On Father's Day, we went as a family to see Man of Steel movie. It was a fitting thing to do, since, well, I am so much like Superman!! Okay, that is not true. My muscles are not that small!
What truly made it fitting is how much the film can easily bridge to the gospel. This doesn't mean it is a perfect allegory to the gospel, nor was it meant to be. It is a good film (better than the 1970's version in my opinion) but it may not be suitable for all kids. I suggest you go to Plugged In and read the review. There are a few wordy durds, some of which unfortunately come from the mouth of a kid who bullies the young Clark Kent. But this can be another detail that helps connect Superman to Christ, as I will explain in a bit.
Superman is sent to Earth as an infant by his parents to escape the destruction of Krypton. This version highlights that his father sends him more than other versions have. Throughout his earthly life, Clark Kent performs several "miracles" that save people. However, he blends into the background of American culture as much as possible and tries to avoid the spotlight. He and his earthly father's fear is that people will misunderstand him. He must wait until the right time to reveal himself.
This plays right into the picture the gospels paint of Jesus. He too waited until the proper time to reveal Himself. The Gospel of Mark even highlights Jesus avoiding the misunderstanding of culture with what is know as the "messianic secret." This is the repeated moments in Mark's Gospel where Jesus attempts to prevent His identity or miracles from being reported by those He helps.
Superman's earthly father dies before he reveals himself to the world. Though the gospels do not directly report this, it is apparent Joseph died before Jesus' ministry began. In both situations, Superman and Jesus could have saved their earthly fathers, but did not. It was not time for them to be revealed to the world.
When it is time for Superman to step up and reveal himself to the world and save it, he is faced with a tough decision. The movie frames this moment with Clark Kent going to a church and talking to a priest about the dilemma. In the shot of Clark sitting in the pew, there is a stain glass depiction of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane facing His moment of decision. Like Jesus in the Garden, Superman had to surrender to human authorities in the movie to save the day.
Superman often talks to his Kryptonian father, Jor-El, via a computer program and image that preserved Jor-El's conscience. In the last such conversation seen in the movie, Jor-El tells Superman he can save humanity. He can be a bridge between two races. As Superman leaves the alien ship orbiting the earth to fulfill this mission, we see him floating from his father over Earth in a "crucified" posture.
Jesus often spoke to His Father in heaven. He did the will of His Father. He bridged the gap between humanity and heaven. He gave all to save us. Even though the original story of Superman may have much in common with Norse mythology, this film certainly put a Christian spin on it. Superman is purer than others. Even though he has the strength to wipe out any bully, he restrains himself. When they cuss and use vulgarity, he never does. He demonstrates self-restraint in spite of great temptation. Jesus too had to resist the temptation to misuse His power. As a side note, the film highlights the names of Superman and his father, Jor-El and Cal-El. Interestingly, "El" is a short form of the Hebrew word "elohim" meaning "God." This was not, as far as I know, the original intent of these names, but it was another interesting bridge.
Again, this was not meant to be a perfect analogy to Christianity or the gospel, but it certainly can help discuss it with kids and others. The characters in the movie will never match perfectly to Christ and the story will not perfectly match the gospel. Ultimately, we need to ask if we are children of God and if we do the will of our Father in heaven. Superman was adopted by a earthly father. Jesus was adopted by an earthly father and provided a way we could be adopted by the heavenly Father.
The good news (gospel) is that Jesus is not a comic book character. He came to Earth in the flesh, lived a life free of sin, died on a cross to pay the price for our sin, and rose again to declare victory over sin and death forever and He is coming again. Our sin separates us from God forever, but Jesus built a bridge between us and Him through the cross and tomb. Any who admits their sins, believes Jesus died for their sins, and confesses Him as their Savior and Lord, they will receive the amazing free gift of forgiveness and grace. They will become a child of God. They will be changed and led to do the will of their Father. There is no greater Father and there is no greater Father's Day gift.