The new film Man of Steel directed by Zack Snyder generated an interesting article in the Israeli news portal Ynet with equally interesting responses. The article’s title, “It’s a Bird? It’s Superman? No, it’s Jesus!,” tells the conclusion from the outset.
The movie is a metaphorical gospel with Superman in the roled of “the father of Christianity,” according to the article. This is no exaggeration considering the fact that Warner Bros Studios released sermon notes for pastors. One such note reads: “How might the story of Superman awaken our passion for the greatest hero who ever lived and died and rose again?” There is also Snyder’s (not Jewish by the way) CNN interview where he candidly said the Superman comics themselves were metaphors on Jesus.
The Ynet article begins by describing the first scene in the movie, in which Ayelet Zurer, an Israeli, that is Jewish, actress, experiences what we consider a natural birth – which is a very unnatural thing on Krypton – to Kal-El, who is none other than Jesus. Just before Kal-El is sent to Earth, his father, Jor-El, tells his mother that their son “will be like a god to them,” that is, to the people on Earth whom Superman, who is Kal-El, was sent to save from the coming destruction.
And if this is not enough, Ynet notes that the film is saturated with philosophical references reminiscent of Jesus’ teaching, such as love toward all men and altruism. There is also the scene of Superman floating on the sea in crucified body posture.
The Ynet articles concludes, “Now that the first gospel from the up and coming trilogy is behind us … after 33-year-old Superman (same age as Jesus when he was crucified) survived the 'Via Dolorosa' that General Zod prepared for him, in the next film he may appear resurrected at the Daily Planet, in the muff, nerdy, bespectacled image of Clark Kent … Let’s see Snyder explains to us how is it possible that this is not Jewish.”
Several of the readers responded in kind. One reader amusingly wrote: “those behind the original story of Jesus were also Jewish.” Another reader facetiously questioned: “I loved the movie. What now? Should I become a Christian?” And another: “Jews always tried to change the world by spiritual influence. There is much in common between the invention of Jesus (or at least the stories about him) and the invention of Superman, Facebook, Psychoanalysis...”
In light of the known problematic Jewish attitude toward the Gospel, these remarks are at the same time both funny and touching as they seem to reveal how isolated Israelis feel today, so much so that they are willing to claim relationship to a comic book hero who may or may not represent Jesus.