Comic book geeks of the world unite. The teaser/trailer for the new Superman movie is out. You can view it here. I mention it here because –bear with me, now– some comic books and comic book characters are important; Batman, Spiderman and Superman in particular. These are epic mythological characters in the same vain as the Greek heroes of yore, or of Biblical characters. In fact, when you watch the Superman Returns teaser, you will be hit over the head with the Christ imagery. Each of these iconic characters, when treated correctly, imparts insights into the human condition.
Spiderman, of course, is the misunderstood Everyman, the average Joe with a hero inside of him that no one can ever perceive or know about. Batman is the wounded, angst-filled man who rails against the darkness in a futile attempt to control it. And Superman… well, Supes is the king of heroes. He is the Messiah who, despite god-like abilities, is powerless to control the human mind and heart. As has often been said, Batman is about angst and Superman is about hope. And, more subtly –as was discussed briefly in Kill Bill Volume II— Superman is unique among superheroes because he is his identity –Kal-El, last son of Krypton; Clark Kent is the ruse. In its extreme interpretation, this aspect of Superman tells us by example that the godly within us is the reality, while our outer identities are mere cloaks of deception.
It is for these reasons that these characters are so beloved and defended by we geeks. Yet their movie interpretations often fall flat. Director/writer Kevin Smith gives us some insight into why this is the case in this story.
I’m confident that the new Superman Returns movie will hit the correct notes. Based solely on the released teaser, it seems that the director, Bryan Singer, has strived for the Messiahnic themes of hope and redemption and purpose. As one on-line fanboy commented, perhaps they should rename the movie, The Passion Of The Superman.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention that tonight is the awards ceremony of the Derek Walcott Memorial writing contest, to be held in Trinidad & Tobago. Yours truly, along with Annie Paul and Kenneth Jaikaransingh, was a judge in the short story category. With regrets, I am unable to attend tonight's festivities. But if any of you out there happens to be in Trinidad, do consider attending!