to destroy the humans anyway. And Clark’s and his parents’ selfless choices are readily mirrored in people like reporter Lois Lane and editor Perry White, who reach out to help those in need even as impending doom marches their way. Some even give their lives to fight the evil they confront. And Lois gamely volunteers to follow Zod’s soldiers to captivity rather than start a human vs. alien firefight.
The Superman stories have over the years developed a significant spiritual standing, with the man of steel serving as an analog for our heavenly Savior. He’s an only son sent to Earth to be a shining light in our darkness and an all-powerful paragon of truth and justice. As a baby he’s adopted by Martha (Mary) and Jonathan (Joseph), and he grows into someone who can defy the laws of physics in grand ways while championing the weak in every way. He’s a man who does everything within his power to save a humanity in desperate need. It’s never a perfect allegory, of course, but it’s generated countless conversations, articles, sermons and books that explore the rich subtext inherent in this once humble comic book tale.
With that as a backdrop, it’s quite remarkable to note that this Man of Steel movie is one of the most spiritually symbolic and Messianic-image-packed treatments ever made about this character. Here, Clark Kent even comes to understand—at the age of 33, no less—his responsibility to step up, face off with and destroy an ultimate evil that threatens all mankind.
But that’s at the end. At the climax. All through this film dialogue and images hint at connections between Superman and Jesus. Several people, from Jor-El to Jonathan to Zod’s female second, Faora-Ul, talk to Clark about his ability (or lack of ability) to save the people on his adopted planet. Superman levitates with his arms spread in a cross-like form on several occasions. When he goes to his church to ask a priest for advice, the camera’s eye frames a stained-glass representation of Christ over the young Clark’s shoulder. The priest tells him, “Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith first. The trust part comes later.”
After Clark rescues a bus full of children, a kid’s mother states, “This was an act of God!” Clark asks his dad, “Did God do this to me?” When Lara worries about her infant son’s safety on Earth, Jor-El assures her, “He’ll be a god to them.” Bad guy Kryptonians tell Superman that they will win because “evolution always wins.”
Also: We learn that most Kryptonians were engineered, essentially, for whatever their lot in life was to be. In other (spiritual) words, they have no free will. Superman is the exception. He was born naturally—the first natural birth on that planet in centuries—and he is therefore free to “choose” his own destiny.
To read the entire review, click HERE.
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