Man of Steel Podcast: Why Man of Steel is a Masterpiece
Is Superman Christ-like? We talk about that, and much more. Listen to our Man of Steel Podcast here:
In the first ever The Story Geeks Podcast (back when it was called the Reclamation Society podcast), Jay Sherer and George Haraksin discuss the various ways Zach Snyder (director) and David Goyer (screenwriter) explore the world of Superman. Is Man of Steel a masterpiece? On today’s Man of Steel Podcast, we’ll dig deeper into Superman in… Man of Steel.
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Some of the Ways Man of Steel is a Masterpiece:
Is Superman in Man of Steel Christ-like or a Type of Christ?
Zack Snyder is definitely playing with using Superman as a Christ-like figure. Superman is “hope,” very much like Christians talk about Jesus Christ. Imagery shows Superman in the sign of the cross as he leaves the spaceship. Not to mention the fact that he’s “super-powered” (not in the same way, but still) and alienated because of his identity.
In other words, Zack Snyder intends to showcase the Man of Steel as a Christ-like figure. But why? Probably because the creators (Siegel and Shuster) of Superman made him very much a Messianic figure. That, interpreted in the modern day, means the comparison with Jesus Christ is a fascinating one.
But it’s also an incomplete picture. Jesus was an odd Messiah, because he didn’t bring about an earthly kingdom. Rather, the Bible talks about Jesus setting up a heavenly kingdom or a spiritual kingdom, which means his purpose is definitely different than the Man of Steel’s.
As George says on the podcast: It’s almost a better comparison to compare Superman to Moses, not Jesus.
The Man of Steel: America and Identity
In Man of Steel, Zack Snyder also puts Superman up against… the American political and social system. He’s an alien–technically speaking, an illegal alien–and an immigrant. He came from a planet that could be considered Communist (an extreme version of Communism). How do we know that? Zod was engineered to be a general. In other words, social roles are dictated by the Kryptonian political system.
But, what’s one of Superman’s biggest struggles in the film? Finding an identity. And he’s free to do so. He can become whatever he wants, because he’s in a free society. His battle is internal to his own self worth, whereas Zod doesn’t struggle with that at all because he’s not free to be anything different.
One of the reasons I consider Man of Steel a masterpiece is the idea of identity and how the film plays with identity throughout.